The Brisbane Lions have started the 2022 season well.
Heading into tonight’s Easter clash at the Gabba against the Magpies boasting a 3-1 record, and second spot on the ladder, the Lions have every right to expect the fans to turn out in droves.
Alas, it is the rivalry between the two teams, plus the sheer volume of advertising and marketing that goes into the clash that makes it a must.
Tickets for tonight’s game were sold out last weekend, with the extra seating released this week disappearing in a matter of minutes too.
However, there are still some tickets available, starting from $34.20.
The Lions are set to pocket over $1 million for 120 minutes of football.
“It’s hard to put a monetary figure on it, but it’s a big night for our corporate partners and sponsors, and there’s a lot of eyeballs on the game,” Lions CEO Greg Swann said.
The first Easter Thursday game between the two sides was played on April 17, 2003, in front of a sell-out crowd of 36,803.
It was also televised to a national audience of 1.3 million, with the Lions winning by 14 points.
The match was watched by nearly 350,000 Queenslanders, beating the Brisbane Broncos’ figures at Suncorp Stadium for the first time in a rugby-league mad state.
Brisbane would then go on to defeat the black-and-white stripes in the Grand Final for a second successive time that September, as part of a famous three-peat of premierships.
And so, a tradition was born, until COVID came along.
“We’ve got the gate takings and corporately we sell everything,” Swann said.
“Probably all up it’s a million-dollar result for us, it’s easily our biggest night of the season by a long, long way.
“Last year we had to stay in Melbourne [for the Collingwood game] so we missed it, and 2020 didn’t happen at all.
“You budget for it this year with your fingers crossed and it’s happened for us.”
The match starts at 7.35pm at the Gabba, with former Lions triple premiership player Craig McRae coaching Collingwood after taking the reins during the off-season.