The AFL Grand Final aka 'The Granny' is one of the biggest sporting events in Australia, drawing in 100K spectators to the MCG and millions more viewing live from home, pubs and clubs both here and overseas. It's also the biggest energy consumption day of the year for arguably one of the world's greatest stadiums.

Whoever you barrack for, the last Saturday in September is subconsciously marked in the calendar long in advance. Footy mania grips the country – even when its Collingwood in the final - with desperate fans hitting up distant relatives and cold calling old colleagues (“Mate! It’s been aaaaages…”) trying to secure their Grand Final spot in Melbourne’s famous coliseum: the MCG.

But to ensure the big show goes off without a hitch, and hundreds of thousands of live spectators have an unforgettable experience, the G (as it’s colloquially known) needs a lot of power - though the nervous energy of players and fans alone is a potent force! The stadium, which is the 10th largest in the world and has the rights to the AFL Grand Final until 2057, consumes approximately 1.65M kWh of electricity during the month of September alone, which is on par with the monthly energy demand of 4,000 Victorian homes. 

The MCG uses an IoT portal called the Utility Monitoring Visualisation System (UMVS), in partnership with Schneider Electric, which is cloud hosted and enables the live tracking of electricity, water and gas consumption during events. This provides the stadium’s operations team with a holistic view of energy usage throughout the ground, helping them to proactively manage it when the pressure is on during the Grand Final. The UMVS ensures that a full capacity stadium on September 29th (which is expected to set an attendance record for the code) is kept online through periods of peak demand during the game. This includes demand from its multiple electronic screens and scoreboards (and nearly 3,000 TV screens around the stadium) and digital advertising signage, sound technology, lights and light towers, and heating (all those pies) and cooling (all that beer). 

Check out what happened during last year’s match below:
That level of power consumption creates a lot of carbon emissions so the MCG, in an Australian first, made the decision to become carbon neutral throughout the month of September, offsetting all emissions generated during its busiest annual period. In a recent media statement, Melbourne Cricket Club CEO Stuart Fox referenced that offsetting these carbon emissions was the equivalent of planting (and maintaining) 100,000 trees or removing 50,000 cars from the road for the month. They will also be offsetting the transport emissions of the nearly half a million people who will have visited the MCG precinct during September’s finals fever. 

The atmosphere is sure to be electric on Saturday, but the carbon will be neutral. 

AEMO would like to wish both Collingwood and West Coast the very best of luck on Saturday, and hope that their legions of supporters have a safe and memorable day. Find out more about innovative energy usage at a smaller scale footy oval and check out our Innovation & Tech section for all the latest developments in energy innovation.