Optus Stadium behind ANZ Stadium, MCG in race to host AFL grand final, say bookies
Bookmakers have installed Optus Stadium as the third favourite to host this year’s AFL grand final — with Sydney’s ANZ Stadium emerging as the $1.90 frontrunner.
Despite the worsening coronavirus crisis in Victoria, the MCG ($2.75) remains shorter odds to retain the fixture than playing the decider in Perth ($4.50).
The odds come as AFL boss Gil McLachlan today confirmed a decision on the grand final would be made next month.
“Everything keeps changing but it is real, you don’t know where we’re going to be. We have great venues,” he said on 3AW.
“Obviously there’s great venues in every state and great footy markets — those developing markets, as are South Australia and Western Australia.
“It will be something I reckon we will make a decision in August some time when we know more about how the landscape looks.”
According to Sportsbet, the Gabba ($13), Adelaide Oval ($21) and the SCG ($34) are all viewed as outside chances.
McLachlan said earlier this week that Sydney was firming as the most likely alternative location for the grand final if coronavirus lockdowns mean it cannot be held at the MCG.
ANZ Stadium has not hosted an AFL fixture in four years but league executives are reportedly keen on using the marquee game to boost interest in the sport in NSW, a market traditionally dominated by rugby league.
ANZ Stadium is also capable of holding more than 80,000 fans compared to Optus Stadium’s 60,000 capacity.
Sportsbet’s 2020 AFL grand final venue market
- $1.90 - ANZ Stadium
- $2.75 - MCG
- $4.50 - Optus Stadium
- $13- Gabba
- $21 - Adelaide Oval
- $34 - SCG
Mark McGowan has repeatedly stated his support for shifting the AFL grand final to Perth, which he said was the safest place in the country.
“If it can’t be held in Victoria, clearly it should just come to Perth,” the Premier said – although he has been reluctant to confirm WA would bid for the rights to host the game.
“At this point in time, I don’t want to get into some bidding war with other states about the grand final,” he said.
“I hate this actually. I hate this bidding for something that should actually just come here because we are the best location.
A host of former AFL stars – including Matthew Lloyd and Kane Cornes – have backed moving the game to Perth.
The State’s tourism and business sectors are also firmly in support of the WA Government making a concerted push for the fixture because of the potential flow on benefits to the economy.
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Crown Perth chair and leading WA businessman John Poynton said a “$10 million to $20 million” bid would be “money well spent”.
“It’s exactly the sort of thing the Government should be doing at this time to encourage activity and help the tourism industry at a time when it really needs it,” he said.
“They should go hard and try and get it, because the benefits will be huge.”
Nearly 6600 people have already signed The West Australian’s petition calling for the AFL grand final to be played at Optus Stadium.
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