Hopes of Wellington hosting a men’s or women’s A-League grand final have been dashed for at least three years.
The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) and Destination NSW have announced a landmark deal for Sydney to host the grand finals of both competitions starting with the men’s A-League final on June 3 next year.
Announcing the deal, the APL say: “The move mirrors that of major football events around the world, in hosting marquee events in a major city and working with it to develop a memorable fan experience for supporters in both Australia and New Zealand over a week-long ‘Festival of Football’.”
Starting with the A-League Women decider on April 30, the E-League on May 27 and the A-League Men final on June 3, plus the Dolan Warren Awards on June 1, the marquee fixtures will be supported by a range of other football-related events and activities to create a “must-see” experience for fans.
APL CEO Danny Townsend said: “Football fans now get the best of both worlds — they can now look forward to a showpiece grand final event in a set location, as well as watching A-Leagues and national team stars week-in-week-out at their local A-Leagues team.
“This is a unique opportunity to build a tradition for football fans. When you think about a cup final in England, you think about the trip to Wembley, and we want fans in Australia to look forward to the A-Leagues finals in the same way.
“We have already broken the previous record for attendance this season in the Liberty A-League Women and have a clear objective to make history again with grand final attendance in the year that we host the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
Deal expected to pump $26 million a year into NSW
Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin said the move is forecast to inject $26 million a year of visitor spending into New South Wales.
“Sydney is renowned for hosting world-class sporting events and we are going to create a new tradition for Australian football fans, making the A-Leagues grand finals a week-long extravaganza that showcases football and the best of the Harbour City,” he said.
“Tens of thousands of football fans are expected to flock to Sydney for the A-Leagues Grand Finals and are forecast to inject $26 million of visitor expenditure into NSW.
“This is another incredible addition to the already impressive calendar of world-class major events we are building for Sydney, which is a key pillar of our goal to make NSW the major events capital and premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.”
Minister for Sport Alister Henskens said: “NSW is home to the most clubs in the A-Leagues competition, with the greatest supporter base, most passionate fans, the highest level of football participation and the best football venues, including Australia’s largest rectangular football stadium.”
No stadium has been confirmed as the grand final venue but the APL previously partnered with Destination NSW for this year’s A-Leagues All Stars match against FC Barcelona at Accor Stadium in front of the largest event crowd in NSW since 2019.
Main photo: Accor Stadium, Sydney … a potential venue for A-League grand finals.