Sydney will host the Isuzu UTE A-League, Liberty A-League and E-League grand finals for the next three years, beginning in 2023, after a landmark deal was struck between the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) and Destination NSW.
The move mirrors that of major football events around the world, in hosting marquee events in a major city and working with it to develop a memorable fan experience for supporters in both Australia and New Zealand over a week-long “Festival of Football”.
Starting with the A-League Women decider on April 30, the E-League on May 27 and the A-League Men final on June 3, plus the Dolan Warren Awards on June 1, the marquee fixtures will be supported by a range of other football-related events and activities to create a “must-see” experience for fans.
“The FIFA World Cup 2022 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,” APL CEO Danny Townsend said.
“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 finals in the same way.
“We have already broken the previous record for attendance this season in the Liberty A-League Women and have a clear objective to make history again with Grand Final attendance in the year that we host the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“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 move will also see significant benefits for New South Wales, with millions pumped into the economy as a result of adding the A-Leagues Grand Finals to Sydney’s annual sporting events calendar.
“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,” Minister for Tourism Ben 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 A-Leagues 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 also believes now is an exciting time to showcase the game in the state with the largest footprint in the nation’s football landscape.
“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.”
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 the largest event crowd in NSW since 2019.