Not A Bright Idea: Fans Furious About Proposed Twilight AFL Grand Final
We'll know on Thursday whether the AFL moves the Grand Final from its traditional 2:30 pm bounce to a twilight start.
The twilight decider could come into play as soon as this year’s Grand Final between the Gold Coast Suns and St Kilda -- a match-up which is totally NOT going to happen, unlike the new timeslot which totally looks like it WILL.
There’s no secret why the AFL is pushing for this.
A twilight start would mean that the halftime show falls right into prime time, so whichever TV network has the rights will be able to take the traditional pre-game show and expand it into a Super Bowl-style half-time extravaganza of Meatloaf butchering its own songs.
Meatloaf might do anything for LOVE, but the AFL will definitely do anything for prime time advertising MONEY.
And this is so wrong.
The AFL made $50 million profit last year. That money is supposed to be ploughed back into the game’s grassroots. Yet just this week, I read about a struggling Queensland football club which can’t even afford to buy its own Sherrins.
A football code awash with cash should definitely look after the game’s grass roots, but it should also, as a number one priority, look after its fans. That’s why professional sporting leagues exist -- for the fans.
Fans want the daytime grand final left as it is -- and not just because a huge percentage of us are shocking drunks who’ll be passed out by 5:30 pm.
Poll after poll after poll shows that fans don’t want the timeslot changed. AFL Fans Association president Gerry Eeman came out this week and said: "Why do something your largest stakeholder clearly doesn’t want? It’s not a line-ball decision, it’s a clear majority".
The fact is, fans love the feel of the daytime Granny.
It’s like footy of old, which always used to be played on a Saturday afternoon.
It’s the vibe of the thing. The aesthetic of it. The lengthening shadows over the MCG as the presentations take place and players jog the victory lap -- or at least walk the lap, stopping for a hundred selfies on the way.
The Grand Final has always ended in twilight, not started in it. And when you think about it, there’s a beautiful symbolism about the sun going down on the season. Heartbreak for some, joy for others.
To resort to a cliché, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And this thing really ain’t broke.
Last year’s Grand Final was an absolute cracker. On paper, the match-up of Collingwood vs West Coast Eagles was like a battle between the devil and Darth Vader. But it didn’t matter. It was an amazing game, sealed by a brilliant if highly controversial goal by Dom Sheed.
Seriously, how that was not a free kick for a blatant block is beyond me.
But I digress. The point here is that nothing is wrong with the afternoon Grand Final, and no less a figure than Hawthorn Club President and former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett said exactly that on the weekend.
Kennett as ever, shot from the hip, saying that the people who run the AFL were so appalling, they should’ve been put up before the chair of the banking royal Commission.
I couldn’t agree more. But say this in defence of the banks: At least they tried to hide the fact they were ripping off their own customers.
The AFL isn’t even pretending. It just doesn’t care.