What would it take for you to stop watching AFL?

greatwhiteshark

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 3, 2007
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I find it funny that people say this yet there is still so much 'how good were the 70s and 80s?' sentiment around. I'm sure Hawthorn and Carlton supporters old enough to remember would like to see a return to those days but what about St Kilda? Their best finish in the 80s was 9 wins, 13 losses and 10th in a 14 team comp. After making the 1982 GF Richmond didn't play finals again until 1995. Melbourne were trash until the late 80s also. Etc.

Seven of the 11 VFL clubs in Victoria were insolvent when WC joined in 1986; Fitzroy, Geelong, Footscray, Collingwood, Melbourne, North Melbourne and Richmond. Hard to fathom for some of those clubs today. That left Carlton, Hawthorn, Essendon who were the ones spending the cash and winning all the flags and somehow St Kilda who I assume just didn't spend any money at all because they were terrible. It was a two tier comp with clubs tin rattling to keep the doors open.

Whatever system is employed there are always great stories in sport. Leicester won the EPL, that's not supposed to happen. Greece won Euro 2004. The moneyball Oakland A's won their division. The 2008 Boston Celtics traded almost their entire roster to create a big 3 and won a championship. The Toronto Raptors gambled on trading for Kawhi Leonard knowing they would likely lose him after one season and they won a championship. Etc. For a long time Manchester United had a monopoly on the Premier League. 5 wins in the 90s, 6 in the 00s, 2 in 3 years over 2011-2013 and now with all the resources in the world seem to be steadily getting worse. Four times outside the the top 6 in 6 years after not finishing worse than 3rd for over 20 years. Soccer is a different world though because placings matter. In the last two years Burnley and Wolves have finished 7th which got them into Europa League qualifying. That's huge for those teams. Just playing teams like Man United and Liverpool etc. is something to remember if you support Swansea or Blackpool or someone.

AFL club fans do fall into the trap a bit of believing that the 18 teams currently running around have some right to compete at the highest level of the sport forever when the reality is AFL stage management keeps things as they are. If there weren't AFL owned teams and shared if not AFL owned venues, special distributions to clubs etc. the league would look very different.
Good post. I find it funny that anyone thinks there will be a salary cap in 20-40 years time. Player greed will eventually wipe out the cap or at the very least make the cap so huge it will bring some clubs to their knees.
Players are forever going to keep asking for more and that concept for more won't have ceiling eventually. If that means less clubs do you really think the players will care.
Within 10 years the average AFL player will be getting 500-600k per season. TV will only pay so much so that means clubs will need to find it. How will they do that? Double or triple your membership cost?
AFL is no different to any other sport in the world, players are going to want to be paid very highly and while we may think they are well rewarded now the simple truth is that on a world scale they are grossly underpaid for their time and effort they put in and also for the media attention they have to put up with.
More more more is going to happen and it will happen fast over the next few decades, there is going to be fallout from this. 18 clubs in the AFL in 40 years will not be the case and it may look like closer to 12 clubs.
 

Scotland

TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
54,605
58,033
AFL Club
West Coast
Good post. I find it funny that anyone thinks there will be a salary cap in 20-40 years time. Player greed will eventually wipe out the cap or at the very least make the cap so huge it will bring some clubs to their knees.
Players are forever going to keep asking for more and that concept for more won't have ceiling eventually. If that means less clubs do you really think the players will care.
Within 10 years the average AFL player will be getting 500-600k per season. TV will only pay so much so that means clubs will need to find it. How will they do that? Double or triple your membership cost?
AFL is no different to any other sport in the world, players are going to want to be paid very highly and while we may think they are well rewarded now the simple truth is that on a world scale they are grossly underpaid for their time and effort they put in and also for the media attention they have to put up with.
More more more is going to happen and it will happen fast over the next few decades, there is going to be fallout from this. 18 clubs in the AFL in 40 years will not be the case and it may look like closer to 12 clubs.
Be interesting to see what the priorities of the AFLPA really are.

Currently there are around 800 players getting paid $370k p.a. on average. Those 800 players allow the 207 game season the AFL sells to the broadcasters. Go back to the last season of 12 teams (i.e. a proper H&A comp) and there were only 132 games in total. Take away a third of the games and the broadcasters are going to take away a third of the cash, give or take.

Really there are plenty of filler games no one is really interested in each week. If you dropped back to a schedule of Friday night, 3 x Saturday, 2 x Sunday and 1 x floating Thursday/Monday then you would still fetch a high price for the rights. That would mean 7 games a round so 14 teams, dropping one of the Saturday games would take it to 6 and 12 respectively. Would the AFLPA vote for a up to a third of the teams to go (and consequently a third of the players) if it meant a fat pay cheque for the players that remained?

The AFL get $418m a year for the current model. Go to my 12 game model and they might get say $350m factoring in the value going up against the reduction in content. Eventually you'd reach a point where the AFLPA would say 'well under this model the average salary is $600k not $370k, but the bottom third just drop out' and self interest would take over. There are state leagues full of players who get nothing. Do Paddy Dangerfield and co. care enough about the worst 50 or 100 or 200 players in the AFL to cap their income at $1m a year instead of $2-3m?

IMO the AFL will keep pushing for more teams as long as they can because for the time being more teams = more games = more money coming in from the broadcasters. That's who the AFL care about. If and when the broadcasters want a better quality product, look out.
 

Monument Hills

Club Legend
Dec 12, 2017
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pay TV. If I can't see my team on free to air I will probably stop watching.

And that's not a rant at the AFL, dummy spit, etc. and I understand many following around the country do pay so they can see their team play each week - good on you. But I can't see myself doing it. That's just the reality for me. I never played AFL and came from other sports but got into AFL because of it's very good coverage on free to air TV. If that coverage goes, I might go to the odd game at a pub, watch at a friend's house, but it won't be a regular thing.
 

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Lsta062

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 15, 2014
12,520
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Change the record mate. You got smashed in a prelim, you were shite. And that so called best team got smashed by 10 goals the only time they played WC that year. A prelim was over reaching.
No it wasn’t “over-reaching” because Richmond won more games and had a better percentage than West Coast. A single 47 point H&A loss does not define a team’s season as there are aberrations.

West Coast got thrashed 50-1 by Essendon at home at a stage. Were West Coast worse than Essendon and lucky they didn’t come across them in finals? No. Adelaide thrashed Richmond in the 2017 H&A season by 76 points (much more than West Coast did) and did they beat Richmond in the GF? No.
 

Coaster2012

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 10, 2012
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No it wasn’t “over-reaching” because Richmond won more games and had a better percentage than West Coast. A single 47 point H&A loss does not define a team’s season as there are aberrations.

West Coast got thrashed 50-1 by Essendon at home at a stage. Were West Coast worse than Essendon and lucky they didn’t come across them in finals? No. Adelaide thrashed Richmond in the 2017 H&A season by 76 points (much more than West Coast did) and did they beat Richmond in the GF? No.
The context of the conversation is lost on you.
 

legend166

Premium Platinum
Apr 21, 2007
10,446
8,733
Sydney
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Sydney
I watch a lot less non-Swans games than ever before so I'm not that far away. If the Swans were exposed in some sort of systemic cheating scandal or something it would probably make it pretty difficult to continue to support them, so if that happens I'd probably give up following the league on a substantial basis.
 

MadMundy

Club Legend
Mar 29, 2019
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Nothing. Even in the very unlikely scenario that Fremantle folded, I would still watch just for the enjoyment of the game and not support a team.
 

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Rusty Brookes

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 9, 2001
5,051
5,227
Preston
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Hawthorn not being in it would probably do it. I've watched Hawthorn when we were kings of the world and when we were whipping boys so results don't come into the equation. I've seen rules change basically every year - coming up to my 40th year of following the sport, so I'm OK with the endless tinkering.

I have entertained this rather perverse fantasy where the AFL goes full expansion mode and they ditch a heap of Victorian teams (Hawthorn included), who all enter a revamped VFL, creating a bitching second tier competition. I've found myself watching the English Football League a bit lately rather than the EPL and I'm digging watching the rusted on supporters in the crowd and I suppose I see a bit of myself in them. I would be there watching the VFL.

But, I'm an addict. I would try and not watch the AFL and fail miserably anyway.
 

GoGeta

Team Captain
Mar 4, 2013
302
328
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AFL Club
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I'm almost done with it, the sports a shadow of the thing I loved watching as a kid.

There's more interest in charity campaigns and political messaging inside each game than the actual game it self.

If Melbourne somehow scrapes a flag I reckon that'd be it.
I would have thought most people were more annoyed by the one hundred gambling adds in, between and around each game.
That and the endless statistical dribble and football cliches which are equally vomit worthy.
 

Steven Gerrard

All Australian
May 27, 2012
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Only one of them can keep you awake for the duration of the game too. Hint - the one without 0-0 draws.
Like I said, without the safety net of finals to fall back on, you basically have to win every game you play. Every game essentially becomes a grand final. Even a draw can be costly. So whilst 0-0 may appear dull to the ignorant, it can be as nerve wracking AF because teams always try to get at late winner. And if it does end 0-0, it's usually a case of 2 points dropped than 1 point gained.
 

Blackhawk42

Premiership Player
Feb 5, 2018
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The tribalism within footy starts with the 'us against them' mentality. As a fan, every year is your year and your boys are going to bring it home. Trading STARS (the trading of list cloggers who can't crack senior level is a different scenario in my opinion) essentially means that 'us against them' becomes 'we becomes them'. That tears at the fabric of what makes the game so special.

People can point to how this works 'successfully' in the NBA all they want, but it's only ever viewed at surface level. Over there you have franchises and more often than not those with the bigger paycheque will reap the most reward. This has been accepted over the evolution of that league. Also, watch next time the final buzzer hits in an NBA game and how quickly the crowd gets out there. I would argue a huge majority are there to try and get on the kiss cam at half time or watch a bloke win a dunk contest. Once the game is over, win or lose, they are in a race to beat the traffic. They aren't there to sing the song or get a high five from the boys afterwards. If a marquee player leaves mid-season you kids just changing teams because they love the individual more than the game, or 45 other home and away matches to follow afterwards and forget about it.

Clubs in the AFL aren't going to thrive long term if their stars can pull on different colours the week after a game. Patty Cripps has been the only shining light for Carlton for a while now. If he left to join West Coast mid-2018 and won a premiership how would you feel as a 9 year old or life-long Blues supporter? I am incredibly fortunate to have supported a successful side, but if Luke Hodge had left Hawthorn in 2004 to join Port Adelaide on their quest to a flag while we languished at the foot of the ladder, I can't guarantee that the passion for my club would have survived long enough to join BigFooty and discuss all topics football 15 years later. I could have very easily fallen out of love with the game. Something I fear will happen should mid-season trades be introduced.
 

Steven Gerrard

All Australian
May 27, 2012
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One is financed by organised crime. AFL isn’t.

One is so mindlessly moronic that even you can understand it, AFL isn’t.
One is called the most skilful code by many of those mindless morons, when truth is the sport is the most basic there is, such that even a two year old can kick and dribble. The other has skills that we sadly underestimate. Bouncing while sprinting, high marks, tackling, handballing, kicking a 60m punt.

One leads to brain damage in our kids, because the sport encourages contact of the head to the ball. Footy doesn’t.

One has full stadiums of 15,000. Only 8 stadia in the Uk have a capacity of over 50,000. The other has massive attendances and club memberships considering the population.

One is called soccer, not football. You could call it unAustralian football, I guess.

Sucks to be you.
"One is financed by organised crime. AFL isn’t."

Financed by organised crime? Even if you're right, it just goes to show, the EPL appeals to all walks of life. Criminals tend to do business where there is money to be made. The AFL makes peanuts in comparison.

"One is so mindlessly moronic that even you can understand it, AFL isn’t."

Meh, be more specific.

"One is called the most skilful code by many of those mindless morons, when truth is the sport is the most basic there is, such that even a two year old can kick and dribble. The other has skills that we sadly underestimate. Bouncing while sprinting, high marks, tackling, handballing, kicking a 60m punt."

Watching players bend a ball around a wall and beat a keeper top left corner vs watching a player miss from 20 out dead in front with goals that are infinitely high.

"One leads to brain damage in our kids, because the sport encourages contact of the head to the ball. Footy doesn’t."

How many concussions do we see in the AFL compared to the EPL? I have not checked the stats but don't pretend Aussie Rules is immune to head injuries. Honestly it sucks to be you.

"One has full stadiums of 15,000. Only 8 stadia in the Uk have a capacity of over 50,000. The other has massive attendances and club memberships considering the population."

English clubs in the top flight own their stadiums, clubs in the top flight here barely have enough coins to make a down payment to buy a paddock with some chairs running around the boundary. AFL clubs are forced to ground rationalise. One day it's Richmond's home ground, next day it's Collingwood, depending on the CONTRIVED draw that the AFL puts out. Would you share your house with your worst enemy? And yet you use the adjective "mindlessly moronic". Go figure. Not even going to bother going hard on you regarding your claim about popularity. But as a quick reference, I checked Facebook. AFL, 1M followers. Prem 43M, La Liga, 57M, Collingwood 362K, Barcelona 103M, Christiano Ronaldo 122M. One "sokkah" player alone has more followers than every single AFL related page on FB, and that includes fan pages that the anonymous start up. If China was allowed to use FB, the numbers would be higher. If you knew the popularity of this sport around the world, the numbers would make your head spin. The world is now considered a single market so there is no excuse for the AFL in lagging well behind.

"One is called soccer, not football. You could call it unAustralian football, I guess."

Association Football and Australian Rules.
 

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