History of sorts will be made this morning when, for the first time in more than two decades, your average casual Aussie Rules footie fan will be able to buy a ticket to the AFL Grand Final via public sale.
In more normal years, of course, tickets to the game’s annual showpiece are gobbled up long before they can go on general sale.
But 2020 is not a normal year and with the game moving out of Victoria for the first time ever, the sport’s powers-that-be are having to find alternative ways of doing things.
Victorian clubs in the final
As a result, thousands of tickets go on sale from 9am today (AEST) through the Ticketmaster website.
Two Victorian clubs, Geelong and Richmond, reached the final in games played this past weekend. But, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the bulk of their fans are unable to travel to the Grand Final taking place at Brisbane’s Gabba ground this coming Saturday.
Members of the two clubs who live in Queensland, or in regions where travel to Queensland is allowed, have already snapped up 5,700 tickets – 3,500 going to Richmond fans and 2,200 to Geelong supporters.
Smaller crowd than usual
Secretly, many of the AFL power-brokers were probably hoping that the local Brisbane team, the Brisbane Lions, would get through to the final and ensure a lot more interest from Queenslanders in the game. But that wasn’t to be and the Lions bowed out in the preliminary final this past weekend when they were defeated by Geelong.
For this Saturday’s upcoming Gran Final the Gabba’s traditional 42,000 capacity will be cut to 30,000 in order to comply with virus health restrictions.
Gillon McLachlan, Chief Executive of the AFL, said he was hoping locals would support the game.
An unprecedented season
“The Queensland community has whole heartedly welcomed the AFL family over the last few months, and we look forward to getting as many Queenslanders to the biggest and best event on the Australian sporting calendar,” he said.
“More than 176,000 fans have attended the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series so far, amazing numbers considering the circumstances.
“This has been an unprecedented season and we are excited that more Queensland football and sporting fans who are not members of the competing clubs will have the opportunity to attend,” McLachlan said.