AFL is on the decline - the younger generation is just not that into you

Discussion in 'AFL - The Australian Football League' started by blaisee, May 30, 2018.

Put it out there
  1. blaisee

    blaisee Norm Smith Medallist

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    I was born in the 70s and I lived for footy.

    I played as often as I could, and I listened to games on the radio, watched highlights and was generally engaged with my club, obsessed even. I was in the majority as well, most kids my age, most people I knew, even older where the same.

    Nowadays, with kids, even adults under say 25, that level of commitment and engagement is the exception, not the rule.

    Most people take it or leave it as far as the AFL goes, some have a passing interest, I would put it to you that most people do not really care.

    I feel like the glory days of the AFL are over. Crowds when you compare apples with apples over time will decline, and ratings will continue to go down as well. This is especially true with these two things when you adjust for population growth.

    The AFL is in trouble, maybe not now, but in the future this comp will be battling, and the reason is that rusted on supporters are a dying breed. Plastic corporates like Gil running the show do not help either just quietly.
     

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  2. Luv_our_club

    Luv_our_club Club Legend

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    The biggest lie from the AFL is that attendance numbers are increasing. While the AFL keep believing/selling this story it covers up any problem.
     
  3. LicoriceAllsorts

    LicoriceAllsorts Hall of Famer

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    As a part of this group, the game isn't what it used to be
     
  4. HPKS

    HPKS All Australian

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    Is it that surprising. I’m one of those older ones that has walked away from the top level.

    Absolutely love my local footy now but have to keep an eye on what goes on in the AFL as it effects the lower leagues.

    As for the younger generation, just like how they see politicians, they see through all the manipulation, lies & not looking toward the future.

    And just like politicians the AFL take forever to adjust, for example the congestion issue. It’s been a problem for easily over 10 years n now they decide to act due to falling numbers. Just like a politician!!

    Then there’s the FIXture, then the draft, then the MCG GF then the AFL management using the game as a money making scheme for their mates.

    The thing is, is anybody really that surprised the younger generation have given the top level the middle finger.
     
  5. Power Raid

    Power Raid TheBrownDog

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    It's not just the generational/ cultural changes that will hurt the AFL.

    Sure we all understand structural changes in our workplace and time off don't lend themselves well to structured sport. We also understand football once competed with amazing alternatives of fishing, going to church, a visit to grandma where as today overseas holidays, the internet and everything a cashed up family can now afford.

    The other big factor is the reality that the best time to follow a sport is what I call the in between stage. This is where a sport isn't amateur but also isn't professional. In this in between stage you see the rawness of amateurs but witness a higher quality spectacle. As it progresses, it becomes to polished, regulated and controlled.

    Once fully professional, the cost is too prohibitive for the lower socio-economic groups meaning it is now exclusive rather than inclusive. Essentially breaking away from something that bonds community. You get media controls and lame arse comments of "we are taking this one week at a time", "we focus on our structures" etc etc rather than what they really think. You end up with players playing the game because of cash rather than enjoyment...........and that's evident with the mental health issues and level of player happiness. You get gambling, over legalistic and agenda driven lobby groups etc etc.


    Think back of the hey days of 1960s boxing compared to the professional comp it is today. I think we'd all agree boxing was at its best when it was in the in between stage. Same said for cricket, film making and soccer.

    It's sad but true, the best of AFL is behind us. It's still great but there are learnings, from other sports and industries for the AFL, to ensure it doesn't ruin the game it is supposedly a custodian for.
     
  6. Rusty Brookes

    Rusty Brookes Premiership Player

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    There may be some truth to what you say but the rusted on, supporters in the 70s/80s didn't necessarily translate into big crowds. Membership numbers were nowhere near what they are today. And just about every traditional VFL club faced a moment of near extinction.

    My guess is the younger supporter becomes a rusted on supporter later in life. My son who is 11 this year is starting to show his first signs of being rusted on - doesn't want to miss games, interested in who is coming back from injury, etc. I don't think he'll ever as psychotic about is as I am (and with some self reflection that's probably a good thing) but I don't think he'll be lost to the game.
     
  7. HeathComeBack

    HeathComeBack Club Legend

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    Yeah totally disagree with the OP.

    It will thrive forever, its a good product, country kids will always play it, and the introduction of the AFLW will make sure women will be more interested and pass it on to their kids.
     
  8. Luv_our_club

    Luv_our_club Club Legend

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    The AFL is a truly indigenous code, and it cannot be exported. The only other sports that it can learn from are similar professional national codes, and they are few and far between.

    The AFL needs to stop looking overseas for direction. The USA is a net exporter of culture.... the NFL could not give a shit what the rest of the world is doing. In Australia we import our culture from places like America.

    So I don't think we need to look to other sports or industries for a guide. I think we need to look back and ask what really worked in the past in the AFL that we have lost.
     
  9. PrideOf

    PrideOf Brownlow Medallist

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    The AFL is also eroding their own supporter base at the top end too.

    There's a growing cynicism among the footy diehards: the rules get bent for whoever the AFL loves at any given moment in time, they prop up some clubs at the expense of others, the on-field rules are interpreted to meet an agenda, they alternatively hit clubs/players with a hammer and then wet lettuce, clear incompetence is protected and basic game integrity issues like the MRP and goal-line technology are a joke.

    All to protect Gilligan's end-of-year bonus, and those of his mates.

    And many, many people I talk to who've followed footy for decades are jaded because of it.
     
  10. HavUEvaSeenTheRain

    HavUEvaSeenTheRain Club Legend

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    Anywhere you go overseas you hear the same things about their sport. In America all of Baseball, Basketball and now NFL the people claim it is not what it was and has/is losing popularity. You hear the exact same thing in England about the EPL. "It's not for the common man any more", "clubs have no soul" ect.
    I think someone eluded to it before; people are just so much more cynical these days.
     
  11. Power Raid

    Power Raid TheBrownDog

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    The learnings aren't about other sports or industries like films. The learnings are about what is lost through professionalism and retaining the raw, the community engagement and enjoyment. The best way to learn is by looking at those industries that took it too far and lost it.
     
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  12. Beer n Skittles

    Beer n Skittles Norm Smith Medallist

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  13. boncer34

    boncer34 It's just the way I say things

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    What a rubbish thread.
     
  14. HPKS

    HPKS All Australian

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    And can actually reply pretty much immediately via social
    Media like this site these days.

    Back in the good old days head office via your cities major newspaper could spew our bs with no1 pretty much questioning it as no1 had a voice, Fitzroy supporters would be thinking of Sheahan immediately, but now they get to say what they think n news travels a lot faster in today’s social media than a yarn at the local pub.

    And what do younger generations love? Social media, they see through the bs of today a hell of a lot quicker than us older people and every person they have on there social media site reads this within seconds.

    So when Gill tries to spin that the game doesn’t look so bad, most of the younger generation call bs n it spreads pretty damn quick.....
     
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  15. Speakeasy

    Speakeasy Debutant

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    I see your point taking into account population growth, however how much more immigration has happened since the 70's?

    I would say that both Rugby Codes are in far worse shape than Aussie Rules, I don't think its going to decline anywhere near as much as Rugby Union has, and I still believe the game will grow.

    You do have a good point with under 25's though
     
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  16. Hank Scorpion

    Hank Scorpion Club Legend

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    My personal experience is that I was an absolute fanatic as a kid, yet ever since I turned 16/17 or so, my interest has steadily declined to the point where I'll only watch a game every few weeks.

    Obviously Brisbane being terrible is a part of that, as well as the bullshit around the Essendon saga and the make-it-up-as-we-go-along rule changes/umpiring/suspensions being major turn-offs, but I think the wide availability of other entertainment is a more universal reason for any decline amongst younger fans. It would be a lot harder for me, 20 years ago, to find niche interests that attract me away from AFL, certainly none that I could access as quickly as I can today.
     
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  17. Present Not Past

    Present Not Past Norm Smith Medallist

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    I'm rusted onto the game because back then that is all we had.
    However, nowadays the choices are overwhelming for the younger generations.
     
  18. Marc_Remillard

    Marc_Remillard Angel of the Abyss

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    Footy isn't as big in primary schools as it used to be
     
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  19. Lavender Bushranger

    Lavender Bushranger Norm Smith Medallist

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    I don't think that's the case.

    Sport used to be tribal - then it became an industry.

    It's an entertainment product. Nothing more.


    Sport will always prosper, as long as it is actually entertaining.
    And therein lies the problem for the AFL.

    It's not tribal anymore. There's still a few loser tragics that are conned by the marketing that they're part of some army or something - but they're a dying breed.

    So sport has to be entertaining, or its stuffed.

    When it's tribal, no one cares what it looks like. It just doesn't matter.

    But when it's not, it's got to be entertaining enough to pay to watch, ahead of other entertainment products.

    This is why I fear for the AFL. They have killed off the key forward, or at least been asleep at the wheel whilst it was happening. They've removed the characters from the game.
    They've allowed coaches to hijack it into a clogged up defensive mess.

    It's an ugly sport to watch, with no reason to sit through a whole game. To be fair, it's actually always been a pretty ugly game - but there were other factors that you'd pay to see. Superstar players, characters. Villains. Drama.

    These are all gone now.

    I watch the NRL on Friday nights more than the AFL. I certainly watch the NBA ahead of the footy.

    If you rip the tribalism out of the game, you'd better be sure that your product is entertaining.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  20. mehow2g

    mehow2g Premiership Player

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    Technology, propaganda of fear and political correctness is to blame.

    Technology being born in 89 I've lived without and with technology, the stuff is addicting before I got my first computer at 12 I was never inside the house, now kids are given phones iPad and pcs when they are basically learning how to walk.

    Competive video Games are huge in the young generation way more viewership and money in alot of sports these days, you pair that with parents who watch propaganda shows like the news today tonight aca and news.com.au and you have parents scared shitless for their children to even go outside or play a contact sport, so giving the child an iPad suits them well.

    Look at all the top sports on the world right now, all the best athletes that are still dominating are born in the 80s bar a few.
     
  21. Upgrayedd

    Upgrayedd A Vote for Clive is a Vote for Justice

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    "I feel tired from football so thus everyone else is feeling that way and the AFL is lying about figures because of my opinion"
     
  22. citizen-erased

    citizen-erased Brownlow Medallist

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    Bigfooty, supercoach, AFL fantasy, foxfooty, 6 fta footy shows, dominant conversation piece in 90% of my social circles, 18 clubs, games in China, pubs overseas showing games, afl teams spending offseasons with NBA, NFL, MLB and EPL teams

    A dying code indeed

    We even finally got to Switzerland a couple of years ago
     
  23. Geelong Dynasty

    Geelong Dynasty 16 PREMIERSHIPS

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    When I was a kid in the 80’s and playing jnr footy at Aberfeldie we had 1 team for each age group, now there’s about 3 each and they aren’t alone with this sort of participation.
     
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  24. Checkered

    Checkered Club Legend

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    To be fair we have endless content readily available such as the internet, video games, streaming services etc to diversify interests.

    The only other thing you old mother******s had back in the day was probably a ball and a cup so of course you spent all your time focussed on footy lol
     
  25. TiggerMan22

    TiggerMan22 Brownlow Medallist

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    Yeh nah
     
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