AFL hubs set to cost league $60 million as 2020 season hits game’s bottom line

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The crippling cost of keeping the AFL’s interstate hubs has been revealed with the league paying the cost for Melbourne’s second wave of COVID-19.

The AFL’s bill for maintaining the hubs has hit the league’s hip pocket to the tune of $4-5 million a week as the overall cost is set to eclipse $60 million.

The league has had to fork out more than $5 million for COVID-19 testing and has already conducted 51,000 tests while planning for thousands more in the lead-up to the October 24 Grand Final at the Gabba.

“We’ve ended up having to use hubs for the vast majority of the season,” AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said.

“People talked about 21 weeks (in hubs) and some players are going to get close to that.

“We budgeted for different circumstances, and we got them.”

The AFL has paid for more than 101,000 nights of accommodation in Queensland hotels this season in addition to more than 400,000 meals for AFL players, officials and families staying in state.

It was revealed this month that the Grand Final will inject $18 million into the Queensland economy, according to premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

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While the move has been expensive, AFL officials hope the exposure of the game on the Sunshine Coast will have a huge impact on junior numbers over the next ten years.

“The ratings in Queensland have been up 40 per cent,” McLachlan said.

“It’s been a fantastic growth year for our game.

“Junior participation club registered teams have reached a record despite COVID so we’re providing options for boys and girls and men and women and the Lions and the Suns are leading the way.

“Generally, the feedback has been fantastic and people enjoy having footy up in Queensland.

“The players are appreciative of being here and I know the supporters are as well.”