Northern Territory Unveils Ambitious Plan to Become AFL’s 20th Team

May 10, 2024 10:03 am in by

The Northern Territory is gearing up for a shot at securing its own slice of AFL action, with a bold $735 million stadium plan unveiled in Darwin. This move signals the NT’s bid to become the home of the AFL’s 20th team, promising substantial economic benefits for the region.

In a strategic move, NT authorities released a comprehensive business case outlining the potential for a new stadium in Darwin’s CBD, estimated to be ready within the next seven to 10 years. This ambitious project, costing between $700-$735 million, aims to pave the way for the NT team’s entry into the league, following in the footsteps of the Tasmania Devils set to debut in 2028.

Key features of the plan include significant upgrades to Traeger Park in Alice Springs and TIO Stadium in Darwin, totaling $240 million. AFLNT chairman Sean Bowden emphasized the potential for this expansion to transform the AFL into a truly national competition.

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Images of theoretical proposed AFL Stadium in Darwin. (Credit: News Corp Australia)

While the proposal boasts major economic gains, challenges lie ahead. The business case acknowledges a funding gap of $18.89 million per year, necessitating additional support from the AFL and government bodies to ensure the team’s viability.

Despite hurdles, the idea of an NT team has garnered widespread support, championing Indigenous representation and adding a unique flavor to the league. However, competition remains stiff, with other regions vying for AFL expansion.

As the NT boldly steps onto the AFL stage, the journey towards securing the 20th club promises to be both thrilling and challenging, with the potential to reshape the landscape of Australian rules football.