A prominent AFL figure has set out a major plan to make the game truly national, which includes introducing two more teams to the league.
Eddie McGuire presented what he calls the ‘biggest development to the game in 20 years’ on Chanel 9’s Footy Classified last night, in the hopes of achieving a 20-team league.
It would involve a serious amount of work from Tasmania, to boost the sport’s popularity and bring more people up through the sport, to ensure they can have a stand-alone team by the year 2028.
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McGuire quickly suggests that the state would need to commit $20 million annually and ask the same from the federal government ongoing.
They’d also need to look seriously at scholarships and pathway programs in order to contribute at least 6 players into the AFL draft every year up to 2028.
McGuire has suggested that a Victorian team move there in the interim but concedes that probably can’t happen.
“There is nothing more demoralising for Tasmania, and for the game in general, to have reluctant partners.
“This has to be a competition solution. So everyone plays their role. So the team that has this golden opportunity by partnering with Tasmania until 2028 needs to tender for the position.”
He’s also proposed a fixture change that would earn more broadcasting money for the endeavour.
It’s understood each of the 20 teams would play each other once, then there would be a 20th rivalry round.
The finals series would include 12 teams, meaning 15 matches up from the current nine.
He believes those changes along would add $20 million to the AFL’s TV rights deal.
McGuire then went on to say if the league was going to add a 19th team, then it makes sense to also add a 20th team.
It’s understood that team could be situated in North Queensland or the Northern Territory, which would make the game truly national.
“The AFL Commission has a once in a lifetime opportunity to finish the job and have the only real national competition in Australian sport,” McGuire said.
He spoke of a licence fee of around $100 million which could already be in the mix for another team and even suggested calling a northern team ‘the Crocodiles’.
But Queensland’s aim of hosting the 2032 Olympics also became part of the equation for Eddy.
“Billions of dollars of sporting infrastructure is going into the Olympics in Queensland.
“It will also give far more Indigenous boys and girls the opportunity to play professional sport.
“What momentum for the game in Indigenous health and recognition for boys and girls in their own backyard,” he said.
To watch the full presentation from Eddy himself, click here.