The past four days has seen a mammoth amount of local and interstate crowds descend upon Adelaide for the inaugural AFL Gather Round.
Each and every footy team from across Australia played an entire round here in our state, with three different ovals host to the games; Adelaide Oval, Norwood Oval, and Summit Sports Park in Mount Barker.
And in a huge announcement on Sunday 16 April 2023 at the Collingwood vs. St Kilda match, the Premier of South Australia Peter Malinauskas broke the news that our state will be home to the AFL’s Gather Round until the end of 2026.
The sealed deal will see South Australia (SA) be host to the Gather Round in 2024, 2025 and 2026 exclusively. The Adelaide Oval will continue to be the ‘home ground’, while the AFL and SA Government intend to utilise world-class regions such as the Barossa and McLaren Vale in 2024.
As part of the three-year period, both the AFL and SA Government have pledged to establish a community football legacy fund which aims to benefit local footy clubs in our state, beyond the weekend’s Gather Round.
The statement comes after the immense success of the maiden Gather Round, with all nine games sold out, more than 220,000 devotees in attendance spanning the three ovals, and thousands getting into the accompanied Footy Festival along the River Torrens adject to the Adelaide Oval. Further, more than 60,000 tickets were purchased by interstate enthusiasts.
Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks, as the AFL are planning to lock in next year’s dates to give fans from north, south, east, and west plenty of time to secure their travel and accommodation for 2024. While ticketing information is set to be release later in 2023.
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan says, “South Australia really turned it on. Gather Round and all the activity across the state, the nine matches, the footy festival and the community football engagement has been some of the best days and events the AFL has ever delivered.
“It has been a success because everyone in football got behind the idea, clubs, players, corporate partners and most importantly our fans, to deliver an extraordinary few days.
“While the concept has real momentum, and we plan on taking it to other states around the country, we also feel in order for it to be as successful in the other states we need to continue to build out the concept in South Australia.
“The reality is we only had a few months to pull this together, and we hope by locking it in now we are giving everyone a longer runway to put together a bigger and even better event, and our fans certainty around booking travel and accommodation.
“The match at Mount Barker was a special afternoon on Saturday and an important part of recommitting to South Australia was to establish the community legacy fund, ensuring local footy clubs’ benefit from bringing the Gather Round to town.
“On behalf of the AFL I want to thank to Premier Malinauskas and his team in the SA Government who in partnership, delivered an unbelievable few days for footy and the state of South Australia.
“The players have been strong partners in the Gather Round concept and have embraced wholeheartedly the round. We will now work with the AFLPA on the commitments to the players in the coming years,” Gillon McLachlan shared.
While South Australia’s Premier Peter Malinauskas says, “The inaugural Gather Round has been a stunning success, in no small part thanks to the willingness of South Australians, and our interstate visitors, to show up.
“We know that this has delivered huge benefits for our state, and that is why I’m so pleased to see it return for the next three years. With more time to plan, we know we can make Gather Round even bigger and better than what it has already become.
“I want to thank Gillon McLachlan, the AFL, wider footballing community, public servants, councils and others who’ve all worked so hard to deliver such an amazing event in just a few months. But most of all, I want to thank each and every person who showed up.”