Long-term future of the AFL.

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Coolangatta

Premiership Player
Oct 27, 2007
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What do you think it looks like? Specifically, the number of teams and how the fixture is organised. Realistically, what is the most number of rounds you could have in a season that isn't going to fry the players? 24? 26? 28? How can you have 30 teams in the AFL and have everyone play each other at least once?

I think we will eventually see a Tasmanian team, a Northern territory team, and an ACT team. I've seen people say that we might have more teams in WA, NSW, QLD, and SA one day. That's entirely possible, but doesn't that mean we'll need conferences? Do you think there'll ever be a limit in how many AFL teams there are?

The NFL has 32 teams in a nation of approx 330 million people.

We already have 18 teams, so perhaps aside from a Tasmanian team, NT team, and ACT team, all within the next 20 years, there's no need to have too many teams for a long time. I think those three need to happen, so we have a truly national competition, but our population is more than 10 times smaller than the USA, so surely there will be a slowdown in the number of teams introduced if there isn't already.

What are your thoughts about the long-term of the AFL? What new teams would you like to see in which locations, and what do you think would be a sensible and feasible way to fixture a league that has 24+ teams?
 

Kwality

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What do you think it looks like? Specifically, the number of teams and how the fixture is organised. Realistically, what is the most number of rounds you could have in a season that isn't going to fry the players? 24? 26? 28? How can you have 30 teams in the AFL and have everyone play each other at least once?

I think we will eventually see a Tasmanian team, a Northern territory team, and an ACT team. I've seen people say that we might have more teams in WA, NSW, QLD, and SA one day. That's entirely possible, but doesn't that mean we'll need conferences? Do you think there'll ever be a limit in how many AFL teams there are?

The NFL has 32 teams in a nation of approx 330 million people.

We already have 18 teams, so perhaps aside from a Tasmanian team, NT team, and ACT team, all within the next 20 years, there's no need to have too many teams for a long time. I think those three need to happen, so we have a truly national competition, but our population is more than 10 times smaller than the USA, so surely there will be a slowdown in the number of teams introduced if there isn't already.

What are your thoughts about the long-term of the AFL? What new teams would you like to see in which locations, and what do you think would be a sensible and feasible way to fixture a league that has 24+ teams?
What standard of footy go with the various alternatives? How low do you go? Most current clubs had used 30 players by mid season 2021.

Are you suggesting people will easily change their club allegiance as it stands today?
 

Roylion

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I can't see anymore than an absolute maximum of 22-24 teams with a maximum of 21-23 rounds in the home and away season.

If 24 teams, Tasmania, Darwin, Cairns, Canberra and a third team in each of WA and NSW.
 

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MagicGnome97

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Sep 6, 2018
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probs a tasmanian team and maybe northern territory and thats it for teams, maybe canberra as you said.

number of rounds probably stays at each team playing 22 games. hopefully no silly rule changes.
 

Coolangatta

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Oct 27, 2007
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probs a tasmanian team and maybe northern territory and thats it for teams, maybe canberra as you said.

number of rounds probably stays at each team playing 22 games. hopefully no silly rule changes.
There's going to be at least 2 or 4 more. They'll want to expand the broadcasting deal to 10 or 11 games per week so there'll likely always be an even number of teams.
 

Canberra Pear

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Tasmania, Canberra and possibly WA3 are the only teams that make sense in the next 15 years or so.

Darwin / FNQ eventually, but need a few decades of solid population growth first.

I can see NZ coming in in 30-50 years. Auckland has 1.8m people and an AFL-suitable cricket stadium in the works. Much better option than Wellington.
 

Coolangatta

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I think 22 teams should be the maximum for the AFL. Everyone plays each other once + one rivalry round.

If they're going to add more teams, introduce them to a national reserves competition, and then promote or relegate a few teams per season.

But 22 should be the top league maximum, even if the AFL is capable one day of having 40 different teams.

To clarify, the AFL reserve teams never get promoted (could you have two GWS teams in the same division, for example?), but any new club would be promoted if they finish high enough. If they don't, they stay in the reserve leagues, and the teams in the top league don't get relegated.
 

spudmaster

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We need two move Vic teams.
Takes it to twelve.
Play everyone twice, 22 round season. Six games a round.
Spread it out over Thursday night / Friday night/ Saturday / Saturday night.

Do whatever you like with the interstate sides. Maybe form their own little league comp and play it on the Sunday to keep up appearances?
 

Toump Ass

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I think 22 teams should be the maximum for the AFL. Everyone plays each other once + one rivalry round.
Why do we need a rivalry round for, and what are these rivalries anyway?

Assuming Sydney v GWS is one because New South Wales, who is the theoretical third NSW team going to have a rivalry with... the 3rd WA team because 3?
 

Coolangatta

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Why do we need a rivalry round for, and what are these rivalries anyway?

Assuming Sydney v GWS is one because New South Wales, who is the theoretical third NSW team going to have a rivalry with... the 3rd WA team because 3?
Maybe we don't, but fans are used to 2 derbies, showdowns, qclashes, battle of the bridges, and at least some big Vic double-ups a season.
 

Canberra Pear

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Maybe we don't, but fans are used to 2 derbies, showdowns, qclashes, battle of the bridges, and at least some big Vic double-ups a season.
The double up of a rivalry isn't super important, but it's a good money spinner. Rivalries already aren't binary. Would Essendon consider Carlton and Collingwood their biggest rivalries, but they'd consider each other? So a rivalry round already isn't perfect, so not a major issue for expansion teams.

The more important reason for 22 rounds is every team having an even number of home games. Both for playing fairness and planning memberships.
 

Kwality

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We need two move Vic teams.
Takes it to twelve.
Play everyone twice, 22 round season. Six games a round.
Spread it out over Thursday night / Friday night/ Saturday / Saturday night.

Do whatever you like with the interstate sides. Maybe form their own little league comp and play it on the Sunday to keep up appearances?
Thats been tried & the best footballers sometimes played in Vic, very few indigenous footballers but there you go. Perhaps you could run a knockout comp every year for a couple of spots in the national comp.
With only 8 teams, you can play 3 rounds of seven. It could be called the VFL. ;)
 

spudmaster

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Thats been tried & the best footballers sometimes played in Vic, very few indigenous footballers but there you go. Perhaps you could run a knockout comp every year for a couple of spots in the national comp.
With only 8 teams, you can play 3 rounds of seven. It could be called the VFL. ;)
I'll do the trolling if it's all the same to you!
;)
 

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BIRDBRAIN

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Aug 12, 2013
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We need two move Vic teams.
Takes it to twelve.
Play everyone twice, 22 round season. Six games a round.
Spread it out over Thursday night / Friday night/ Saturday / Saturday night.

Do whatever you like with the interstate sides. Maybe form their own little league comp and play it on the Sunday to keep up appearances?
But Hawthorn are an interstate side.
 

Walshawk

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Mar 24, 2017
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Tassie? Yep. Should come in 2025. Season already has two byes so minimal Change to the season structure.
WA3? Who would barrack for them? Freo has plenty of room to grow first. Pass.
NT? Darwin pop 148k. Very little corporate support and an unsuitable climate. Pass.
Canberra? Maybe.
20 teams would be more than enough. It is hard enough to win a premiership with 18 clubs!
Nowhere else is any chance.
 

Walshawk

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2025. Tas come in. GWS rebrand Western Sydney and play nine games Sydney, one in Newcastle and Woolongong. Hawks and Saints play 2/3 games each in Canberra. North 2/3 games Albury. GC rebrand Queensland Suns and play games in Sunshine Coast & Cairns, Townsville & Mackay (rotate every year). Dees 2/3 games NT. That gives the country good coverage. AFLW teams to do similar but even more games in regional areas.
If Canberra crowds and interest is sufficient, they come in 2031, otherwise keep 19 teams.
 

Canberra Pear

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Newcastle needs a team as it’s growing. AFL would also be keen on a third team in NSW. There’s at least 560,000 living in the Hunter region.
I'd like to see Newcastle come in before a third Sydney team. This article suggests there'll be more than 950k in the Hunter Region by 2041. It would also be within driving distance for many fans on the Central Coast, so really a market of more than 1m.

I'd like to see Tassie and Canberra as teams 19 and 20, but have GWS move one or two of their Canberra games to Newcastle to test the waters (maybe their Easter Show ones). Newcastle's already working on upgrading the ground to AFL standard dimensions.
 

Vindicater

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Jul 16, 2013
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Even if Darwin grew into a metropolis they would not get a team.

The temperature and humidity make it a nightmare of a place to play continually. Not to mention train.

The Darwin team would win all the time as they could cope with the heat.

Then they would lose in the colder climates due to a lack of fitness due to shorter training times and a lack of cold weather footy.
 

Howard Littlejohn

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May 30, 2006
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If we got to 24 teams, it would almost certainly result in a promotion/relegation system. Two divisions of 12 fits the 22 rounds that the league seems stuck with. Its not something professional Australian sport does though, and salary caps and drafts make it a lot harder to implement, so it would be a difficult sell. I'm not even sure I like it, but it beats permanent conferences.

The current 18, plus Canberra, Tasmania, two more in Perth (one Joondalup and one in the city - financially these two are much more likely to work in the medium term than ACT or Tas, even though they would start very small, and West Coast would still be a behemoth). After that it gets harder.
I would expect south-western Sydney, as western Sydney is too big a region for the Giants to properly cover on their own. That gets to 23.
A third SA team seems unlikely, Adelaide hasn't got the money that Perth has.
FNQ isn't really viable, 4 hours between Townsville and Cairns, and not much media rights value. Not enough to bother trying to "convert" anyway.
Darwin maybe, they would have to play all games at night. And grow a lot.
A couple of people have mentioned Newcastle, that would be the next single population centre by population. And maybe by economy after Canberra. But is it a market the AFL would bother with, given how difficult the much larger (and more lucrative per eyeball for media rights) Sydney market is?

Another option might be 22 teams, with 12 in the top division and ten in the second.
 

HBFlanker

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Jul 23, 2008
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Tasmania, Canberra and possibly WA3 are the only teams that make sense in the next 15 years or so.

Darwin / FNQ eventually, but need a few decades of solid population growth first.

I can see NZ coming in in 30-50 years. Auckland has 1.8m people and an AFL-suitable cricket stadium in the works. Much better option than Wellington.
Where is this being built in Auckland?
 

Canberra Pear

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Where is this being built in Auckland?
If all goes to plan, it'll be at Western Springs. Artist's rendering below.

It's supposed to be "at least 18,000", but you can see there's room for expansion if it's needed.

Currently there's speedway at the venue, but they're attempting to do a stadium shuffle. Cricket from Eden Park to Western Springs, speedway from WS to Mt Smart, and League from Mt Smart to QBE / Eden Park. Eden Park is too expensive, and a terrible shape for cricket, so that has been the big catalyst, but articles suggest potential AFL matches are at least on the mind of planners, so hopefully that means the field is big enough for AFL

That was the plan at least. I believe Covid is delaying things because I haven't read much recently.

WS-Auck.jpg
 

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