The day after Andrew Dillon was announced as the next league CEO, all 18 club presidents voted to approve the 19th AFL license for Tasmania. The Tasmanian government recently authorized funding for a new stadium in Hobart. With that in place, the focus can be on all the logistics of setting up the team. Tasmania has been pushing for a license for years. Hawthorn and the Kangaroos have played "home" games in Tasmania for many years and it has proved moderately successful with some ups and downs over the years.
The AFL has committed $360 million over a decade towards a team, including $90 million in game development and $33 million for player talent academies. Tasmania will contribute $12 million per year over 12 years towards a team, plus $60 million for a high-performance athletic center. They will also put in $375 million toward a new $715 million, 23,000-seat roofed stadium in Hobart. The Australian federal government is contributing $240 million and the AFL $15 million. It will be used for events other than football matches, or at least that's the current selling point. The AFL contribution comes on top of on-going financial obligations to the last expansion clubs (GWS and Gold Coast) and financial losses by a significant number of clubs and during the pandemic, the league itself.
Tasmania has long been a fertile recruiting area. Tasmanians who became AFL stars include four AFL Hall of Fame legends: Darrel Baldock (St Kilda), Peter Hudson (Hawthorn), Ian Stewart (St Kilda) and Royce Hart (Richmond), as well as more recent stars including Matthew Richardson (Richmond), Jack Riewoldt (Richmond), Brendan Gale (Richmond, Mitch Robinson (Carlton and Brisbane), Brisbane premiership player Alastair Lynch and current Saint Jimmy Webster.
There has been no shortage of name suggestions for the team. The most popular is the Tasmanian Devils but the league would have to negotiate the naming rights with Warner Brothers studios, which own the global trademarks to the cartoon character. While the animal itself is indigenous to the island, Warner Brothers has owned the trademarks for decades. Other suggestions include the Tassie Mariners, which was the name of the now defunct TAC Cup juniors team.
Article last changed on Monday, September 25, 2023 - 10:32 AM EDT