North Melbourne has extended its long-term partnership with Spirit of Tasmania, with the club’s platinum partner signing an extension for 2022.
The new deal means the club will play four AFL games in Hobart next year, continuing a relationship that has already spanned 10 seasons.
North Melbourne Chief Executive Officer Ben Amarfio said the club was excited to return to the state in 2022 and continue to bring football to its Tasmanian fans.
“We were thrilled to see crowds back at our games at Blundstone Arena this year. We had 6,696 members in Tassie this year, and with an exciting, emerging playing group coming through under David Noble, we know our members and the broader Tasmanian public will turn out in force again next season,” Amarfio said.
“We’re also really confident that our Melbourne-based fans will relish the opportunity to not just watch games at Marvel Stadium in 2022, but also be able to head down on Spirit of Tasmania and see our AFL team in action in Hobart.”
North’s AFL side boasts a strong winning record at Blundstone Arena, having won 17 of its 26 matches at the venue since 2012.
The Roos won their first game of 2021 in Launceston in Round 9, with a come-from-behind victory over Hawthorn. The team also scored a win over Gold Coast at Blundstone Arena in Round 15 and drew with eventual finalist Greater Western Sydney two weeks earlier.
The wins also came off the field, with a sell-out crowd for the match against Geelong at Blundstone Arena in Round 20.
“We’ve really been able to make it a bit of a home away from home in Tasmania over the past 10 seasons and I know the players love not just playing there, but also getting out in the community, visiting schools and holding footy clinics. Most of our community contact has been via online during Covid, but we are really looking forward to getting back into the community next season,” Amarfio said.
“The strength of our relationship with Tasmania was underlined by the Government’s decision to pave the way for us to play a fifth home game in front of our fans in Hobart when crowds weren’t an option in Melbourne.
“The club is very thankful for that support and to Spirit of Tasmania, as our platinum partner, in helping us continue our great relationship with the people and community in Tasmania.”
With Tasmania set to receive more certainty on the timeline for its own team early next year, Amarfio said the Roos’ return to the state was a “win-win” for all involved.
“We’re delighted that we’re able to bring football to Tasmania again in 2022, knowing that at the same time the community will have more clarity about the potential for their own team.”
Spirit of Tasmania Chief Executive Officer Bernard Dwyer, said he was delighted to be able to extend the relationship between the company and the North Melbourne Kangaroos.
“The arrangement has delivered significant brand recognition for Spirit of Tasmania into key markets interstate, particularly Victoria,” Dwyer said.
“This was an important commercial consideration for the company in its deliberations. Supporting AFL games in Tasmania also positively impacts the broader Tasmanian economy.
“Previous AFL games played in Tasmania have been very popular and have been well supported by locals.
“We are hopeful that they will also be able to be supported by interstate visitors, in particular Victorians, when our borders eventually open. Our tourism partners in the hotel and restaurant businesses are the major beneficiaries in this space.”