The curious case of the Australian Football League. Steeped in history and Australian culture its offered generations an escape and a passion to indulge away from their normal lives, a vibrant, exciting and raucous game, it makes people feel something very unique. Or does it? Lately it would seem that the AFL has become a repetitive saga of rigidity and biased influence.
The lack of willingness to move the grand finale to a twilight time-slot just shows that the AFL are willing to go down with the sinking ship idea which has been a hot-button topic for almost 10 years now. Fans calls for a change in times for the show-piece event have increased in the past three to four years (Find article where the AFL was inundated with tweets regarding super bowl) as more Australian’s become interested in America’s sporting show piece, the Super-bowl.
In the event of a shift in times, the AFL could capitalize on what would already be sought-after advertising space and make the whole event that much more profitable for themselves. The shift in times could also result in changes in the ability to attract top entertainment for the event, an issue which has been of much discussion since the infamous Meatloaf appearance. The AFL has to do something about this, and soon, otherwise it’s rigidity will just make the product a predictability – which is the last thing any sporting organisation wants of their show-piece event.
In the last two or three weeks Victorian power-brokers Eddie McGuire and Brendan Gale have advocated for a new stadia scheme around the MCG. McGuire, always one to put his opinion in, has suggested that Etihad should be demolished to be replaced by a 60,000 seat stadium closer to the MCG. Looking to replicate a game-day feel similar to the Adelaide Oval. Claiming to have the idea be in the best interests of the AFL, it would seem as though it is just another way for Collingwood to get in on another piece of prime-time action. Richmond CEO Brendan Gale has also suggested his own stadium restructure, lobbying for Punt Road to be redeveloped which is seemingly at the top of the list of bad ideas.
So, the question, on the eve of the 2016 season must be posed, is it the vibrant and exciting game it once was? Or has it become a business who’s governing body has become far too comfortable in its own skin?