The 2021 AFL season wrapped up with a Grand Final match that was both thrilling and unique in many ways.

The history-making clash between Western Bulldogs and Melbourne was not only the first all-Melbourne Grand Final in more than a decade, it also marked the first time the AFL Grand Final has ever been played in Western Australia.

Taking place this year at Perth’s Optus Stadium, an impressive crowd of 61,118 fans witnessed the Melbourne Demons break their long-standing premiership drought in a convincing 74-point victory.

Following 2020’s first-ever night Grand Final at Brisbane’s The Gabba, Ticketmaster is very proud to, once again, be a part of another AFL Grand Final.

Working alongside the AFL throughout the 2021 AFL Finals Series, Ticketmaster utilised its innovative suite of technologies and products to ensure event-day success at stadiums around the country.

Across the 2021 Finals Series, Brisbane’s The Gabba, Perth’s Optus Stadium, and Tasmania’s UTAS Stadium all hosted capacity crowds, culminating in the sold-out Grand Final to end the season.

The AFL utilised a host of innovative Ticketmaster technology to ensure the successful rollout of the 2021 Grand Final – from ensuring a smooth ticket buying process for fans to guaranteeing quick and easy entry on event day.

The Grand Final utilised Ticketmaster’s SmartQueue technology to help ensure fans had a transparent and stable ticket purchasing experience. After fans join the Waiting Room, SmartQueue automatically queues all sessions just prior to onsale and then ensures that consumers flow through the transaction process in numbers that allow the system to maintain stability and speed.

During the Grand Final’s General Public onsale, Ticketmaster’s online queue peaked at 180,000 fans – five times bigger than the 2020 Grand Final and the highest number for an Australian or New Zealand event this year.

The Grand Final also utilised Ticketmaster’s digital ticketing – with every fan issued with a digital ticket. This also allowed more than 40% of fans to utilise TicketForward, ensuring tickets were shared amongst fans safely and securely before the game.

Digital ticketing is just one part of Ticketmaster’s suite of technologies that have been utilised at events across 2020-21 to capture the names and details of every fan that entered Optus Stadium to meet COVID safe regulations.

Here’s a behind the scenes look with Ticketmaster on game day:

“The interest for the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final in Perth was unprecedented. The fans in WA whole heartedly welcomed the AFL and welcomed the event.” Kylie Rogers, AFL Executive General Manager Customer and Commercial, said.

“The demand for tickets was extraordinary and our partnership with both Ticketmaster and the stadium allowed us to deliver the best possible experience for fans attending a very successful 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final event.”

“We always knew WA was a footy state and that the game would sell out but for it to do so in as little as nine minutes was incredible. The Ticketmaster platform made the process seamless,” Mike McKenna, Optus Stadium CEO said. 

Gavin Taylor, Managing Director of Ticketmaster Australia said: “We were proud to partner with the AFL and Optus Stadium to deliver a successful AFL Grand Final. Our ticketing technology and dedicated team allowed us to effectively manage the huge demand and to ensure it was a smooth process for those lucky enough to purchase tickets, right through to entry on the day. What a great celebration for the AFL Grand Final with over 61,000 attending Perth’s Optus Stadium for a world class, unforgettable event and one we are very proud to be part of.”

Capping off another successful year in Ticketmaster’s ongoing 15-year relationship with the AFL, Ticketmaster Australia has also announced that it has renewed its long-term partnership with the iconic Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. The relationship, which will ultimately span over 30 years, has helped to deliver best-in-class technology to the world-renowned stadium and every visiting fan.