Sydney will host the Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s, Liberty A-League Women’s Grand Final, the E-League Grand Final and a host of other football related events in a three-year deal, beginning in 2023.
The partnership between the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) and Destination NSW, the lead government agency for the NSW Tourism and Major Events sectors, is designed to develop an engaging Grand Final experience for football fans in Australia and New Zealand.
Danny Townsend, CEO of the APL, said: “The FIFA World Cup 2023 showed that we are a country of football fans and whet the region’s appetite for the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year. But fans don’t want to wait for four years in-between competitions to see our best sporting talent perform.
“Football fans now get the best of both worlds – they can now look forward to a showpiece Grand Final event in a set location, as well as watching A-Leagues and national team stars week-in-week-out at their local A-Leagues team.
“This is a unique opportunity to build a tradition for football fans. When you think about a cup final in England, you think about the trip to Wembley, and we want fans in Australia to look forward to the A-Leagues Grand Finals in the same way.
“We have already broken the previous record for attendance this season in the Liberty A-League Women and have set an objective to make history again with Grand Final attendance in the year that we host the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
The A-Leagues move mirrors that of major football events around the world choosing a major city for their marquee events and working with it to develop a truly memorable experience for fans.
Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin said the addition of the A-Leagues Grand Finals to Sydney’s annual sporting events calendar would have significant benefits for NSW.
“As the nation’s home of football I am delighted to be partnering with the APL to bring the Men’s and Women’s A-Leagues Grand Finals to Sydney,” Mr Franklin said.
“Sydney is renowned for hosting world-class sporting events and we are going to create a new tradition for Australian football fans, making the Grand Finals a week-long extravaganza that showcases football and the best of the Harbour City.
“Tens of thousands of football fans are expected to flock to Sydney for the A-Leagues Grand Finals and are forecast to inject $26 million of visitor expenditure into NSW.
“This is another incredible addition to the already impressive calendar of world-class major events we are building for Sydney, which is a key pillar of our goal to make NSW the major events capital and premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.”
Minister for Sport Alister Henskens said as the state with the greatest footprint on the nation’s football landscape now was an exciting time to showcase the round ball game.
“With the FIFA Women’s World Cup coming and on the back of the Socceroos historic world cup in Qatar, football in Australia has never been stronger,” Mr Henskens said.
“NSW is home to the most clubs in the A-Leagues competition, with the greatest supporter base, most passionate fans, the highest level of football participation and the best football venues, including Australia’s largest rectangular football stadium.
“This new week-long football event will provide football and sports fans with an experience unique to all other codes and cement the A-League Grand Finals amongst the very best sporting events on our national sporting calendar.”
Danny Townsend said that between now and the Grand Finals on 30 April (Women’s), 27 May (ELeague), Saturday 3 June (Men’s), and the Dolan Warren Awards on Thursday 1 June, the priority for his commercial team was to work with the NSW Government to create a ‘must see’ experience for fans.
The marquee fixtures will be supported by a range of other football-related events and activities.
“We are working with transport and accommodation providers to develop special packages for travelling fans, including our Official Hotel Partner IHG who have committed to offer a special discounted rate to travelling fans. Because we have certainty about which city will be hosting the final from a long way out, we are able to build a ‘Festival of Football’ around these major events.”
The A-Leagues Grand Finals are proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW and Office of Sport.
APL previously partnered with Destination NSW for the return of the A-Leagues All Stars who took on FC Barcelona at Accor Stadium in front of 70,174 fans . . . the largest event crowd in NSW since 2019.