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Case Study
Commercial Strategy
Partnership Management
Strategic Planning

AFL Northern Territory The Unconventional Model


Our sports strategy experts developed a comprehensive study to explore the feasibility of creating an AFL-based team in the NT.

Our sports strategy experts developed a comprehensive study to explore the feasibility of creating an AFL-based team in the NT.

The Brief 

Our brief was to investigate the feasibility of creating an AFL team based in the Northern Territory (NT) and simultaneously provide opportunities to advance the game and the Territory community.

Our Approach 

To investigate the possibility of creating an AFL team in the NT, Bastion reviewed the operational and financial models of all current AFL teams, with a particular focus on the lower revenue teams to identify the minimum standard; a suitable benchmark as it demonstrates the base revenue streams a team must acquire to be sustainable.

Bastion Experience’s research into the context of the NT, AFL in the NT and the learnings from the stakeholder interviews identified some unique considerations for the potential of creating an AFL team via a traditional model; notably population, geography, stadium, Government policy, funding and talent.

The report was completed over a long period in 2019 and involved multiple trips to the Northern Territory for the Bastion Experience team.

Key Results 

We’ve been able to deliver a report that has identified that there is the potential of an AFL team based out of the NT, and that it can positively affect social and community change immensely and is worthy of further exploration.

Based on our analysis, The Territory’s most viable strategy for achieving an AFL team is via an unconventional model, which emphasises social impact as the core. Prioritising social impact would be unprecedented in Australian sport, and possibly in global professional sport.

The research behind our work demonstrates that the Northern Territory community has a unique affection for Australian football, highlighted by the Territory having the highest per capita participation rate for Australian football of any state / territory. The game is also instrumental in addressing some of the Territory’s greatest social challenges.

Our report recommends that targeting an AFL team in the Territory is a positive aspiration that will further inspire and enable AFLNT to progress football in the Territory. The report also enables AFLNT to understand what steps need to be taken towards obtaining an AFLW license, should one become available, either in conjunction with or separate to an AFL team.

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