South Australia welcomes Gather Round
The AFL officially launched Gather Round… A Festival of Footy with South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas and AFL Chief Executive Gillion McLachlan opening the round at Adelaide Oval today.
Joined by Carlton and Adelaide Crows’ captains Patrick Cripps and Jordan Dawson, along with Port Adelaide’s Aliir Aliir, the group kicked off the four-day festival of football, which begins with the sold out Carlton v Adelaide match on Thursday night at Adelaide Oval.
With more than 180,000 tickets sold across the nine matches, three of Adelaide’s premier venues are ready to host fans from all over the country, including some international visitors, at the iconic Adelaide Oval, Norwood Oval – home of the Redlegs – and the picturesque Mount Barker Summit and Recreation Park in the Adelaide Hills.
Five of the nine Gather Round matches are now sold out, with limited tickets remaining for Friday night’s clash between Sydney and Richmond and Sunday’s doubleheader at Adelaide Oval, as well as the twilight match at Norwood Oval between Fremantle and Gold Coast SUNS.
South Australians and footy fans can also enjoy the Pepsi Max Footy Festival, a free four-day festival featuring two lives sites at Elder Park and Pinky Flat, full of entertainment, local vendors, player appearances and NAB AFL Auskick Clinics, with all nine matches of the round showing on the big screens.
Entertainment and food and beverage offerings at both Norwood Oval and Adelaide Hills will also ensure fans can soak in the festival atmosphere while enjoying the community football experience with the best of what South Australia has to offer.
AFL Chief Executive, Gillon McLachlan said since announcing the concept last year, an unbelievable amount of work has gone into the delivery from both the South Australian Government and the AFL team.
“If you looked at a recent satellite image of the Mt Barker site, you would probably see little more than parched fields and sheep paddocks – but we have managed to turn it into an AFL stadium, and from all reports the deck is amazing," Mr McLachlan said.
“There is a lot of momentum and excitement from everyone – our clubs and players, the media, and importantly our fans.
“On behalf of the AFL, I want to thank Premier Malinauskas and his team. As I said before there has been an unbelievable amount of work done, and I know we will put on a great show.
“Our first four rounds of the season have been sensational, record crowds, free-flowing footy and this week might be our best one yet.”
Premier Peter Malinauskas said so much work has gone into making this inaugural Gather Round a success in South Australia.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming tens of thousands of new visitors to our state and letting them experience all we have to offer," Premier Malinauskas said.
“I know our hospitality and tourism sectors are already reaping significant benefits.
“I encourage all South Australians to soak up the festival atmosphere. Get to a game, attend one of the many events, or enjoy the free festivities.
“Let’s make this a week to remember.”
Adelaide Oval CEO, Nick Addison said hosting the inaugural Gather Round is an amazing opportunity to showcase Adelaide Oval at its best to footy fans from around the country.
“It’s a great challenge for our world-class team who are looking forward to being a part of it – they’re already hard at work preparing local produce in the kitchens, putting finishing touches on the turf, and setting everything from Oval Hotel to our corporate areas and kiosks, ready to welcome thousands of fans across the weekend," Mr Addison said.
AFL Executive General Manager Customer and Commercial, Kylie Rogers said it is thrilling to be bringing so many interstate and international visitors to the footy for Gather Round this week.
“We encourage everyone who has bought or redeemed a members ticket to make the most of the experience and surrounding activity. It’s going to be a fantastic show with amazing entertainment inside and outside the stadiums which shouldn’t be missed," Ms Rogers said.
“If you have a ticket and your plans change – then head to the Ticketek app and transfer it to a friend OR get a refund (if applicable) so another footy fan can access your ticket.
“Any returned tickets will be available online via Ticketek and so we encourage fans to continue to keep an eye on the site – we will continue to keep fans updated should any further tickets be released.
“And for those who do miss out – the Pepsi Max Footy Festival has big screens showcasing all nine matches of the round – so head down with your picnic blanket and enjoy the footy festival atmosphere!”