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Scheduling could be reason for dwindling AFL crowds

Aussie rules football club bosses have criticised the scheduling of Friday night games, arguing that families are put off attending because of the late start times.

They say that this is contributing to dwindling crowd numbers which could affect Australian Football League (AFL) club revenue, as well as the atmosphere at each ground.

According to a report from The Age, a number of club bosses have said the 7:50pm kick-offs are too late, as the games would finish at nearly 11pm.

This lateness makes it harder for families or commuters attending games at metropolitan venues. It also means that some fans are likely to consume more alcohol, potentially threatening a family-friendly atmosphere at grounds.

The Age conducted an anonymous survey, asking club bosses on their views about how to bring back crowds to AFL. Attendances are currently at their lowest since 1996, excluding the two recent COVID-impacted seasons.

The survey identified a number of ways in which the league could bring back fans, according to the club bosses. Seven of them suggested earlier Friday night games, while other suggestions included streamlining the ticketing process; bringing down the price of food and drink; having more consideration for local sport; potentially making games shorter and enhancing the fan experience.

Some 16 clubs responded to the survey and also said that the lingering effects of COVID-19 were partly to blame for lower attendances.

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