Opinion Football in the future

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SunshineBoy

Brownlow Medallist
Jan 3, 2012
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Other Teams
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With footy about to come back

There are really only two ways this can go. Success or disaster.

Let’s take success first. What would that look like?

Imagine everything is as it normally is. Games are on fox and C7. the commentators are still sh*t, Roaming brian is no more There is still pre and post-game debate.All is as it was, except the ground is empty.

Humans are nothing if not adaptable. Maybe we will adjust to Empty Football quite easily. The actual play would look like it always has done, so what’s the difference really? If the TV companies pumped crowd noise out, rising and falling with the action, and projected your face onto a holographic virtual crowd of dummies, maybe it would satisfy TV audiences as much as the ‘real’ thing?

It’s also worth considering the possibility that the actual football being played might be of a better standard. It’s not entirely impossible that players, released from fan pressure and fear of negative reaction, might play with more freedom and expression. It could be more fun.

So if it looks pretty similar on TV and is popular enough for broadcasters to justify keeping paying big money and the football is as good or bad as it ever has been, football could thrive or at least survive even without paying punters, at least at the top level until crowds return. Everyone keeps their big money and everyone is happy and can pretend that Armageddon isn’t imminent.

But…

The exact opposite might prove to be the case, especially after the seventeen games each club has to play to finish the season, plus finals.

In this scenario, once we have got over the Empty Footy novelty factor and this season is put to bed, the thought of starting again with a blank sheet, with every game seeming more like a meaningless training match, may be very unappealing indeed. At least right now there is something riding on some of the remaining games for some clubs, that wouldn’t be the case at the start of a new season. six months would stretch out before us as a featureless wasteland. The taste of the ghost games we’ll have already had could be enough to put us off for good.

Because as most of us understand, the appeal of footy is at least as much about the things that orbit the game, as the actual game itself. This is why footy survives and thrives despite on many, occasions, being quite boring.

So much of what binds us to the game is the informal community it provides on a regular basis. It is the language it gives us, the common reference points, the civic and societal structure, the self-identity opportunities and even the tasty pies, that keep us coming back for more. This might be especially true for regular match-goers, but it is just as true for armchair footy fans. There is a symbiosis between TV viewer and fan in the ground. The viewer feeds from the energy, sound and dynamics of the crowd. There is some kind of psychic bond in the collective appreciation of the televisual spectacle. The feeling that we are all part of something should not be underestimated as a driver for all live events. Ghost games can’t offer that, and when you strip out the humanity, and leave only the sport itself present, you drain the blood out of the football body, leaving it unable to function as a living entity.

Widespread disinterest in this fat-free version of the game may not be dramatic, or even noticed at first. There will be no protests, no noise about it, but the drift away will nonetheless be profound. Disinterest is a silent destroyer.


‘Viewing figures are aenemic at the best of times there is no fat to trim. Are we to believe that TV audiences will be the same or higher? It seems unlikely. Mid-table clashes between smaller, lesser supported clubs would surely be a graveyard for broadcasting revenues. Is there any point in showing something of little interest to a small amount of people, and why should either broadcasters or viewers pay for the privilege?

Worse still, the denuded experience may seriously cramp interest in footyper se, meaning that even when it returns in its full fat version, the habit is lost for some. In losing the highs and lows, the feeling goes away. Absence can make the heart grow fonder but more typically it makes the heart grow cold.

While a lot of football media in recent weeks has been dedicated, possibly motivated by self-interest, to telling us how much we love football, how much we miss it and how desperate we are to see it again, no-one has tried to measure how many who were previously interested, now really don’t care that much and are getting by without football quite easily.

Those who write about football tend to be an unrepresentative group because it takes up so much of their lives. I hear stories of national newspaper football reporters utterly at a loss to know what to do with their lives without nine games a week to report on. So playing any form of football seems like a big thing to the industry, but less so to many others who have plenty going on in their lives to occupy themselves with. It’s hard to quantify or measure, but clearly some must be missing it far less than others and those will be the first to jump off the good ship football and perhaps will never, or rarely, come back.

They feel that it has been shown all too clearly to be a greedy industry that will do anything to keep feeding its own appetite for greed and has so poorly run its businesses that even a short break has left it on the verge of bankruptcy, purely because it is paying its players absolutely huge amounts of money, even now despite not playing. And those players, despite being incredibly rich, will not accept that this is sending the clubs into financial oblivion, seemingly happy enough to cling to the wreckage of the very ship the financial model that paid them such ludicrous wages has been grounded upon, for as long as possible. To some, it looks bad. Very bad.

And games being played to an audience of none purely to release TV money will sicken some even more. If many turn their back on this level of the game, their guts soured by what they’ve seen, who would be surprised?

The AFL has decided ghost games to finish the season, thinking it will be the start of a revival, when in reality it may be the start of a lingering death.

And once that realisation has been made, the pressure to allow crowds back into grounds will be urgently made to the government, who will cave in to that pressure and will sell it to a sceptical public on the grounds of economics, employment and morale. They may even say it is as safe to attend, or as safe as anything ever is, even though this will be a guess at best. Expect many discussions over the summer break about the nature of risk, in pursuit of smoothing out doubts.

Which side would your money be on? A season-long of AFL games played out to no-one, with the same level of audiences as usual watching on TV, leading to the financial collapse of the league and many of its clubs, or the return of crowds – as soon as they can get away with it?

In the coming months we are about to find out which of these scenarios will become reality. My tip? As ever when it comes to all things AFL, it’s all about money, so follow the money and there’s your answer.
 
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Marcel Proust

"Oohh WADA ooga booga" {Jul 11 2013}
Sep 6, 2018
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With footy about to come back

There are really only two ways this can go. Success or disaster.

Let’s take success first. What would that look like?

Imagine everything is as it normally is. Games are on fox and C7. the commentators are still sh*t, Roaming brian is no more There is still pre and post-game debate.All is as it was, except the ground is empty.

Humans are nothing if not adaptable. Maybe we will adjust to Empty Football quite easily. The actual play would look like it always has done, so what’s the difference really? If the TV companies pumped crowd noise out, rising and falling with the action, and projected your face onto a holographic virtual crowd of dummies, maybe it would satisfy TV audiences as much as the ‘real’ thing?

It’s also worth considering the possibility that the actual football being played might be of a better standard. It’s not entirely impossible that players, released from fan pressure and fear of negative reaction, might play with more freedom and expression. It could be more fun.

So if it looks pretty similar on TV and is popular enough for broadcasters to justify keeping paying big money and the football is as good or bad as it ever has been, football could thrive or at least survive even without paying punters, at least at the top level until crowds return. Everyone keeps their big money and everyone is happy and can pretend that Armageddon isn’t imminent.

But…

The exact opposite might prove to be the case, especially after the seventeen games each club has to play to finish the season, plus finals.

In this scenario, once we have got over the Empty Footy novelty factor and this season is put to bed, the thought of starting again with a blank sheet, with every game seeming more like a meaningless training match, may be very unappealing indeed. At least right now there is something riding on some of the remaining games for some clubs, that wouldn’t be the case at the start of a new season. six months would stretch out before us as a featureless wasteland. The taste of the ghost games we’ll have already had could be enough to put us off for good.

Because as most of us understand, the appeal of footy is at least as much about the things that orbit the game, as the actual game itself. This is why footy survives and thrives despite on many, occasions, being quite boring.

So much of what binds us to the game is the informal community it provides on a regular basis. It is the language it gives us, the common reference points, the civic and societal structure, the self-identity opportunities and even the tasty pies, that keep us coming back for more. This might be especially true for regular match-goers, but it is just as true for armchair footy fans. There is a symbiosis between TV viewer and fan in the ground. The viewer feeds from the energy, sound and dynamics of the crowd. There is some kind of psychic bond in the collective appreciation of the televisual spectacle. The feeling that we are all part of something should not be underestimated as a driver for all live events. Ghost games can’t offer that, and when you strip out the humanity, and leave only the sport itself present, you drain the blood out of the football body, leaving it unable to function as a living entity.

Widespread disinterest in this fat-free version of the game may not be dramatic, or even noticed at first. There will be no protests, no noise about it, but the drift away will nonetheless be profound. Disinterest is a silent destroyer.

Viewing figures are anaemic much of the time anyway; there is no fat to trim. Are we to believe that TV audiences will be the same or higher? It seems unlikely. Mid-table clashes between smaller, lesser supported clubs would surely be a graveyard for broadcasting revenues. Is there any point in showing something of little interest to a small amount of people, and why should either broadcasters or viewers pay for the privilege?

Worse still, the denuded experience may seriously cramp interest in footyper se, meaning that even when it returns in its full fat version, the habit is lost for some. In losing the highs and lows, the feeling goes away. Absence can make the heart grow fonder but more typically it makes the heart grow cold.

While a lot of football media in recent weeks has been dedicated, possibly motivated by self-interest, to telling us how much we love football, how much we miss it and how desperate we are to see it again, no-one has tried to measure how many who were previously interested, now really don’t care that much and are getting by without football quite easily.

Those who write about football tend to be an unrepresentative group because it takes up so much of their lives. I hear stories of national newspaper football reporters utterly at a loss to know what to do with their lives without nine games a week to report on. So playing any form of football seems like a big thing to the industry, but less so to many others who have plenty going on in their lives to occupy themselves with. It’s hard to quantify or measure, but clearly some must be missing it far less than others and those will be the first to jump off the good ship football and perhaps will never, or rarely, come back.

They feel that it has been shown all too clearly to be a greedy industry that will do anything to keep feeding its own appetite for greed and has so poorly run its businesses that even a short break has left it on the verge of bankruptcy, purely because it is paying its players absolutely huge amounts of money, even now despite not playing. And those players, despite being incredibly rich, will not accept that this is sending the clubs into financial oblivion, seemingly happy enough to cling to the wreckage of the very ship the financial model that paid them such ludicrous wages has been grounded upon, for as long as possible. To some, it looks bad. Very bad.

And games being played to an audience of none purely to release TV money will sicken some even more. If many turn their back on this level of the game, their guts soured by what they’ve seen, who would be surprised?

The AFL has decided ghost games to finish the season, thinking it will be the start of a revival, when in reality it may be the start of a lingering death.

And once that realisation has been made, the pressure to allow crowds back into grounds will be urgently made to the government, who will cave in to that pressure and will sell it to a sceptical public on the grounds of economics, employment and morale. They may even say it is as safe to attend, or as safe as anything ever is, even though this will be a guess at best. Expect many discussions over the summer break about the nature of risk, in pursuit of smoothing out doubts.

Which side would your money be on? A season-long of AFL games played out to no-one, with the same level of audiences as usual watching on TV, leading to the financial collapse of the league and many of its clubs, or the return of crowds – as soon as they can get away with it?

In the coming months we are about to find out which of these scenarios will become reality. My tip? As ever when it comes to all things AFL, it’s all about money, so follow the money and there’s your answer.
Maybe it'll be a good thing? Obviously I'm stoked the tigers are at the top of the tree but it's been just a money thing for a long time.

Lots of people gone off it and the kids just use it for betting sounds like anyway

Personally I think the twos is good. Call them drug cheats upclose and watch a stack or balta from the fence.

But the again local footy is pretty much the same thing. Hopefully that and the other lower leagues come out stronger from all this bullshit so far
 

Not Important

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Oct 4, 2016
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Maybe it'll be a good thing? Obviously I'm stoked the tigers are at the top of the tree but it's been just a money thing for a long time.

Lots of people gone off it and the kids just use it for betting sounds like anyway

Personally I think the twos is good. Call them drug cheats upclose and watch a stack or balta from the fence.

But the again local footy is pretty much the same thing. Hopefully that and the other lower leagues come out stronger from all this bullshit so far
sadly i think some local leagues will be decimated. some now have sizeable debts and zero income
 

Phar Ace

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Great first up summary Sunshine! We'll all know more as this train pulls out of Covid Station. The social distancing is the key - to what extent will that generally cause infection. If you believe Mt Bojangles, it doesn't affect people outdoors, and stadiums will at least go half capacity in time if he's correct. I think he is incredibly optimistic on that score though, but I'd say getting some sort of crowd into the game, even spaced out (not like eipuorg), will happen before season's end, provided we maintain reasonable control and submit to the Covid Phone App to make tracing and isolation quicker. Its a virus of opportunity through proximity. Control that and we control it
 
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Ralll

Club Legend
Apr 19, 2009
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I'm sure football will be fine in the long run.
People need entertainment, and sport has filled that void across many cultures over history, ours is a culture that has always been heavily into sports which has been handed down through generations.
It might have to reset at a lower resource base for a while, but AFL will grow again and tap back into that same generational supporter base as always imo.
 

Tiger_Of_Old

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Nov 23, 2000
40,749
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With footy about to come back

There are really only two ways this can go. Success or disaster.

Let’s take success first. What would that look like?

Imagine everything is as it normally is. Games are on fox and C7. the commentators are still sh*t, Roaming brian is no more There is still pre and post-game debate.All is as it was, except the ground is empty.

Humans are nothing if not adaptable. Maybe we will adjust to Empty Football quite easily. The actual play would look like it always has done, so what’s the difference really? If the TV companies pumped crowd noise out, rising and falling with the action, and projected your face onto a holographic virtual crowd of dummies, maybe it would satisfy TV audiences as much as the ‘real’ thing?

It’s also worth considering the possibility that the actual football being played might be of a better standard. It’s not entirely impossible that players, released from fan pressure and fear of negative reaction, might play with more freedom and expression. It could be more fun.

So if it looks pretty similar on TV and is popular enough for broadcasters to justify keeping paying big money and the football is as good or bad as it ever has been, football could thrive or at least survive even without paying punters, at least at the top level until crowds return. Everyone keeps their big money and everyone is happy and can pretend that Armageddon isn’t imminent.

But…

The exact opposite might prove to be the case, especially after the seventeen games each club has to play to finish the season, plus finals.

In this scenario, once we have got over the Empty Footy novelty factor and this season is put to bed, the thought of starting again with a blank sheet, with every game seeming more like a meaningless training match, may be very unappealing indeed. At least right now there is something riding on some of the remaining games for some clubs, that wouldn’t be the case at the start of a new season. six months would stretch out before us as a featureless wasteland. The taste of the ghost games we’ll have already had could be enough to put us off for good.

Because as most of us understand, the appeal of footy is at least as much about the things that orbit the game, as the actual game itself. This is why footy survives and thrives despite on many, occasions, being quite boring.

So much of what binds us to the game is the informal community it provides on a regular basis. It is the language it gives us, the common reference points, the civic and societal structure, the self-identity opportunities and even the tasty pies, that keep us coming back for more. This might be especially true for regular match-goers, but it is just as true for armchair footy fans. There is a symbiosis between TV viewer and fan in the ground. The viewer feeds from the energy, sound and dynamics of the crowd. There is some kind of psychic bond in the collective appreciation of the televisual spectacle. The feeling that we are all part of something should not be underestimated as a driver for all live events. Ghost games can’t offer that, and when you strip out the humanity, and leave only the sport itself present, you drain the blood out of the football body, leaving it unable to function as a living entity.

Widespread disinterest in this fat-free version of the game may not be dramatic, or even noticed at first. There will be no protests, no noise about it, but the drift away will nonetheless be profound. Disinterest is a silent destroyer.


‘Viewing figures are aenemic at the best of times there is no fat to trim. Are we to believe that TV audiences will be the same or higher? It seems unlikely. Mid-table clashes between smaller, lesser supported clubs would surely be a graveyard for broadcasting revenues. Is there any point in showing something of little interest to a small amount of people, and why should either broadcasters or viewers pay for the privilege?

Worse still, the denuded experience may seriously cramp interest in footyper se, meaning that even when it returns in its full fat version, the habit is lost for some. In losing the highs and lows, the feeling goes away. Absence can make the heart grow fonder but more typically it makes the heart grow cold.

While a lot of football media in recent weeks has been dedicated, possibly motivated by self-interest, to telling us how much we love football, how much we miss it and how desperate we are to see it again, no-one has tried to measure how many who were previously interested, now really don’t care that much and are getting by without football quite easily.

Those who write about football tend to be an unrepresentative group because it takes up so much of their lives. I hear stories of national newspaper football reporters utterly at a loss to know what to do with their lives without nine games a week to report on. So playing any form of football seems like a big thing to the industry, but less so to many others who have plenty going on in their lives to occupy themselves with. It’s hard to quantify or measure, but clearly some must be missing it far less than others and those will be the first to jump off the good ship football and perhaps will never, or rarely, come back.

They feel that it has been shown all too clearly to be a greedy industry that will do anything to keep feeding its own appetite for greed and has so poorly run its businesses that even a short break has left it on the verge of bankruptcy, purely because it is paying its players absolutely huge amounts of money, even now despite not playing. And those players, despite being incredibly rich, will not accept that this is sending the clubs into financial oblivion, seemingly happy enough to cling to the wreckage of the very ship the financial model that paid them such ludicrous wages has been grounded upon, for as long as possible. To some, it looks bad. Very bad.

And games being played to an audience of none purely to release TV money will sicken some even more. If many turn their back on this level of the game, their guts soured by what they’ve seen, who would be surprised?

The AFL has decided ghost games to finish the season, thinking it will be the start of a revival, when in reality it may be the start of a lingering death.

And once that realisation has been made, the pressure to allow crowds back into grounds will be urgently made to the government, who will cave in to that pressure and will sell it to a sceptical public on the grounds of economics, employment and morale. They may even say it is as safe to attend, or as safe as anything ever is, even though this will be a guess at best. Expect many discussions over the summer break about the nature of risk, in pursuit of smoothing out doubts.

Which side would your money be on? A season-long of AFL games played out to no-one, with the same level of audiences as usual watching on TV, leading to the financial collapse of the league and many of its clubs, or the return of crowds – as soon as they can get away with it?

In the coming months we are about to find out which of these scenarios will become reality. My tip? As ever when it comes to all things AFL, it’s all about money, so follow the money and there’s your answer.
Without the fans in the outer.Its crap
 

Phar Ace

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Without the fans in the outer.Its crap
The experience will change over time - it won't be a static thing You might not like what you see next round, but it won't remain the same. The Clubs need us now more than ever, so we can have what we had again. It's going to take a leap of faith and $$$$ of support - let's face it, out Club is really worth it, so be a little upbeat my friend - it'll be a bumpy ride is all~
 

Tiger_Of_Old

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The experience will change over time - it won't be a static thing You might not like what you see next round, but it won't remain the same. The Clubs need us now more than ever, so we can have what we had again. It's going to take a leap of faith and $$$$ of support - let's face it, out Club is really worth it, so be a little upbeat my friend - it'll be a bumpy ride is all~
It's all good mate.
Something we all have to get use too for awhile.
Just may take me abit longer.lol
 

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sregit

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Feb 9, 2012
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Great first up summary Sunshine! We'll all know more as this train pulls out of Covid Station. The social distancing is the key - to what extent will that generally cause infection. If you believe Mt Bojangles, it doesn't affect people outdoors, and stadiums will at least go half capacity in time if he's correct. I think he is incredibly optimistic on that score though, but I'd say getting some sort of crowd into the game, even spaced out (not like eipuorg), will happen before season's end, provided we maintain reasonable control and submit to the Covid Phone App to make tracing and isolation quicker. Its a virus of opportunity through proximity. Control that and we control it
I'm very sceptical about crowds returning before the season is over and would not advocate putting anyone's well being or life at risk for the sake of football, however, I think it would be more risky catching the train to the G than actually attending the game.
 

SunshineBoy

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I'm very sceptical about crowds returning before the season is over and would not advocate putting anyone's well being or life at risk for the sake of football, however, I think it would be more risky catching the train to the G than actually attending the game.
If the money stops rolling in, expect submissions to the powers that be to be made and pressure borne.

we will all watch the first few games , maybe, but as seen by round 1 no one will watch dead rubbers in empty stadiums, and they will happen early in the piece. Some clubs struggle to draw crowds now
 

Phar Ace

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I'm very sceptical about crowds returning before the season is over and would not advocate putting anyone's well being or life at risk for the sake of football, however, I think it would be more risky catching the train to the G than actually attending the game.
I can understand your scepticism, and as you suggest the paradoxes abound, however, as we have witnessed many times when public pressure is applied hard enough and often enough we tend to get what we want, especially when important financial outcomes are also involved as well.
 

JAKLAUGHING

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I can understand your scepticism, and as you suggest the paradoxes abound, however, as we have witnessed many times when public pressure is applied hard enough and often enough we tend to get what we want, especially when important financial outcomes are also involved as well.
Generally speaking yesssss...but the wildcard in all the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men is risk catching a highly contagious virus in the middle?!? start?!? wherethefeck?!? of a Pandemic...shall I go to a crowded venue full of patrons and risk be standing next to an asymptomatic carrier of CV from the Cedar meat works...McDonalds Truck driver...beware of what you wish for...
 

Phar Ace

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Generally speaking yesssss...but the wildcard in all the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men is risk catching a highly contagious virus in the middle?!? start?!? wherethefeck?!? of a Pandemic...shall I go to a crowded venue full of patrons and risk be standing next to an asymptomatic carrier of CV from the Cedar meat works...McDonalds Truck driver...beware of what you wish for...
If it happens it will be socially distanced, socially controlled for period of time to 'observe any consequences', it's how the rollback of restrictions is happening now really.
 

Tiger_Of_Old

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If the money stops rolling in, expect submissions to the powers that be to be made and pressure borne.

we will all watch the first few games , maybe, but as seen by round 1 no one will watch dead rubbers in empty stadiums, and they will happen early in the piece. Some clubs struggle to draw crowds now
Chairman Dan is only interested in this flag.
1590017743871.png

Pipe dream that crowds will be allowed back.
 

Phar Ace

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Chairman Dan is only interested in this flag.
View attachment 878833
Pipe dream that crowds will be allowed back.
Of course it's a bit of a dream, a hope. Not sure it's a pipe dream though (if I understand that as you do). Rugby League is expecting crowds before the end of the season, granted they may of a limited basis, but crowds all the same. I think we can expect it too for AFL at some stage IF things remain on the same trajectory or at least the same plateau. That said, the MCC is not expecting it bin 2020 based on the AFL's current thinking. But things can change. There will be considerable codes of behavior changes, it may not even be what some people want or are prepared to tolerate, but it will be what it will be.

People are going to have to learn to be adaptable. If not I have one thing to say:

1590049549683.png
 

Tiger_Of_Old

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Of course it's a bit of a dream, a hope. Not sure it's a pipe dream though (if I understand that as you do). Rugby League is expecting crowds before the end of the season, granted they may of a limited basis, but crowds all the same. I think we can expect it too for AFL at some stage IF things remain on the same trajectory or at least the same plateau. That said, the MCC is not expecting it bin 2020 based on the AFL's current thinking. But things can change. There will be considerable codes of behavior changes, it may not even be what some people want or are prepared to tolerate, but it will be what it will be.

People are going to have to learn to be adaptable. If not I have one thing to say:

View attachment 879055
Just think everything has to go absolutely right for chairman Dan to give the green light for crowds even at lolnorf levels.
 

Tiges1229

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Sep 26, 2014
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With footy about to come back

There are really only two ways this can go. Success or disaster.

Let’s take success first. What would that look like?

Imagine everything is as it normally is. Games are on fox and C7. the commentators are still sh*t, Roaming brian is no more There is still pre and post-game debate.All is as it was, except the ground is empty.

Humans are nothing if not adaptable. Maybe we will adjust to Empty Football quite easily. The actual play would look like it always has done, so what’s the difference really? If the TV companies pumped crowd noise out, rising and falling with the action, and projected your face onto a holographic virtual crowd of dummies, maybe it would satisfy TV audiences as much as the ‘real’ thing?

It’s also worth considering the possibility that the actual football being played might be of a better standard. It’s not entirely impossible that players, released from fan pressure and fear of negative reaction, might play with more freedom and expression. It could be more fun.

So if it looks pretty similar on TV and is popular enough for broadcasters to justify keeping paying big money and the football is as good or bad as it ever has been, football could thrive or at least survive even without paying punters, at least at the top level until crowds return. Everyone keeps their big money and everyone is happy and can pretend that Armageddon isn’t imminent.

But…

The exact opposite might prove to be the case, especially after the seventeen games each club has to play to finish the season, plus finals.

In this scenario, once we have got over the Empty Footy novelty factor and this season is put to bed, the thought of starting again with a blank sheet, with every game seeming more like a meaningless training match, may be very unappealing indeed. At least right now there is something riding on some of the remaining games for some clubs, that wouldn’t be the case at the start of a new season. six months would stretch out before us as a featureless wasteland. The taste of the ghost games we’ll have already had could be enough to put us off for good.

Because as most of us understand, the appeal of footy is at least as much about the things that orbit the game, as the actual game itself. This is why footy survives and thrives despite on many, occasions, being quite boring.

So much of what binds us to the game is the informal community it provides on a regular basis. It is the language it gives us, the common reference points, the civic and societal structure, the self-identity opportunities and even the tasty pies, that keep us coming back for more. This might be especially true for regular match-goers, but it is just as true for armchair footy fans. There is a symbiosis between TV viewer and fan in the ground. The viewer feeds from the energy, sound and dynamics of the crowd. There is some kind of psychic bond in the collective appreciation of the televisual spectacle. The feeling that we are all part of something should not be underestimated as a driver for all live events. Ghost games can’t offer that, and when you strip out the humanity, and leave only the sport itself present, you drain the blood out of the football body, leaving it unable to function as a living entity.

Widespread disinterest in this fat-free version of the game may not be dramatic, or even noticed at first. There will be no protests, no noise about it, but the drift away will nonetheless be profound. Disinterest is a silent destroyer.


‘Viewing figures are aenemic at the best of times there is no fat to trim. Are we to believe that TV audiences will be the same or higher? It seems unlikely. Mid-table clashes between smaller, lesser supported clubs would surely be a graveyard for broadcasting revenues. Is there any point in showing something of little interest to a small amount of people, and why should either broadcasters or viewers pay for the privilege?

Worse still, the denuded experience may seriously cramp interest in footyper se, meaning that even when it returns in its full fat version, the habit is lost for some. In losing the highs and lows, the feeling goes away. Absence can make the heart grow fonder but more typically it makes the heart grow cold.

While a lot of football media in recent weeks has been dedicated, possibly motivated by self-interest, to telling us how much we love football, how much we miss it and how desperate we are to see it again, no-one has tried to measure how many who were previously interested, now really don’t care that much and are getting by without football quite easily.

Those who write about football tend to be an unrepresentative group because it takes up so much of their lives. I hear stories of national newspaper football reporters utterly at a loss to know what to do with their lives without nine games a week to report on. So playing any form of football seems like a big thing to the industry, but less so to many others who have plenty going on in their lives to occupy themselves with. It’s hard to quantify or measure, but clearly some must be missing it far less than others and those will be the first to jump off the good ship football and perhaps will never, or rarely, come back.

They feel that it has been shown all too clearly to be a greedy industry that will do anything to keep feeding its own appetite for greed and has so poorly run its businesses that even a short break has left it on the verge of bankruptcy, purely because it is paying its players absolutely huge amounts of money, even now despite not playing. And those players, despite being incredibly rich, will not accept that this is sending the clubs into financial oblivion, seemingly happy enough to cling to the wreckage of the very ship the financial model that paid them such ludicrous wages has been grounded upon, for as long as possible. To some, it looks bad. Very bad.

And games being played to an audience of none purely to release TV money will sicken some even more. If many turn their back on this level of the game, their guts soured by what they’ve seen, who would be surprised?

The AFL has decided ghost games to finish the season, thinking it will be the start of a revival, when in reality it may be the start of a lingering death.

And once that realisation has been made, the pressure to allow crowds back into grounds will be urgently made to the government, who will cave in to that pressure and will sell it to a sceptical public on the grounds of economics, employment and morale. They may even say it is as safe to attend, or as safe as anything ever is, even though this will be a guess at best. Expect many discussions over the summer break about the nature of risk, in pursuit of smoothing out doubts.

Which side would your money be on? A season-long of AFL games played out to no-one, with the same level of audiences as usual watching on TV, leading to the financial collapse of the league and many of its clubs, or the return of crowds – as soon as they can get away with it?

In the coming months we are about to find out which of these scenarios will become reality. My tip? As ever when it comes to all things AFL, it’s all about money, so follow the money and there’s your answer.
I get why afl and players want to play this year and I get why some people still want to watch on tv without crowds , but for me personally have no interest in it , game without the fans is nothing imo .
 

JAKLAUGHING

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Nov 20, 2008
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I get why afl and players want to play this year and I get why some people still want to watch on tv without crowds , but for me personally have no interest in it , game without the fans is nothing imo .
AFL and TV are going to find out this year how important the fans are to the game...
Games with no crowds...soulless...
Building the national comp with new teams is worthless without fan backing...
And growing a fan base for a plastic franchise is an expensive and futile pipe dream...
Tassie first! GCS last!!
 
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