NT Makes Its Case For Territory AFL Team

NT Government

The Northern Territory is a step closer to having its own AFL team with the release of a strategic business case by the Australian Football League Team Northern Territory Taskforce.

The Taskforce have completed a strategic business case, which includes a 10-year plan to establish a Northern Territory (NT) based AFL club.

The Taskforce, made up of Northern Territory Government and AFLNT representatives, along with industry and AFL leaders, was formed in 2021 to lead the investigation into establishing an AFL club in the Territory.

AFL is an integral part of the culture and social fabric of the Territory. With over 40,000 participants Territory wide and 5,000 people playing AFL in Darwin alone, the passion for the game runs the length and breadth of the Territory.

The strategic business case has found an NT based AFL club will bring significant sporting benefits to the Territory and deliver positive social and economic outcomes.

It will help promote the Territory as a sought-after travel and lifestyle destination, enhance the liveability of the region and showcase the Territory as an attractive place to live, work and play in line with the government’s 2030 population growth targets.

The Business Case puts forward an aspiration for a future multi-purpose Darwin city stadium, where a Territory AFL team would be based.

A Darwin City Stadium is at an early stage of planning so a future Northern Territory Government can have a clear roadmap and plan, if it were to decide in future to proceed with the project.

The current TIO Stadium which is capable of being upgraded and it would provide a cost-effective way of delivering Territorians a better facility to watch major sporting events like AFL matches. The Territory Labor Government has secured multiple Gold Coast Suns matches and NRL matches with the Parramatta Eels.

The Territory Government has appointed Investment NT to guide the next stage of the work towards an AFL Team for the Territory.

An Advisory Group, with leading professionals and experts of industry, has been formed to guide the implementation of recommendations provided in the Strategic Business Case, and decisions around investment and benefits of establishing an AFL team in the NT.

The Strategic Business Case is the first stage in realising a locally based AFL club with several key recommendations identified as next steps over the coming 18 months.

The 2019 Bastion EBA report ‘A feasibility study into an AFL license in the Northern Territory’ forecast that the economic benefit to the NT could be as much as $559 million if the new club was provided with a new stadium and training facilities, and up to $148 million in the first season using existing facilities. The Strategic Business Case indicates that an AFL Team would create 160 full-time jobs, bring game day activation of the economy and add $116M a year in economic output to the Territory economy.

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