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Australian Grand Finals welcome almost 70,000 fans

Almost 70,000 people attended Australia’s two biggest sporting events of the year over the weekend.

Some 29,707 people attended the AFL Grand Final Aussie rules showpiece on Saturday at The Gabba in Brisbane. Meanwhile, more than 37,300 fans were in attendance at the 2020 National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Final at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.

The AFL final at the 42,000-capacity stadium, in which Richmond beat Geelong by a margin of 31 points, was capped at 30,000 due to Covid-19 limits. The restrictions meant it was the lowest crowd to attend a Grand Final since 1917, during World War I.

The match in Queensland was originally scheduled for the last Saturday of September, but was delayed several weeks due to the suspension of the season stemming from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was the first AFL grand final to be staged outside the state of Victoria, and the first to be held at night.

Last week, all tickets that were put on general sale for the Grand Final were snapped up within 20 minutes, marking the first time in more than 20 years that passes for the event have gone on sale to the general public.

The NRL final was contested between the Penrith Panthers and the Melbourne Storm, with the Panthers making a late comeback to win 26-20, claiming their 4th Premiership title.

The event at the 82,500-capacity venue was limited for fans due to an enforced limit to stadium capacity by the NSW government as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.

Earlier this month, thousands of NRL fans were stuck outside Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane after a mobile ticketing failure by Ticketek, leading to concerns over an unsafe COVID-19 environment.

The malfunction left staff at the preliminary final between Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders unable to scan tickets and briefly delayed kick off.

 Image: Your Next Kid / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Edited for size