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AFL agrees deal in-principle for Tasmania expansion team

State government hope to secure federal funding for new stadium before clubs vote on proposal.

18 November 2022 Josh Sim

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  • State commits AUS$144m and a further AUS$60m for high-performance facility
  • Presence of AFL and AFLW team to inject AUS$120m into Tasmania’s economy
  • AFL stress stadium will determine if expansion team licence is granted

The Australian Football League (AFL) has reached an in-principle agreement with the Tasmanian government on commercial terms covering the state’s bid for an expansion team.

The state government has committed to paying AUS$12 million (US$8.07 million) per annum over 12 years, as well as spending AUS$60 million (US$40.4 million) on a high-performance and administration facility in Hobart.

With the agreement signed off, the Tasmanian government will now make a case to the federal government to try secure AUS$250 million (US$167.9 million) in funding for a Hobart-based stadium. The state government has promised they will also fund half of the costs involved for the new venue, which could cost AUS$750 million (US$503.96 million) in total. The rest of the funding would then come from the AFL and private equity.

It is claimed by the Tasmanian state government that the stadium would deliver 950 full-time equivalent jobs and AUS$85 million (US$57.2 million) into the local economy. They also have said the presence of both an AFL and AFL Women’s (AFLW) team would then add an extra AUS$120 million (US$80.7 million) per year into the local economy.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has indicated he is willing to consider the proposal once the business case is submitted, despite the government making infrastructure for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics a higher priority.

However, the stadium plans have not received complete support in Tasmania, with the Labour state opposition against any building of a new venue.

The AFL have stressed that an expansion team licence would be dependent on the stadium. Speaking after the agreement was struck, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said: “We need a stadium. The biggest sport in the country and one of the biggest sports in the world needs a stadium.”

The current 18 clubs will hold a final vote once Tasmania has finalised its case for a licence, with the support of at least 12 clubs needed for their pitch to succeed. The state recently provided financial details of its proposal to clubs and McLachlan said discussions have been “productive”.

Indeed, one club president told the Mercury that all presidents were supportive of the bid, assuming the new stadium gets built, and are “satisfied” that Tasmania can secure the funding required. The unnamed executive said he does not believe “anyone would be against having a new stadium for a new team”.

Meanwhile, Hawthorn have inked a new one-year deal to continue playing home games in Tasmania. They will host four regular season matches there next season, having done so regularly since 2001.

“We are delighted to be extending our time in Tasmania, while at the same time also continuing our support for their pursuit of their own AFL team,” said Hawthorn chief executive Justin Reeves.

“The relationship Hawthorn has with the Tasmanian government is incredibly strong, and to extend our partnership for another season is a testament to those ties.”

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