11 Nov 2022

Fans set to flock to South Australia for nation-leading festival of football

South Australia’s visitor economy is set to win big in 2023, with the State Government fighting off tough interstate competition to secure the rights to host a national festival of football during the Easter school holidays.

The State Government has reached a league-first agreement with the AFL to host an entire round of the 2023 Toyota AFL Premiership season, with all nine matches featuring all 18 teams set to be played in the state.

The additional round of football will be scheduled across four days from Thursday 13th April to Sunday 16 April, coinciding with school holidays.

Entry to all matches will be FREE for all Club and AFL Members, providing a strong incentive for interstate fans to travel, stay and spend in South Australia.

The four days of football festivities will coincide with bye rounds in the SANFL and amateur leagues, providing greater opportunity for local crowds to attend.

Adelaide Oval, and the city’s Riverbank will form a central hub for much of the fixture which is still being finalised. Suburban and regional grounds, including those in the Barossa Valley are being considered for matches.

The sporting coup was secured with a contribution from the Major Events Fund, which was boosted by $40 million in this year’s State Budget.

Like the return of the Adelaide 500 and the Adelaide Motorsport Festival, the attraction of the additional AFL round is set to provide a welcome boost to local restaurants, pubs, hotels, bars, wineries and tourist attractions, all of which have suffered through the pandemic.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said it is exciting South Australia has earned the right to bring together all 18 AFL clubs to compete for Premiership points over four big days next season.

"As Premier, I am determined to lure more major events to South Australia, which is why we fought so hard to secure an entire round of AFL in South Australia," Premier Malinauskas said.

"I can’t wait to welcome fans from across the country who will get to witness a truly unique round of footy and also experience everything South Australia has to offer – our city, our world-class wineries and other incredible tourism assets.

"This will help fill hotel rooms, restaurants, pubs and clubs, which is exactly what our economy needs as we emerge from the pandemic, particularly our tourism and hospitality sector which has done it tough over the past couple of years.

"And for South Australian footy fans, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience footy like never before.

"Rest assured, we are going to put on a show footy fans will never forget."