AFL Gather Round kicks off today with more than 200,000 tickets already sold

AFL Gather Round kicks off today with more than 200,000 tickets already sold
  • PublishedApril 4, 2024

On the day of kick off, South Australia’s second Gather Round has already been flagged as more successful than the first.

More than 200,000 tickets have been sold for the event, which will see all nine games for round four of the AFL played in the same state.

Premier Peter Malinauskas was pleased to estimate about 70,000 tickets were snapped up by interstate fans – bringing in around 30,000 more tourists than in 2023.

“The most beautiful thing about that of course is … so many dollars coming from interstate into our local economy,” he said.

“Above all else, I hope that people from interstate have a good time.”

He said it was an exciting time for the state and for football fans.

“The fact that we’ve got all 18 clubs in the one city, in the one state, at the one time — it brings an energy, it brings an enthusiasm for our unique national game,” Mr Malinauskas said.

Accommodation providers have again reaped the benefits.

A woman stands in garden with grey short hair and beige shirt
The latest figures indicate 80 per cent of Adelaide’s hotel rooms are booked out.(ABC News: Imogen Hayne)

Australian Hotels Association SA CEO Anna Moeller has predicted the city will come close to reaching full capacity over the weekend.

“People got in very quickly this year, much quicker than last year, which is why we’ve seen the rate so strong”, she said.

That’s despite some hotels pushing their prices up to as high as $900 a night.

“Price is driven by demand, there’s a very direct link … so in some respects when we see a higher price that’s a good thing because it means that a lot of people are coming into the state,” Ms Moeller said.

Eager football fans flew into Adelaide Airport on Wednesday, with many booked to stay for most of the event to watch multiple games.

Adelaide supporter Alison Lowe travelled with her family and said she was keen to explore the city’s markets outside of the football festivities.

“We reckon the whole weekend is just going to be awesome, going around the city and just doing all sorts of activities and lots of hustle and bustle hopefully,” she said.

Adelaide Oval with the River Torrens and the pedestrian bridge with green signage on it
Both the AFL Gather Round and LIV Golf return to Adelaide this month.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

On the eve of game one, AFL CEO Andrew Dillon was forced to respond to criticism from world anti-doping expert Dick Pound, who’s compared the secrecy of the AFL’s illicit drugs policy to a Soviet-style regime.

“Dick Pound is an ex-head of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), so hugely respected … in relation to those comments, I don’t buy into them, they’re not correct,” Mr Dillon said.

He also backed the AFL’s lifetime ban handed to a spectator who ran onto the field during Adelaide’s clash against Geelong a fortnight ago.

“Unfortunately, we’ve got a small number of patrons who we have excluded either for life or for smaller times and we can recognise them through various mechanisms, so we’ll continue to do that,” he said.

Action kicks off today

The football begins tonight when the Crows take on Melbourne, with Adelaide desperate for its first win.

Demons defender Steven May has put his hand up to return after missing just one game with broken ribs.

A Melbourne AFL player lies hurt on the ground as two medical staff watch him closely.
Steven May was seriously injured against Hawthorn.(Getty Images: Darrian Traynor)

“If you take the field you have got to be ready to go and give a great contest and big Maysy will no doubt do that,” Melbourne forward Alex Neal-Bullen said.

The winless Lions will tackle North Melbourne at Norwood Oval on Friday after another turbulent week.

“They’re a proud group, an experienced group so you imagine they’re going to respond to that but I wouldn’t reckon they’re trying any harder this week than what they were trying last week,” North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson said.

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has also vowed to stick with what he knows.

“I think the key to it all is not to overreact and to stick with what you know works and things turn in footy, I think sometimes the biggest mistake you can make is to jump around too much,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Collingwood vice-captain Taylor Adams will play his first game for the Swans when they take on West Coast in the Adelaide Hills.


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