New Years and AFL give Docklands an economic shot in the arm

New Years and AFL give Docklands an economic shot in the arm
Sean Car

The City of Melbourne’s latest economic snapshot has revealed that New Year’s Eve and AFL games at Marvel Stadium continue to provide the greatest stimulus to Docklands businesses.

According to the council’s economic data released in February, Docklands recorded its busiest and biggest ever New Year’s Eve in 2023, with spending across local dining, retail and entertainment sectors enjoying a record December.

“Visitors to Docklands headed to the waterfront suburb in droves around the festive end-of-year period,” the report stated.


While Docklands continues its road to recovery, spending was higher in December 2023 than in previous years and pedestrian activity in the precinct was at its highest since records began in 2018.


“New Year’s Eve saw around 40 per cent more activity than 2019, showing that Docklands’ blockbuster events program continues to draw crowds.”

The report also revealed that AFL fans lift spending in Dockland by up to 30 per cent on game days, with dining venues and bars and clubs enjoying much of the benefit, with 60 and 50 per cent increases in revenue, respectively.

It also showed that AFL game attendance at Marvel Stadium increased on pre-COVID numbers in 2019 in a welcome boost to the precinct, which is expected to rise in 2024 thanks to the recent completion of the stadium’s city edge redevelopment.

Acting Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said that in addition to other recent major events in the city, including the Australian Open and pop superstar Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, events had driven up night-time activity and spending right across the city.

“AFL season is just around the corner, and our latest Melbourne Economy Snapshot shows we can expect matches to boost business right across the city,” Cr Reece said.

“Last year, game days in Docklands resulted in a 30 per cent increase in spending, while attendance continues to grow year-on-year.” 

“With the AFL season starting, soon it will be like a Taylor Swift concert every weekend, delivering major uplift for Melbourne traders.” 

 “The Snapshot also reveals Docklands waterfront was the place to be over New Year’s – with its biggest crowd and highest spend on record.” •   


Photo by Linda Xu. 

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