THE AFL will be back in front of live crowds this year, with the league announcing the state government has endorsed its plan for the MCG and Marvel Stadium to open to the public at 50 per cent capacity as of next week.
As of March 18 – when Richmond plays Carlton in Round 1 – the MCG can host up to 50,000 patrons.
From Thursday March 4, Marvel Stadium can host up to 28,961 patrons, coinciding with the opening match of the AAMI Community Series between Carlton and St Kilda.
Crowd capacity’s for GMHBA Stadium in Geelong and Mars Stadium in Ballarat are “currently being worked through with an announcement shortly”.
Ticketing details will be released in coming days, with club members prioritised.
Home clubs will have three priority groups that will receive priority onsales and it is up to each club how they segment their membership categories into those three groups (including reserved seat members and general admission members).
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan welcomed the announcement and said it was great news for clubs and fans on the eve of the season.
“On behalf of the AFL I would like to thank the Victorian State Government, specifically Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula and Minister for Health Martin Foley for working with us in allowing fans to get back to the footy,” Mr McLachlan said.
“Footy fans in Victoria have been excited about getting back to matches and we have seen that with great numbers across the opening rounds of the AFLW season.
“We haven’t had footy crowds this big in Victoria since the match to support Bushfire Relief in February last year, so today’s announcement provides a big boost for our players and fans in the leadup to the season.
“Our team has been working extensively behind the scenes planning for multiple scenarios and all our venues will be ready to welcome fans back into the stands come next month.”