Queensland has won the rights to host this year’s AFL Grand Final, the League announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The Gabba will host this year’s showpiece event at night on Saturday October 24, in what will be the first Grand Final under lights.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan confirmed the game will take place in front of at least 30,000 people.
The historic decision brings to a close weeks of speculation about where the Grand Final will be played after Victoria’s second wave forced its relocation from the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales all made submissions to the AFL outlining why they deserved to host this year’s event, but while the League stood to make more money and be able to accommodate more fans at Perth’s Optus Stadium, they opted to side with the state who has unquestionably ensured the current COVID-affected season is able to continue.
After the Victorian Government relinquished rights to the event in 2020, the AFL announced that Brisbane would host the event after the Commission ratified the decision in a meeting on Tuesday.
According to The Age's Sam McClure, the MCG will hold extra games in 2021 and the deal to hold the Grand Final at the revered venue will be extended by a year to 2058 as part of the AFL's deal with the Victorian Government to relinquish the event.
Gold Coast Chairman Tony Cochrane, who led Queensland’s push to secure the event, told SEN Breakfast last week that the state’s willingness to house the majority of AFL clubs to keep the season alive meant they were the natural choice to host the Grand Final.
“We’ve really done everything right by the industry,” he said on Thursday.
“I don’t know the exact number, but I think we must have saved the AFL north of $150 million by keeping the game going, by enabling the media rights to transact, and can I also say by keeping a lot of families at home happy because the one thing that a lot of us have looked forward to at night … is we get a chance to sit and watch a game of footy and things seem normal.
“I reckon that’s a bit of magic in our year, in what is a difficult year, and I think Queensland’s really stood up.”
This year’s Grand Final will be the first held away from the MCG since 1991, where the Great Southern Stand’s construction forced the League to move the decider between Hawthorn and West Coast to VFL Park.
In 1945, the MCG was in use by the military as World War II ended and as such, was unable to host the Grand Final. On that occasion, 62,986 packed into Princes Park to see Carlton defeat South Melbourne to claim their seventh premiership in AFL/VFL history.
The build up to the historically significant Grand Final is now set to begin in earnest, with just four rounds left before the shortened 18-round home and away season concludes.