The GWS Giants' $23m, decade-long deal to play in Canberra has been extended by 12 months to offset the effect of last year's COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented football from being played in the capital.
And discussions between the club and the ACT Government about another long-term deal to guarantee more AFL matches at Manuka Oval have resumed, with GWS keen to retain its presence in Canberra.
A 10-year deal, secured in 2010 to coincide with the Giants' first AFL season in 2012, was due to expire at the end of this year.
But last year's COVID-19 pandemic meant the four annual matches contracted to be played in Canberra were unable to be fulfilled. The contract will now expire in 2022. Canberrans can expect five Giants matches this season - three premiership games, a preseason fixture and an AFL Women's clash.
"The Giants' long-standing partnership with the ACT continues to deliver significant growth across every aspect, from the community to the elite level of the game," a Giants spokesperson said.
"The club is both proud of what has been achieved in the nation's capital over the past decade and is excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.
"The Giants were bitterly disappointed our ACT members and fans were unable to attend home games in Canberra last year due to COVID. Despite this, the Giants have worked closely with the ACT Government to ensure the current agreement would roll over to 2022.
"A complete return of home games to Canberra in 2021 has been a key priority for the Giants and the ACT Government and pleasingly we are now on the verge of achieving this with one AFLW game, one AFL pre-season game and a three AFL Premiership games set down for the coming months.
"The Giants are committed to further increasing our presence in the ACT community and will continue to work with Government on extending the current partnership beyond 2022."
Since signing the deal to bring GWS to Canberra, Manuka Oval has received several upgrades including the installation of lights at the venue. This summer the ground hosted 15 elite cricket matches, and proved the cornerstone of the Big Bash League.
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Chief Minister Andrew Barr is keen to secure another long-term deal with the Giants, a decade on from the contract he helped secure back in 2010.
"The ACT Government's support of the GWS Giants, and other local elite teams, recognises the important contribution these teams make to the ACT community," Mr Barr said.
"The team now has a loyal Canberra supporter base and their presence has helped to grow participation in the sport.
"We will be seeking a wide variety of away teams playing against the Giants."
Meanwhile, Canberra man Peter Taylor was made a life member of the Giants at Tuesday's annual general meeting.
Taylor joins fellow director Christine Cawsey in receiving the honour. The pair have both stepped down from the board after serving for a maximum nine years.