AFL for 2018 has officially arrived in Launceston.
Every year there is a conversation about whether Tasmania should have its own AFL team.
Every year there is debate as to whether North Melbourne and Hawthorn should both be playing in the state.
And every year there is a discussion about whether Hawthorn should be affiliated with Launceston and beyond.
On paper, the answer to the latter, is a resounding yes.
The economic benefits of Hawthorn playing in Launceston are significant.
Last month, football writer Caroline Wilson claimed Hawthorn hadn’t had a significant impact on Launceston on Tasmania.
The Launceston Chamber of Commerce was quick to rebut this claim.
Chief executive Neil Grose said about $18 million annually was injected into the economy thanks to Tasmania’s partnership with Hawthorn.
He said the involvement had also laid the foundation for significant capital investment in the North.
Now, here at The Examiner we don’t want to encourage a North versus South divide.
There are great advantages in working together as a whole state rather than separate regions.
But in saying that, competition is good motivation.
We know that Launceston is the home of the Hawks. So it’s important we show it through ticket sales.
At North Melbourne’s pre-season game in February in Hobart only 1957 patrons attended the match.
In 2016, Hawthorn and Carlton met in a pre-season game in Launceston.
The officially crowd figure was 9181.
So far more than 2500 tickets have been sold for the March 10 match. But we want a solid win in attendance when we are compared to Hobart.
For two adults and two children it would cost about $80 to attend on Saturday. This is $10 dearer than if you chose to go the movies.
Like the Chamber of Commerce, The Examiner is a strong supporter of the Hawks in Launceston. And we know many readers agree and can see the benefits.
But we must show our support by purchasing tickets at this game and the matches to come this season. A nice highlight is the fact we can show Hobart we are the true AFL capital of Tasmania.