State government business enterprise TT-Line will pay $1.5 million for North Melbourne to play games at Bellerive Oval for the next three years.
North Melbourne boss James Brayshaw and AFL chief Andrew Demetriou flew in to Hobart earlier today for the announcement at Bellerive Oval with Premier Lara Giddings.
Ms Giddings said the TT-Line had decided to support the two-game-a-year deal, which also includes financial backing from the Southern councils and the business community.
“I am extremely pleased that we have been able to reach an outcome that is not only good for local businesses and the wider Tasmanian economy, but is also a natural fit with TT-Line’s core business strategy to attract visitors on the Spirit of Tasmania I and II,” Ms Giddings said.
“I want to thank everyone who has been involved in this process, particularly the business community and the Hobart City Council for their role in making this deal a reality.”
Ms Giddings said the State Government is a strong supporter of the economic benefits of playing additional AFL games in Tasmania.
“We know from our 10-year relationship with Hawthorn that football can play a vital role in boosting the economy, particularly during the slow winter-period,” she said.
“The experience with Hawthorn has been that over 30 per cent of the crowd has come from interstate.
“It has also been shown to grow grass-roots football participation, as well as improve access to professional football for more Tasmanians
“However, in considering the funding deal with North Melbourne over recent weeks, I decided that we could not justify spending additional money from the State Budget at a time when we are asking all departments, including health and education, to find significant savings.
“I was not prepared to see this opportunity disappear, which is why I spoke to a number of businesses last week, including TT-Line, who were impressed by the commercial potential of this deal for their business.”
Ms Giddings said TT-Line’s contribution would not have an impact on the State Budget as the company is not required to return a dividend to the Government.
“I understand TT-Line has been looking for an opportunity to tap into the lucrative AFL market and this commercial arrangement will create opportunities for advertising at the MCG and Bellerive oval, as well as direct marketing to North Melbourne members,” Ms Giddings said.
“It will also allow the company to market package deals, both for North Melbourne games in Hobart and Hawthorn matches at Aurora Stadium in Launceston, to bring more tourists to the state.