It’s Official: Gabba to host the 2020 AFL Grand Final
The AFL has confirmed the 2020 AFL Grand Final will be played at the Gabba, with the Brisbane venue to host the showpiece game under lights on October 24.
It’ll be the first time the AFL’s showpiece game will be played outside of Melbourne in its history, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The game will be played as a night Grand Final for the first time, with local kick-off confirmed as 6:30pm (7:30pm AEDT) to avoid a clash with the Cox Plate on the same day. Queensland doesn’t observe daylight savings, which commences for other states on October 4.
The Gabba will have a capacity of 30,000 for the Grand Final – with the Queensland Government announcing it’ll be able to be filled to around 70% of its capacity. That’ll allow the AFL to recoup about $12 million in ticket sales, after what has been a costly season for the league.
The Premiership Cup joined a host of AFL heavyweights and partners, including CEO Gill McLachlan, on the final three charter flights, operated by Virgin Australia, from Melbourne to the Gold Coast yesterday. The AFL Commission also met on Tuesday to settle on the Grand Final venue.
Bids were also received from Western Australia (Optus Stadium), South Australia (Adelaide Oval) and New South Wales (ANZ Stadium), but Queensland has been rewarded for saving the 2020 season. More than 2000 AFL personnel are now based in various hubs throughout the state.
It is understood the Queensland government is prepared to offset many of the AFL’s normal costs including staffing, security, pre-game entertainment and transport costs.
While the Gabba isn’t exactly considered world-class when lined up against Optus Stadium and the Adelaide Oval, the Brisbane stadium is currently receiving a $35 million facelift with some of its facilities being brought up to scratch.
Its restricted capacity of 30,000 for the Grand Final is the same as what Adelaide Oval can allow, while Optus Stadium is currently capped at 50% of its 60,000 capacity, but restrictions are expected to be eased on October 24. However, McLachlan said WA's government was unable to commit to a Grand Final crowd of 60,000.
Tickets for the 2020 AFL Grand Final at the Gabba will be available though Ticketmaster, with the on-sale date to be announced soon.
If there are any further Covid outbreaks, the crowd will be able to be reduced, or the game relocated to the Adelaide Oval. Optus Stadium was overlooked due to WA having the toughest border restrictions in the country.
The MCG has a contract to host the AFL Grand Final until at least 2057 the deal to move the game away from Melbourne required negotiations with the Victorian Government right up until yesterday. An additional year has been added onto the MCG contract, plus some extra home & away games, while Victoria will host the AFL Draft for the next two years.
The Gabba will become the seventh venue to host the AFL Grand Final. As well as the MCG, it has also been played at Waverley Park (1991), Princes Park (1942-43, 1945), Junction Oval (1898-99, 1944), Lakeside Oval (1901) and the East Melbourne Cricket Ground (1900).