BYRON Bay is best known for its surf and music festivals, but a new deal with the Australian Football League will see the beachside town turn footy-mad in October when a three-day Aussie Rules tournament is introduced.
The AFL 9s Byron Bay Invitational will be held at the Byron Regional Sports and Cultural Complex on October 11 and 12 featuring 32 teams of 12 to 15 players (16 men's, eight mixed and eight women's).
The sports fields would take on a "festival feel", with onsite artisan markets featuring local sellers, music and food.
The tournmanet was announced on Tuesday at Belongil Beach by Sydney Swans dual premiership player and AFL 9s ambassador Jude Bolton, who said the social version of Australian football was growing in popularity.
"AFL's 9s is a social game and we wanted to create a tournament that highlights that aspect," Bolton said.
"Not only is Byron Bay one of the most beautiful places in Australia, it's renowned for its laid-back vibe which makes it the perfect backdrop for the event."
The laid-back tournament also has the potential to boost the local economy by $1 million and capitalise on the under-utilised sports complex as a venue said VIA Byron presiden t Cameron Arnold.
"We will be encouraging businesses to dress up their shops and make the visiting teams and their families feel welcome," he said.
"This is the right sort of tourist market for Byron Bay: families."
Byron Shire councillor Basil Cameron congratulated the AFL for investing in the town's sports complex and encouraging young players.
Registration cost is $60 per person with minimum of 12 players and a maximum of 15 players per team. Visit byron9s.com.au for more information and to register.