NORTH Melbourne has opened negotiations to extend its commitment to play in Hobart for a further five years, a proposed deal that would tie the club to Tasmania until the end of 2021.
North's previous two Hobart contracts have been for three and two years respectively, but the Roos are now seeking the security of a longer deal.
The Roos' push follows Hawthorn's announcement last week that it had signed a new five-year agreement with the Tasmanian Government to continue playing in Launceston until the end of 2021.
North chief executive Carl Dilena told AFL.com.au on Tuesday that the club, whose existing Hobart deal expires at the end of 2016, hoped to sign a five-year extension in a few months.
"I think from the start both Hawthorn and ourselves were looking at five-year renewals. That had been standard for Hawthorn, that was just part of their contract, and we're looking to do a similar sort of thing," Dilena said.
"We've been in preliminary discussions and I think they will ramp up over the next few months now that they've got the Hawthorn deal out of the way."
Dilena said North would seek to continue playing three games a season in Hobart under a new agreement.
North first played in Hobart in 2012 as part of an initial three-year deal that saw it play two games a season in the Apple Isle's capital.
The Roos recommitted to Hobart in August last year, signing a two-year contract with the Hobart City Council and the state-owned TT-Line that was due to expire at the same time as Hawthorn's existing deal in Launceston.
It had been speculated that when both deals expired at the end of 2016, the AFL could decide to fixture just one team to play in Tasmania.
Such speculation followed AFL Tasmania chief executive Scott Wade's comments in June 2013 that the ideal model was for one AFL club to play eight matches in Tasmania, splitting those games equally between Hobart and Launceston's Aurora Stadium.
In April last year, then deputy AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan endorsed Wade's push for one team in Tasmania.
"We have an ideal model which is a single team representing Tasmania. Who that is and what format that takes is a complex question," McLachlan said.
The AFL was unavailable for comment on how Hawthorn's new deal had affected its plans in Tasmania.
Hobart has embraced North Melbourne games happily. Picture: AFL Media