Engrained in Australian culture for over a century, celebrated and loved by millions, fiercely competitive yet wholesomely respectful, the AFL Grand Final is a national treasure, and there are loads of ways to enjoy it with friends and family. What started as a simple public school sports game, has become the annual sports event with the highest national audience, both in-person and televised.
The Stadium Experience
Several traditions have arisen surrounding the grand final match including the grand final parade, the Grand Final Breakfast, the sprint race, and exciting pre-match, halftime, and post-match entertainment.
Beginning in 1977, the players of each team have been the stars of a grand final parade the Friday before the match. This is an experience for the entire family, and in 2015 the day was declared as a public holiday in the state of Victoria. A combination of parade floats and an open-top vehicle motorcade, the parade was initially focused on the main city centre, and then adjusted to begin in the city and end just outside of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the stadium in which almost all AFL grand final matches have been held.
A famous televised event is the Grand Final Breakfast, primarily a celebration and fundraising event with a guest list that includes state officials, celebrities, and other prominent figures within the Australian world of sport, business, politics and entertainment. A grand auction is hosted, and all the profits are donated to charity.
Traditionally, a sprint race has taken place on the grand final day between players of each team that are not participating in the match. Last year, Ben King from Gold Coast club was victorious in the sprint race.
Another reason to attend an AFL Grand Final is the astounding entertainment line-up. Australian and international celebrities, stars, musicians have appeared in pre-match, halftime, and post-match entertainment performances. Among the notable artists in the past are Sting, Bryan Adams, Meatloaf, INXS, and Powderfinger.