The AFL, in conjunction with the Queensland State Government has today announced The Gabba will be home to the Easter Thursday match fixture for the next three seasons.
The Brisbane Lions will host Collingwood in 2020 and 2021, with the 2022 fixture set to feature another Victorian Club.
The 2019 season has seen the Lions’ attendance grow 34% from the 2018 season with membership numbers at their highest since 2005, culminating in their first Finals appearance in a decade.
AFL General Manager of Clubs and Broadcasting Travis Auld said the meeting of the two clubs will draw excitement to Brisbane across the Easter weekend.
“Nearly 35,000 packed The Gabba on the Thursday night before Easter this season.
“Once a traditional time slot for both these clubs, we are delighted the Queensland State Government, the Lions and Collingwood have committed to making it a marquee timeslot in Brisbane,” Mr Auld said.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the game between the two AFL powerhouses would be played at the Gabba in 2020 and 2021 in a fixture that traditionally draws huge crowds.
“We work hard to secure footy games that we know will draw huge crowds and generate a great return for local businesses in Queensland,” she said.
“The Pies love to fly north for the winter – we proved that earlier this year.
“That’s why we’ve worked closely with the AFL and with both clubs to get this deal over the line.”
Brisbane Chief Executive, Greg Swann attributes the exciting new tradition to the positive momentum built across the club.
“We believe we have been rewarded after producing a successful year on and off the field,” Mr Swann said.
“Chris Fagan and his men play an exciting brand of footy that will light up The Gabba and TV screens each Easter for the next three years.”
Collingwood Chief Executive, Mark Anderson said the Magpies are excited to replicate the successful meeting of the two clubs earlier this season.
“The club is excited about building an Easter Thursday tradition at The Gabba between the Brisbane Lions and Collingwood,” Mr Anderson said.
“The Easter Thursday fixture allows our supporters to travel to watch a great match of football and then stay on to enjoy Easter and all that Queensland has to offer.”
Sport Minister Mick de Brenni also cited the teams’ healthy competition this year, stating nearly 35,000 fans packed into The Gabba in April to watch the teams clash during the home and away season.
“There’s a great chance AFL fans will get a preview of the fixture this season with the Lions taking on GWS at the Gabba tomorrow night for the chance to play Collingwood in a preliminary final at the MCG next weekend.” Mr de Brenni said.