The next AFL Gather Round will be held in Round Four from 4-7 April 2024, with organisers excited for yet another footy bonanza in South Australia following the festival’s debut which had a total attendance of around 260,000.
South Australia raked in $83 million during the weekend-long footy fest in April, according to research commissioned by the AFL.
Thanks to an influx of 41,262 footy revellers, spending an equivalent of 151,487 nights in the state, the city and surrounding suburbs benefitted from the event which saw all nine matches sold out.
Of the approximately 135,000 individuals that attended matches, 32 per cent were from interstate and boutique consultants IER said 665 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs were supported as a result.
The lion’s share of the economic contribution to the state was from interstate travellers who injected approximately $56 million into local coffers according to IER.
Though the CBD was bustling during the weekend, the data demonstrates areas outside of the city also enjoyed a boost; the match between Brisbane and Northern Melbourne in Mount Barker helped inject $2 million into the Adelaide Hills economy alone.
Similarly, two games at Norwood Oval resulted in $2.21 million spent on dining and entertainment in the suburb including $876,594 on the Friday of Gather Round – “the single largest daily expenditure… since the Council starting collecting the data in July 2018” according to Norwood Payneham & St Peters Mayor Robert Bria.
“The Council had a very constructive debrief with the AFL and Norwood Football Club about the things that worked and where things can improve, if we get the chance to be part of future Gather Rounds,” Bria said.
“The Council is already doing its due diligence about how to take the activations and events associated with football to another level, taking into account the comments from the Premier, Gillon McLachlan and Andrew Dillion.
“Clearly, our objective is to get two matches again and will put a strong case forward to the AFL and State Government.”
The majority of interstate travellers came from AFL stronghold Victoria, representing 65.2 per cent of interstate travellers. Visitors from New South Wales represented 12.5 per cent, while 8.6 per cent came from Western Australia, 7.3 per cent travelled from Queensland and 2.1 per cent made the trip from Tasmania.
The IER figures are “absolutely consistent” with Australian Hotels Association South Australia data according to outgoing CEO Ian Horne, who said a major rise in the supply of hotel rooms in the city meant demand could be satiated.
Premier Peter Malinauskas said the inaugural Gather Round “was a success beyond anyone’s expectations”.
“The event contributed more than $80 million into the state’s economy, supported hundreds of jobs and helped fill hotels, bars and restaurants,” the Premier said.
“The atmosphere was simply incredible and the only way to truly experience it is by being here.
“My message to footy fans across Australia is start planning your trip to South Australia because Gather Round 2024 promises to be even bigger than this year.”
Acting AFL CEO Andrew Dillon said April’s Gather Round was “some of the best days and events the AFL has ever delivered”.
“South Australia really turned it on,” Dillon said.
“It was said to me so many times that the city itself felt like a Grand Final week, 18 times over, because every club in the competition was part of the build-up, the energy and the delivery, and every supporter base had their moment in the sun for their particular game.
“The opportunity ahead is to build on this, and by locking it in to South Australia and today announcing the dates for 2024, we are giving everyone a longer runway to put together a bigger and even better event.”
The success of Gather Round follows the recent release of visitor expenditure data pertaining to Mad March, which found that visitor numbers and accommodation bookings in SA smashed pre-pandemic levels.
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.