Mount Barker v Barossa as AFL Gather Round dates for 2025 announced

The AFL won’t yet confirm whether Mount Barker will lose out to the Barossa Valley when the Gather Round returns to South Australia next year.

Jul 02, 2024, updated Jul 02, 2024
Gather Round at Norwood Oval in 2024. Photo: Michael Errey/AAP

Gather Round at Norwood Oval in 2024. Photo: Michael Errey/AAP

The third edition of Gather Round will be held from Thursday, April 10 to Sunday, April 13, the AFL and state government revealed today.

The 2025 event will align with the first weekend of school holidays in South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia and the middle weekend of school holidays in Victoria and Queensland. It is also the weekend before Easter.

The fixtures for next year’s event – set to feature an inaugural AFL game in the Barossa Valley – will be made public later this year.

Barossa Valley Barossa Valley sports

Lyndoch Recreation Park in the Barossa Valley is undergoing a $40 million renovation to prepare it for Gather Round 2025. Image: supplied

AFL CEO Andrew Dillon said the AFL fixture would be announced in November and the Gather Round fixture revealed earlier than that.

“Our job now is to ensure that 2025 Gather Round becomes the best yet, something that our team at the AFL is working on with the South Australian government,” he said today.

Dillon indicated that Adelaide Oval would again be the centrepiece of the Gather Round weekend and likely host five to six games, including a doubleheader.

It remains unclear, however, whether Mount Barker will lose its AFL game to the Barossa Valley.

Asked about Mount Barker’s future on the Gather Round calendar, Dillon said: “I’m not ruling anything in or out, but if you look and think there’ll be five or six games at Adelaide Oval like we’ve had previously… if we went to two games in the Barossa it’d be unlikely to be in Mount Barker.”

Mount Barker Gather Round

Mount Barker played host to the Gold Coast Suns and GWS Giants at Gather Round 2024. Photo: Matt Turner/AAP

“But what we’re looking at is bringing other content across so it may be that Mount Barker is used for other football content.”

Dillon said this could include talent league, state representative or AFLW games being hosted at Mount Barker’s Summit Sports and Recreation Park.

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Norwood Oval, meanwhile, would “certainly be in the mix” for next year’s event, Dillon said.

The state government has a commercial in confidence contract with the AFL to host Gather Round until 2026.

Asked whether the event would stay in South Australia beyond 2026, Dillon said: “That’ll be discussions we take up with the Premier at the right time.”

Premier Peter Malinauskas today questioned whether the event would work in other parts of Australia.

“I don’t mind saying that I think one of the reasons why Gather Round has worked isn’t just because the state government has made a contribution but because the whole state has invested their effort in it,” he said.

“I think one of the challenges with an alternate venue outside of South Australia is whether or not you get an all-in approach from the community writ large.

“I don’t see how that could be replicated in many other places around the country.

“But we’re also alive to the fact that this is going to be competitive.

“We know other state governments do want Gather Round, so we have to earn it.”

This year’s Gather Round contributed $91.6 million to South Australia’s economy, according to market research from IER released by the AFL today.

The 2024 event’s contribution was an $8.1 million improvement on 2023.

The number of visitors to South Australia for the event also increased to 45,847 from 41,262 and visitor nights to 191,696 from 151,487.

Topics: AFL
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