“Melbourne is expecting a tourism windfall at the weekend,” according to UNSW Business School’s Tim Harcourt. “The West Coast Eagles have won through to the AFL Grand Final. Thousands of their supporters will be flooding into Victoria this weekend, and spending money there. It’ll be a major boost to the state’s economy.”

Tim Harcourt is the JW Nevile Fellow of Economics UNSW Business School. He says “The AFL Grand Final it is as nothing to the economic impact that could have taken place, if it was an all-West Australian event. That would have made travel agents and hotel salivate.”

He says the AFL is a money spinner for all concerned - and great for tourism too. “Even last weekend’s finals generated a huge amount of cash, with Freemantle vs Hawthorn generating about $24 million for the state thanks to inter-state visitors. It gave a huge boost to WA - and a welcome fillip to Virgin and Qantas. ”

He says that although it didn’t eventuate, a historic derby between Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles this side of the Nullabor would have been a windfall for Victorian and Australian tourism, “with extra flights needed and keen Perth footy goers flying any way they could have to get to Melbourne, via Sydney, Brisbane and even sometimes Singapore and Bali.”

This was the experience of when Fremantle played Hawthorn in the 2013 AFL Grand Final. Now with West Coast Eagles versus Hawthorn we’ll instead have plenty of eastward traffic.

He adds that with the other code, the NRL, there is the perfect storm with North Queensland Cowboys and the Brisbane Bronchos coming to Sydney in an all Queensland NRL Grand Final. “It’s not the Melbourne Storm, but 20,000 extra interstate visitors are expected to come to Sydney from over the Tweed, with an estimated economic impact of $17 million into the NSW economy, and the total event turnover is around $30 million including flights.”

After the AFL and NRL Grand Finals are over, he says fans will put on their club scarves for the A league soccer season or travel to the UK for the Rugby World Cup. “For Australian followers of 4 codes of football, too much sport is never enough - and that’s even before we talk cricket and the spring racing carnival. The economic impact of sport should never be underestimated, and it’s one of those feel-good economic events that regardless of the outcome, keeps many Australian businesses booming.”

For further comment call Tim Harcourt on 02 9385 3816, 0408 485 479,

Tim will be in Melbourne on Friday and available for Melbourne media in the studio.

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