The AFL Awards is one of the premier nights on the AFL calendar. Held at CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park on 24 August last year, the 2022 AFL Awards played host to 400 guests, comprising AFL executives, industry professionals (players, coaches, team members and past players) and media. The event was simultaneously live broadcast on Fox Footy.
For the first time, the Coleman medal, NAB AFL Rising Star, Therabody AFL All Australian Team, AFL Coaches’ Association Best Young Player and Champion Player, and AFL Players’ Association Best First Year Player, Most Courageous Player, Best Captain and MVP, were all awarded under one roof.
What was the event brief? What were the objectives or purpose of the event?
Celebrating excellence was the name of the game at the 2022 AFL Awards. With last year marking the first in-person AFL Awards event since 2019, the event brief was to create a unique experience fitting of celebrating the season’s standouts, whilst treating players, members, AFL executives, and industry professionals to a night they would remember.
How was the event delivered and what were some of the highlights?
A standout celebration worthy of the 2022 season was on the agenda for the AFL’s night of nights, and the CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park team delivered at the precinct’s newest venue. Upon arrival, guests were treated to pre-dinner drinks in the unique multifunctional space, followed by a three-course, sit-down dinner in the Grand Hall that accompanied the awards ceremony. With the Delaware North team catering, the standout menu featured a strong Victoria-first, paddock-to-plate philosophy for which the precinct has become highly regarded. Sponsorship from Carlton United Brewery and Treasury Wines also quenched guests’ thirsts on the evening.
Amongst the night’s highlights was the custom-designed stage backdrop, which featured panels that moved to mirror the venue’s Grand Hall walls. The bespoke backdrop, designed to activate the space and facilitate the live cross, was a collaborative triumph, seeing the CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park and supplier teams (including theming by Lenzo, custom builds by Design and Deliver and Geko and rigging by Showtech Rigging) work together to bring the event to life.
What challenges were faced and how they were overcome?
Facilitating a live broadcast for any event can be a challenging undertaking. However, CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park’s unique technical capabilities proved best on ground on the evening. Not only did the CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park team put their collective expertise to work to maximise the technical capabilities of the venue, but the AV experts from Microhire and Showtech provided top-tier support and hardware (including giant LED screens and a central B-stage) that afforded a seamless broadcast and guest viewing experience.
In addition, with finals looming and the threat of COVID still very real on the event day, the venue team faced the unique challenge of ensuring active players stayed healthy and well to compete in AFL’s ultimate competition. As a precaution, several green rooms were set up to allow competing grand final athletes to attend on the night, whilst remaining distanced from the majority of guests.
How successful was the event and what was the feedback from the client and attendees?
The AFL Awards at CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park was a huge success, with glowing feedback coming from some of the 400 AFL executives, athletes and industry professionals in attendance. It was great to come together to celebrate excellence in the game and reflect on the year that was for sport.