The positive effect the AFL Grand Final has on the local economy

As the final siren sounded on an unseasonally hot September afternoon, the Collingwood Football Club celebrated their record-equalling 16th premiership in what was one of the all-time great, AFL grand finals.

As the final siren sounded on an unseasonally hot September afternoon, the Collingwood Football Club celebrated their record-equalling 16th premiership in what was one of the all-time great, AFL grand finals. 

The match was played in front of 100,024 gobsmacked spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, while 4.98 million people saw the AFL final on TV or streaming.

But these numbers are only the beginning, not telling the full story about the impact the AFL grand final has on Australia’s economy.

In the lead-up to the AFL grand final last week, the price of flights for a return trip from Brisbane to Melbourne for Saturday’s grand final climbed above $650. This is in comparison to the NRL Grand Final, hosted in Sydney, which saw flights above $750 from Brisbane to Sydney for a much shorter round-trip.

Adding to this is the accommodation cost. In Melbourne, at least one hotel had raised prices to match the demand, with rooms going for in excess of $800 for Saturday night. For the NRL Grand Final, hotels around Accor Stadium in Sydney including the Pullman, ibis and Notovel, had sold out by Monday night last week.

For Brisbane, the preliminary finals that were held in the Queensland capital across both codes netted a handy windfall for the city too, generating around $10 million from the NRL and AFL Preliminary Finals.

Around 90,000 tickets sold out for a full house at Suncorp Stadium and The Gabba for the Broncos’ and Brisbane Lions’ home NRL and AFL Preliminary Finals.

Brisbane’s unprecedented Preliminary Final double-header delivered a boon for accommodation providers with almost 100% occupancy last Saturday, September 23rd.

As for consumer spending on food and drink, while no data has officially been released for the 2023 Grand Final, Victorians spent more than $294 million in restaurants and pubs for last year’s AFL grand final, after almost two years of lockdowns.

This also came after two years of interstate-held grand finals, the first in Brisbane (at the Gabba) in 2020 and the second in Perth (at Optus Stadium) in 2021. 

The almost $300m spent in 2022 was a 38% increase from 2019, which made almost $50 million for the Victorian economy.

In a statement, Victorian sports minister, Steve Dimopoulos, re-iterated the economic and social impact of the Grand Final for Melbourne. 

“Events like the AFL grand final showcase our vibrant and unique city, keeping local businesses busy, hotels and shopping strips bustling and our economy strong.”

This overwhelmingly positive economic impact seems guaranteed for at least another 34 years, as the Victorian state government inked a $500m deal in 2018 to keep the grand final at the MCG until 2057.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

 

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