Tasmania is getting an AFL team and a new stadium. Or maybe not (2023)

It's easy to see why Tasmania's Labor opposition has been unable to resist the temptation to batter the state Liberal government on the issue of its AFL team and stadium deal.

For the past 12 months, Labor hasthrown rocks at Premier Jeremy Rockliff about the proposed stadium for Macquarie Point and rightly scrutinised the proposal, with talk of "secret deals" and "blank cheques" for the AFL only ramping up after the recent release of the contract to the public.

Those lines have played well so far with Tasmanians.

Mainlanders in suits are easy targets for those from the island, who still see themselves as downtrodden battlers, and for years the AFL has played the perfect villain.

The Labor Party is more than happy to perpetuate the stereotype.

And why wouldn't it?

Its anti-stadium strategy has helped produce a short-term sugar hit for leader Rebecca White, who recently edged ahead of Jeremy Rockliff as preferred premier.

Labor candidate Sarah Lovell handed out "No Stadium" stickers at shopping centres during her run for the Upper House seat of Rumney. She won the seat easily.

Stadium debate reaching beyond Hobart

But there's risk involved too, especially when the politicking threatens to kill the football team Tasmanians have longed for.

So roused is the Tasmanian public on the issue, normally non-political folk are beginning to mobilise, and Labor is now walking a tightrope.

The debate has seeped out of inner-city Hobart into Labor —and Tasmanian football —heartland: the working-class outer suburbs, and deep into the regions.

If Tasmanian footy fans were sleeping on the debate, then an anti-stadium rally that drew thousands to the lawns of parliament recentlywas the blaring alarm clock that woke them up.

Their team was officially under siege, and a social media counter-offensive was launched.

A pro-team and stadium Facebook group has swelled to more than 10,000 members, overtaking a rival "anti" group, with even the most cursory glance of members' posts revealing a swathe of rusted-on Labor people questioning their voting intentions.

"This development needs to come to fruition," says 61-year-old Mark Paton, who hails from Wayatinah in the Central Highlands.

"If Labor and their green bedmates block it, I will as a staunch Labor and union person all my life, be voting Liberal at the next election," he posted on the ABC Facebook page.

Battlelines drawn

Thousands of jobs are potentially on the line. The Tasmanian branch of the CFMEU is said to be rankled by Labor's stance.

There are rumblings too of growing pro-stadium sentiment from within the Labor Party, as the realisation sinks in that the fate of the team and licence is directly bound to the stadium's construction.

If one dies, the other cannot survive, and nobody wishes to have the blood of a Tasmanian AFL team on their hands.

Punters are learning that the AFL does have skin in the game too.

The league has pledged $360 millionto Tasmanian football as part of the deal, and a few bob towards the stadium as well.

If that money doesn't flow, there's more than just a team at stake. The sport will wither.

Tasmania is getting an AFL team and a new stadium. Or maybe not (1)

"If we don't get a stadium, I'm of the view we won't get a team," says David O'Byrne, the Labor outsider who is stridently anti-Liberal government, but strongly pro-stadium.

"So Tasmania will end up not having a team, not having an entertainment and sports facility, but we'll still have desperate circumstances for people in need of health and housing and the state will be no better off."

"And that'll be an absolute disgrace."

On this premise, the government has launched an offensive of its own.

The stadium is unpopular with some, but it's plenty popular with others, and the fear of losing the state's recently won AFL licence has provided stadium supporters reason to speak up.

"People have thought, hold on, we could probably lose this," Mr Rockliff told the ABC at the end of a tough week for his minority government.

"I can see the benefits in this, and also the despondency in many.

"If we can't get this, which gets us our AFL dream that has been hard fought for decades, then that'll be a very sad day for Tasmania and the naysayers will have had another victory."

"And I don't want to happen."

Bumper-sticker, dinner table divides

Squabbles are being had across Tasmanian dinner tables. If the new Tasmanian football team achieves the same level of tribalism, it is assured success.

The issue will dominate the ballot boxes at the next state election, which could be sooner rather than later, but there's now no guarantee that an anti-stadium stance is the vote winner it once was.

Tasmania is getting an AFL team and a new stadium. Or maybe not (2)

"I can see and hear the other side of this mobilising. There's a group of passionate AFL fans that will do anything to have an AFL team, and I see them, and I hear them," Labor MP Dean Winter says.

But there's also a hard refusal within the Labor camp to cop the blame if Tasmania's footy dreams are dashed.

Ifit's going to fall over, the oppositionwants it to be because of the government's actions and not because Labor refused to support thestadium.

"It's not a matter of whether people want it to be built, it's a matter of whether it can be built both in terms of the budget, and in terms of the site," Mr Winter said.

"We're still not at the stage where the government can actually say, hand on heart, whether or not they can actually build it."

The project will be put to the test via Tasmania's projects of state significance path.

It was part of the deal the premier struck with party defectors Lara Alexander and John Tucker, in exchange for their confidence in the lower house as independents.

The pair wanted the stadium to be exposed to a higher level of scrutiny. They have their wish.

Both houses of parliament will need to tick it off. Then, following consultation and a design process, the independent planning commission will cast its eye.

Then it's back to both houses of parliament.

Not 'a pulp mill'

Labor holds three crucial votes in the upper house where the project is destined, and given party rules that it must vote as a block, Labor will either find itself all in or all out.

It's a hefty amount of rigour. But the premier is confident.

"I believe the majority of the Labor members do support this project," he said.

"I'm not building a pulp mill on the waterfront."

There are good reasons though why Labor has been able to so easily criticise the deal, which will see the government fund more than half the stadium build and sponsor the new Tasmanian club for more than a decade.

It's still not known whether the deal went through Cabinet, nor if there was advice provided by Treasury.

The state will pay for cost overruns on a stadium that is not yet designed. It'll pay penalties to the AFL should it not meet construction deadlines, too.

Federal funding was secured for the project, but the Government forgot to get the cash exempt from the state's GST share.

These fumbles have the likes of David O'Byrne frustrated.

He wants the project to happen, but he's finding it hard to trust the government to pull it off.

"The way the government has handled this has not been good. They can't manage their internals. They've had people leave the party," he said.

Still, he's all in.

Tasmania is getting an AFL team and a new stadium. Or maybe not (3)

"I've made the assessment that an AFL team will be such a positive for this state — not just the economic side, and the jobs, but the emotional state for the island and the pride we will show on the national stage," he said.

"I don't want to be on the wrong side of history on this."

Transparency issues have plagued the project from the start.

The seeds were sown when former premier Peter Gutwein thrust the project into the public consciousness last year, catching the state by surprise.

Key stakeholders the RSL and Regatta Association were only told of the plans the afternoon prior.

It's been a theme throughout and continued as recently as last week when the government refused to table departmental advice about the stadium, despite being ordered by parliament to do so.

The premier says that advice is cabinet-in-confidence, and that few deals have been as open to scrutiny as this one.

"I believe I complied with the will of the parliament, and I've always said I would be open and transparent around the deal with the AFL," he said.

"This has been one of the most highly scrutinised deals and projects that I can recall in my 21 years in parliament."

Dean Winter and his parliamentary colleagues remain unconvinced of the merits of the deal. They can't understand why Tasmania pays so much, and the AFL gives so little.

They want the deal be re-negotiated but know in their heart of hearts that's not going to happen.

How will all thisresolve?

While the stadium issue had been the topic of intense debate, one thing everyone agrees on is that Tasmania should have a team.

The premier is willing to reach across the aisle to win support and ensure the dream does not die.

"I would absolutely welcome the opportunity to reach out to the leader of the ppposition to see what support is possible for this project."

Whether that is wishful thinking, or a way forward, remains to be seen.

Tasmania is getting an AFL team and a new stadium. Or maybe not (4)


Posted, updated


Do Tasmanians want a stadium? ›

The Tasmanian government wants the stadium, which it will own, to anchor a new “arts and sports” precinct. It will contribute $375 million of the estimated cost of $715 million.

Does Tasmania have a stadium? ›

Stadiums Tasmania – University of Tasmania Stadium

The University of Tasmania Stadium, also known as York Park and previously as Aurora Stadium, is in Launceston. It is predominantly used to host AFL games and is the home away from home venue for the Hawthorn Hawks who play several 'at home' games here each season.

What are the AFL grounds of Tasmania? ›

Formerly known as Bellerive Oval, the home of Tasmanian cricket has hosted AFL games since 2012 with North Melbourne playing some home matches at the venue.

Who is paying for the Tasmanian AFL stadium? ›

FULL STATEMENT AFL responds to Tasmania funding decision

The Tasmanian Government has already pledged $375 million towards the stadium, and the Federal Government funding contribution was the final piece of the puzzle. AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan thanked the Federal and Tasmanian governments for their funding decisions.

How many people play football in Tasmania? ›

Australian rules football in Tasmania
Governing bodyAFL Tasmania
Representative teamTasmania
First played1879
Registered players14,528 (2023)
6 more rows

Does Tasmania have any sports teams? ›

The Tasmanian Tigers are based at Bellerive Oval and represent the state in domestic competitions such as the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, the Sheffield Shield, and formerly in the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash.

Will Tasmania get an AFL team? ›

The final bid, a $150 million bid backed by the Tasmanian government and federal funding for a new stadium at Macquarie Point, Hobart, was accepted by the league on 2 May 2023. The as yet unnamed Tasmanian AFL club will be established, to compete in the AFL from 2028.

Will the new stadium in Tasmania have a roof? ›

New images were released, showing a flat, fixed, clear roof — likely indicative of an ETFE roof. Tasmanian cricket legend and ICC match referee David Boon said there would be a lot to consider before allowing all forms of cricket to be played under the roof.

Where will Tasmania's new stadium be built? ›

It indicated that Regatta Point and Macquarie Point were the two preferred locations, with a stadium having a capacity of 25,000 with an operable roof and moveable banks of seating to configure the ground for different events. The location at Macquarie Point was confirmed as the preferred location in September 2022.

Is Tasmania conservative or liberal? ›

The party currently governs in Tasmania as the only Liberal government in Australia, either state or territory, or Federal level. The party is part of the federal Liberal Party of Australia, currently in opposition.

Why was Tasmania cut off? ›

About 12,000 years ago, sea levels rose and separated Tasmania from the Australian mainland. Because of this, the Aboriginal peoples of Tasmania could no longer travel between Tasmania and Victoria.

How many people will the new Hobart stadium hold? ›

The 23,000-seat stadium proposal first emerged in mid-2022 following a visit to Hobart by AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and other senior AFL staff.

What is the most expensive AFL stadium? ›

The Docklands Stadium is a sports facility located within the city of Melbourne, Victoria. It was completed in 2000 at the cost of $460 million. The Stadium is the location of the headquarters of the Australian Football League, and is owned by the League.

Why does Hobart need a new stadium? ›

A new arts, entertainment, and sporting precinct with a stadium at its core will be an important multi-purpose entertainment venue which will provide significant economic, health, social and community benefits not just for Hobart but for the whole state.

Does anyone own AFL teams? ›

Each club has been set up as a Limited Liability Company and run by a board of directors that is anywhere between six and 10 people. From these directors: One is appointed as a CEO. One is elected as chairperson: this person is also known as the President of the club.

What is the main sport in Tasmania? ›

Football has retained its standing as Tasmania's most played team sport. An estimated 36,773 Tasmanians (6.8 per cent of the state's population) play football each year according to Sport Australia's latest independent Ausplay survey aggregated data set*.

How popular is the NFL in Australia? ›

The NFL counts 1.5 million Australians as 'avid fans'.

What would the Tasmanian AFL team be called? ›

After years of advocating, Tasmania was last week granted a licence by the AFL, with a 19th men's team on track to join the national competition in 2028. Attention immediately turned to what the newest club would be called, with the Tasmanian Devils emerging as the logical and popular option.

Does anyone live on Tasmania? ›

It is Australia's least populous state, with 569,825 residents as of December 2021. The state capital and largest city is Hobart, with around 40 percent of the population living in the Greater Hobart area.

What animals are only found in Tasmania? ›

Tasmania has several mammals found nowhere else in the world. Some, like the Tasmanian devil, and Tasmanian tiger are well-known. Others, such as the eastern quoll, pademelon, long-tailed mouse and bettong are less well-known, but equally fascinating.

Is Tasmania a part of the US? ›

Tasmania, formerly Van Diemen's Land, island state of Australia.

Why don t Tasmania have an AFL team? ›

Tasmanians were frustrated when Western Sydney and the Gold Coast were chosen as preferred homes for AFL teams, despite being not being traditional Aussie rules territory. In the late nineties, the Apple Isle also missed out in favour of Fremantle and a second Adelaide team.

What is the only Australian state without a AFL team? ›

SYDNEY : Tasmania's position as the only Australian state without a team in the top tier league of one of the country's four major football codes looks set to end after the government confirmed a contribution to the building of a new stadium on Saturday.

Will there be a 19th AFL team? ›

The Australian Football League (AFL) has confirmed Tasmania as its 19th team, with a new side from the state expected to join the competition in 2028.

Who is paying for the Hobart stadium? ›

The stadium is due for completion in 2029 and is to cost $715 million in total, which is to come from federal, state and AFL funding, plus money from recreational and commercial activity.

Why does SoFi Stadium have a roof? ›

The design keeps fans cool

The roof of SoFi Stadium is open on three sides, allowing for a cooling breeze to flow through, courtesy of the Pacific Ocean, which is about 5 miles away.

Do they ever open the roof at AT&T stadium? ›

There have been 118 regular season and playoff games at AT&T Stadium since it opened 14 years ago. The roof has been open in only 30 of those games. If the roof ever does need to be closed during a game, club officials say the process would take about 10 minutes. But again, don't expect that to happen.

What is the population of Hobart in 2023? ›

Hobart population in 2023 is estimated to be 253,241, covers city area of 1,695.5 sq km (654.6 sq mi), and most populous city Tasmania province, and seventh populous city of Australia.

How many people can Blundstone Arena hold? ›

The venue consists of the new Ricky Ponting Stand, the David Boon Stand (formerly known as the Southern Stand) and the Members Pavilion. There is also one smaller stand and a traditional hill on the eastern boundary which collectively contribute to a capacity crowd of 19,500.

Where is the new Tasmanian Oval? ›

The Tasmanian government is planning for an expanded bus and ferry network to transport people to and from the proposed 23,000-seat stadium in Hobart's Macquarie Point — and has firmly ruled out light rail.

Is Tasmania the coldest state? ›

Tasmania is Australia's coldest state overall because it is closer to the polar zone compared to the other Australian states and territories, and experiences more frequent bursts of cold Antarctic air.

Is Tasmania a good place to live? ›

Tasmania is known for culture and creativity with a good range of local boutique shops, trendy cafes, restaurants and weekly markets along with a line-up of vibrant festivals, events museums and art galleries. Tasmania also has a strong live music and theatre scene and is home to a world class symphony orchestra.

What is the main religion in Tasmania? ›

The religion of European Tasmanians, mostly Judaeo-Christian, is evidenced from the start, yet interpretation can puzzle.

Can Americans move to Tasmania? ›

If you want to have the opportunity to immigrate to Tasmania, you can refer to the following types of visas: Visa 189: Skilled Independent Subclass. Visa 190: Skilled Nominated Subclass. Visa 491: Skilled Work Regional Provisional.

Are there any indigenous Tasmanians left? ›

Today, some thousands of people living in Tasmania describe themselves as Aboriginal Tasmanians, since a number of Palawa women bore children to European men in the Furneaux Islands and mainland Tasmania.

Does Tasmania have an aging population? ›

The number of Tasmanians over the age of 85 will nearly double over the next decade, according to new data from the national Centre for Population.

What is the largest stadium occupancy in the world? ›

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang

The Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, also known as the Rungrado May Day Stadium, is the largest stadium in the world. It can officially accommodate 150,000 spectators.

What is the biggest stadium in Tasmania? ›

York Park is a sports ground in the Inveresk and York Park Precinct, Launceston, Australia. Holding 19,500 people, York Park is known commercially as University of Tasmania (UTAS) Stadium and was formerly known as Aurora Stadium under a previous naming rights agreement signed with Aurora Energy in 2004.

What stadium has 400,000 seats? ›

The largest sporting venue in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has a permanent seating capacity for more than 257,000 people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000.

What is the cheapest NFL stadium? ›

The cheapest NFL stadium belongs to Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. Opened on Sept. 29, 1957, the initial construction cost for the “Frozen Tundra” was $960,000.

What is the richest football stadium in the world? ›

The SoFi Stadium sits in Inglewood, California and is the home of the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. SoFi Stadium is not only the most expensive stadium in the world, it's one of the first indoor-outdoor stadiums to be built.

What is the most expensive football stadium in the US? ›

SoFi Stadium, Inglewood California

The SoFi Stadium is not only the most expensive NFL stadium but the most expensive sports arena in the entire world. The massive stadium is not only an NFL field but also a venue for concerts and other sporting events like the Olympics (in 2028).

What New York teams share a stadium? ›

MetLife Stadium, located in East Rutherford, NJ, is the home of the New York Jets and New York Football Giants. It is one of the largest stadiums in the NFL with a capacity of 82,500.

Why is there a Marvel Stadium? ›

The stadium was first built as a replacement for Waverley Park and was intended to be used predominantly for Australian rules football. Today, it remains a key sporting venue in the city but is also the headquarters of the Australian Football League, which has exclusively owned the arena since 2016.

What is the richest sporting club in Australia? ›

Obviously that their financial results of showing that. But number one is a Penrith Panthers at 150. one million dollars. Being a successful team, having a very strong Penrith Leagues Club.

Did the NFL buy the AFL? ›

Under the merger agreement announced on June 8, 1966, the new league would be called the NFL and split into the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC) All eight of the original AFL teams would all be absorbed by the NFL, unlike in 1949 when the NFL merged with the rival All- ...

What NFL teams are AFL equivalent? ›

Today, two of the NFL's eight divisions are composed entirely of former AFL teams, the AFC West (Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders) and the AFC East (Bills, Dolphins, Jets, and Patriots). Additionally, the Bengals now play in the AFC North and the Tennessee Titans (formerly the Oilers) play in the AFC South.

Does Tasmania have a football stadium? ›

Hobart stadium at Macquarie Point set to go ahead with federal funding, along with Tasmanian AFL team.

Do the Reds and Bengals share a stadium? ›

The Cincinnati Reds, the oldest franchise in Major League Baseball, play at the Great American Ball Park. The Paul Brown Stadium is home to the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals. The two relatively new stadiums are connected by a nice park/path along the waterfront, which makes for a nice 'stadium loop' with great river views.

Do any NBA teams share a stadium? ›

Staples Center is the only NBA arena shared by two teams (the Lakers and Clippers). The Golden State Warriors are the only team whose name does not include a city or a state.

Does Tasmania have a football club? ›

Tasmania has officially been granted its own AFL team, after outgoing CEO Gillon McLachlan officially awarded the state the league's 19th licence on Wednesday. One of the code's traditional heartlands, the Apple Isle had long pushed to be included in the national competition.

What would Tasmania AFL team be called? ›

After years of advocating, Tasmania was last week granted a licence by the AFL, with a 19th men's team on track to join the national competition in 2028. Attention immediately turned to what the newest club would be called, with the Tasmanian Devils emerging as the logical and popular option.

What is the largest NFL stadium? ›

Seating. With a peak capacity of over 100,000 spectators, AT&T Stadium has the highest capacity of any NFL stadium, while MetLife Stadium has the highest listed seating capacity at 82,500. The smallest stadium is Soldier Field with a capacity of 61,500.

Do any MLB and NFL teams share a stadium? ›

Oakland's O.co Coliseum is the only remaining stadium shared by a Major League Baseball team and an NFL team.

Who is the only team to share a stadium with an NFL team? ›

The Miami Dolphins share a stadium with the Miami Hurricanes (college team).

Who has the smallest NBA arena? ›

Smoothie King Center, which is home to the New Orleans Pelicans, is the smallest arena in terms of seating capacity.

What is the biggest stadium in the world? ›

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang

The Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, also known as the Rungrado May Day Stadium, is the largest stadium in the world. It can officially accommodate 150,000 spectators.

How many NBA players are Jehovah Witnesses? ›

Which current and ex-NBA players are Jehovah's Witnesses? According to Google, there are actually three current and ex-NBA players who are Jehovah's Witnesses — Dewayne Dedmon (currently of the Miami Heat) and former Indiana Pacers' teammates, Danny Granger and Darren Collison.

How many AFL players have come from Tasmania? ›

As many as 24 current AFL players hail from Tasmania, forming a list of potential targets for the league's potentially newest license.

What is Tasmania's well known for? ›

Tasmania is widely known for having the cleanest air in the world – combine that with some of the best scenery, unique wildlife and its rich history, it makes this Australian destination a must-visit.


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