The Melbourne Football Club is pleased to announce The Welcome Game will be bigger and better in 2019, set to be held at the MCG for the Club’s Round 1 clash with Port Adelaide. 

The Welcome Game is an inclusive event that promotes a message of welcoming everyone to Australian Rules football, the MCG and the Melbourne Football Club.

It is an initiative created by Melbourne which encourages new fans to embrace the sport and enjoy a range of fun cultural activities on the day.

While this is the third instalment of The Welcome Game, the Melbourne Football Club will be going to great depths to take this year’s event to another level.

With the game being held in Round 1, new fans will have an opportunity to grow an attachment with the Club over the course of the season, and Melbourne Football Club CEO Gary Pert says this is an opportunity to strengthen the Club’s connection with the supporter base.

“We’re really excited to be welcoming not only new fans, but everyone to the MCG this Saturday as we kick off our season,” Pert said.

The Welcome Game is not just an opportunity for new fans to feel a part of Melbourne, but it allows current members to get involved through the ‘Melbourne Scarf Drive’.

Members are encouraged to donate their old membership scarves and play a key role in welcoming this new audience to the club.

“Our members and supporters have been fantastic in backing our fan growth ambitions and welcoming new people to our game,” Pert said.

“They donated thousands of scarves via our scarf drive initiative at last year’s game which was fantastic to see, so hopefully we get the same support on Saturday.”

The Welcome Game attracted thousands of new fans to their first game of football in 2017 and 2018 (Photo: Scott Barbour)

In 2019, the Club is proud to continue its partnership with the Victorian Multicultural Commission and for the first time, host the event during Cultural Diversity Week.

The week leading into Round 1 is Cultural Diversity Week, which Pert says makes for a fitting time to host The Welcome Game and encourage a diverse group of people to experience the sport.

“The Welcome Game allows us to not only celebrate Melbourne’s diversity and inclusiveness but allow new audiences to experience what is great about our game and our Club,” Pert said.

“Through our ongoing partnership with the Victorian Multicultural Commission, we are thrilled to host The Welcome Game during Cultural Diversity Week, Victoria’s largest annual multicultural celebration.”

Over the first two years, The Welcome Game has been an overwhelming success with almost 13,000 people attending the footy for the first time as a direct result of the event.

And it’s only expected to grow this season, as the Melbourne Football Club, in conjunction with the MCC, has made up to 20,000 tickets available to various schools, organisations and multicultural communities.

Melbourne Cricket Club CEO Stuart Fox is proud to be a part of such a great day.

“We’re delighted to again be involved with The Welcome Game and give an opportunity for new fans to experience the thrill of coming to the MCG for the first time,” Fox said.

“Our award-winning staff will be on hand to greet fans on Saturday with everything from a friendly hello, to a gold coin-donation sausage sizzle in Yarra Park.”

With new multicultural people settling into the city, the Melbourne Football Club decided it was important to encourage these people to experience Australian Rules football and help them enjoy what the sport has to offer.

The Club has recognised The Welcome Game as a key pillar for fan growth and will be looking to provide a unique experience for all attendees.

The Melbourne Football Club and the Melbourne Cricket Ground are both synonymous with the City of Melbourne, providing an opportunity for the Club to capture the attention of new citizens in the area.

Australian football is a sport for everyone and the Melbourne Football Club, the AFL and the MCC welcomes and celebrates diversity.