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Sporting fans and Melbourne the winners with F1 and AFL on same weekend

Melbourne will continue its reputation as the sporting capital of the world with the city set to host the ultimate sporting weekend when Formula One and AFL both come to town in March, 2014.

In an exciting announcement for sporting fans, the weekend will deliver a sporting feast for fans that gives everyone the opportunity to watch live the 2014 Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix and not miss a minute of any Victorian AFL match.

It will be a big week for Melbourne with the Formula One action heating up the street circuit from Thursday March 13 – Sunday March 16.

The AFL has confirmed that Etihad will host a match on Friday March 14 between Fremantle and Collingwood that will commence after all of the on-track action at Albert Park has concluded for the day. So, WA residents will be able support Perth born Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo as he embarks on his first World Championship season with Red Bull Racing during the day and enjoy the Fremantle game Friday night.

The second and final AFL match that Melbourne will host on the same weekend as the Australian Grand Prix will take place at 7.40pm on Sunday evening at Etihad between Carlton and Port Adelaide. The AFL has scheduled a later start to ensure that the first bounce occurs after the chequered flag has waived at Albert Park.

CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, Andrew Westacott, commended the AFL for the collaborative approach of both organisations to ensure that sporting fans are the real winners.

“The 2014 Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix will take place at 5.00pm and our afternoon time slot works perfectly for attendees and TV viewers to ensure no-one misses a minute of the Formula One and AFL action,” said Westacott.

“Last year’s event had the largest estimated attendance since 2005 with 323,200 people reveling in the Formula One action. We anticipate with interstate AFL fans travelling to Melbourne to watch their teams play we will see an increase in first time attendees at the 2014 Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix.”

Tourism Accommodation Australia is predicting bumper demand for accommodation between 13 – 16 March as a result of the Australian Grand Prix.

General Manager of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), Darryl Washington, expects it to be a peak period and hotels to be in high demand with some hotel rooms in short supply.

“Traditionally, the Australian Grand Prix drives very high hotel accommodation occupancy in Melbourne and with the addition of interstate AFL teams coming into town at the same time, the flow on effect could be significant,” said Washington.

Washington continued on to say, “TAA encourages anyone planning on travelling to Melbourne for the 2014 Australian Grand Prix or the opening round of the AFL season to book as soon as possible to ensure they get their preferred hotel of choice and the best possible rate.”

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) and Victoria Events Industry Council (VEIC) is thrilled that Melbourne and sporting fans will be the big beneficiaries of the announcement.

Chief Executive, Dianne Smith, commended both the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and the AFL for looking at the bigger picture and working together to avoid timing clashes.

“Melbourne will be booming in March with residents and visitors set to have a plethora of choice when it comes to live sporting options. It really will be the ultimate sporting entertainment festival from the 13 – 16 March.”

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