AFL to get their own ‘magic round’ with four-day ‘festival of football’ in South Australia for 2023
The AFL is set to launch their own version of the ‘Magic Round’ with a four-day festival of footy pencilled in for South Australia in 2023.
The league confirmed today (Friday, November 11) that all nine matches of the round will be played from April 13 to April 16.
It will act as an additional round of the season, extending the fixture list to 24 rounds in total.
While not all games will be played in the same venue, the concept mirrors that of NRL’s Magic Round that sees all games from one round played at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium over a weekend.
7News reports that the clubs have been told they will receive a $500,000 bonus as a result of the additional round.
AFL CEO Gillion McLachlan said that the weekend would likely consist of six matches at Adelaide Oval and three played at suburban grounds.
According to 7News, South Australia forked out $10 million for hosting rights, beating out the likes of New South Wales.
Gillion McLachlan said: “We are looking forward to not only bringing nine great matches for premiership points to South Australia, but also a party-like atmosphere, filled with fan activations, family-friendly events, music, entertainment, community engagement, all designed to bring the city to life over the four days.
"Over the pandemic-challenged years, South Australia played an important role in the survival of our game, and we are so pleased to be able to bring this major football event into the state.
"School holidays are a great opportunity for families, and we will work with the SA Government to ensure we will have free experiences and activations at matches and around the city for all footy fans to come together.
"Our clubs, our players and coaches are excited to come together, put on a great show and engage with the local community and grassroots footy, all while showcasing the great state of South Australia.
"On behalf of the AFL, I would like to thank Premier Malinauskas, who has really taken the lead on this project, along with everyone at the South Australian Government and all footy fans across the state – your passion for this project has been infectious and we look forward to putting on a great show for you all come April."
SA Premier Malinauskas hopes that footy fans will come for much more than the games.
He 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."
Featured Image Credit: Takatoshi Kurikawa / Alamy. Russell Mountford / Alamy.