chief executive Gillon McLachlan has suggested the Grand Final could be moved to a twilight slot this year due to increasing demand from the fans.
The star time of the AFL Grand Final has long been a hot topic of debate and with the exception of the affected 2020 and 2021 seasons the decider has remained in its traditional 2.30pm slot.
But that could be about to change amid a growing push for a later start time from sections of the fans and declining TV audience for last year’s Grand Final.
‘As someone who is a traditionalist […] I have noticed just out there that people are a bit more receptive to having a look at something else,’ McLachlan said on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 on Tuesday.
‘I’ve taken it, this job, seriously.This is their [the fans’] game.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has hinted the Grand Final could move to a twilight slot this year
The AFL decider was back in his traditional 2:30pm slot last year, but viewing figures for the clash between Geelong and Sydney declined sharply
‘Sometimes you have to make change you don’t want and sometimes it’s just as easy to listen.
‘I have noticed that [twilight] view becoming more prevalent in recent times.There is always consideration [over the start time] otherwise why else would you review it?’
OzTam ratings released last year showed that 2.179 million people watched Geelong thrash across the five-city metropolitan audience.
Just over three million viewers tuned in 2021 when the clash between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs kicked off at 7.15pm AEST.
An average of 2.979 million viewers watched the 2020 premiership decider between Richmond and Geelong, which began at 6.30pm AEST.
Significantly, because of Covid-19 restrictions, both matches were held away from the Grand Final’s traditional home at the MCG.
The 2020 decider was held at the Gabba, while the 2021 Grand Final was held at Optus Stadium.
Prior to the 2022 Grand refferal gacor Final, the , starting at 4.30pm AEST but ultimately decided against it.
McLachlan said the decision to keep the AFL decider in its traditional slot was due to the desire to ‘return to the footy rituals and routines’ after two years of Covid-19 disruptions.
‘That return-to-rituals principle underpinned our decision making in ratifying a traditional start time – the prestige, nostalgia and atmosphere of the day Grand Final is something we all know and love,’ he said.
The 2020 Grand Final, which was held in Brisbane because of Covid-19 restriction and began at 6:30pm AEST, was watched by an average of 2.979 million viewers
In 2021, Covid-19 restrictions meant the AFL season decider was held at Optus Stadium in Perth and began at 7:15pm AEST drawing an average viewership of over three millions
Speaking after the TV ratings were released last year, Channel 7 boss James Warburton admitted he had been pushing for a later start to the game.
However, he also acknowledged the broadcaster would always defer to the AFL when it comes to make a decision.
‘The numbers and comparisons are clear for all to see to support a prime time AFL Grand Final,’
‘It’s a national game and a twilight or prime-time bounce will maximise the audience for the code.’