The Giants have issued a call to arms for Canberra to get behind the rise of women's footy as they finalise a new partnership to have more AFL and AFLW games than ever played at Manuka Oval.
Unlike the last 10-year, $23 million agreement that has since expired, women's Giants games are now expected to be formally added to the next long-term deal.
At the budget estimates on Wednesday, ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism and Special Events Andrew Barr said negotiations are still ongoing between GWS, the ACT government and the AFL, but they were "in large part in principle agreement" with just "the final stages to resolve".
Barr confirmed they are seeking "increased content" at Manuka Oval going forward.
"There will be two streams," Barr explained.
"A match component that relates to more content at Manuka Oval and we have been pursuing a tourism promotion and brand Canberra arrangement with the AFL and the Giants as they operate in two key markets - Sydney and Melbourne."
A lot has changed in 10 years. Back then the AFLW didn't even exist.
But GWS have been at the heart of the AFLW's growth, having been there from the start in 2017, and the women's game has exploded in popularity since.
AFLW TV viewership, attendance figures and memberships are all up, and in its seventh season the competition features all 18 teams for the very first time, signalling an exciting new era.
The addition of the rapidly-growing women's game to a new GWS-ACT deal has serious dollar value too.
At the budget estimates it was revealed that the two Giants AFL games played at Manuka Oval in 2021 delivered an estimated $1.47 million.
Barr clarified that the figure was modest due to the impact of the pandemic, and suggested that the future economic benefit of AFL and AFLW games in Canberra would be even greater.
"Because of COVID there was very little interstate travel," he said. "In other years the economic contribution is higher."
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Barr also said that an evaluation of the Giants' economic tourism value showed that "AFL fans travel more".
"There's Sydney-based Giants fans who travel to Canberra to watch games and then the opposing team also travel to Canberra," he argued.
"The consistent pattern is that AFL and cricket generate more tourism than Raiders and Brumbies as a proportion of total attendance, and I think overall as well."
Securing another long-term agreement between the Giants and the ACT is something that AFLW players are enthusiastic about too.
Irish Giants forward Cora Staunton said it's "very important" for GWS and the Canberra footy community that the capital continues to host games.
"We've had some amazing wins in Canberra," she said ahead of their game at Manuka Oval against the Brisbane Lions on Sunday afternoon.
"It's the best oval I've played on in Australia.
"The fans are really good and they get around us. We've had massive support there and we have a lot of Canberran Giants that like to go home and play there too."
With the pandemic throwing the last few seasons into chaos, Staunton said the team always enjoyed going to Manuka Oval, and it's a venue they've tried to make "a fortress".
"We've moved around a bit last year being at Henson Park and Blacktown," she said. "We don't have a stable home ground there but in Canberra, it's always there in Manuka.
"I really enjoyed playing there and we're hoping that this weekend will be another good memory that we can create."
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