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AFL Debt: out of control.


bush demon

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Looks like the AFL is going broke on the quiet. The figures quoted in this article mark the death knell of this code when the next economic bubble comes along. By the way, it's Australian Rules, not "AFL", that is an unfortunate and derogatory product name, (giving its lesser cousin NRL equal billing) In its haste to ward off the round ball code we got into 'start-ups' such as Brisbane, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney which are essentially parasites living off the host organism. The expansion clubs have given us ugly jumpers and taken away local players. Apart from the drop kick, the biggest thing our code had going for it was its local and parochial flavour.

http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/afl-clubs-delusional-says-west-coast-chief-20150317-1m1f8t.html

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Parochialism be damned. This is our indigenous game, and should be Australia wide. Expansion clubs are part of that. They are going to absolutely suck up funds for some time. Unless the AFL is prepared to redistribute funds by taking from the rich and giving to the poor, it's going to be a progressively two tiered competition, which is NEVER going to draw crowds and support in new territories. They just don't get it though.

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I think it is reasonable for the AFL to try to expand if the rich clubs see the benefit to the code and are prepared to help stump up the money for it.

But they have not done a good job in western Sydney. For example, while wheeling in Sheedy might appear to be a 'highlight' to people in somewhere like Melbourne, it isn't clear he was the right person to inspire AFL take-up in a region where he was unknown. Also the AFL should have forced GWS to poach some experienced players rather than rely on youth - we know that doesn't work if you want to win games. Of course knowing the AFL, they would have got them to poach them from our very limited supply.

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I don't have an issue with expansion but you should expand your business when there is a logic to do so. Maybe someone can correct me but it feels like GWS was basically set up on a whim. Where were the months of preparation when the AFL should have been in schools promoting the code? Why weren't there Swans games being played out at Blacktown for two years preceding the Giants establishment? It seems like a poorly thought out vanity project.
As good as Demetriou has been to the MFC (I believe he never wanted the tanking investigation to go ahead and had his hand forced by Brock's admissions), some of his decisions such as the GWS expansion and his handling of the Essendon doping case will leave a legacy that will be hard to erase.

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No need, the AFL still make a nice little profit.

Misleading title.

Agreed. Escalating debt - even if it's extreme - does not equate to going broke. You can be in the most debt you've ever been in and also be in the best financial position you've ever been in. Not saying that's the case here as I don't know if it is, but you can't just assume that because there is a lot of debt, the AFL is in trouble.

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Parochialism be damned. This is our indigenous game, and should be Australia wide. Expansion clubs are part of that. They are going to absolutely suck up funds for some time. Unless the AFL is prepared to redistribute funds by taking from the rich and giving to the poor, it's going to be a progressively two tiered competition, which is NEVER going to draw crowds and support in new territories. They just don't get it though.

Agree with this 'Webber', I'm not sure the locations of the expansion clubs was well chosen though.

Equalisation is the biggest issue facing the game and whilst it's nice to have cheaper chips at the footy this is a little like fiddling while Rome is burning. Smoke and mirrors to me.

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Giants was /is a flawed exercise. Does the AFL have enough sense to move them and reboot ...or just pizz money against the wall in egotistic stupidity.

GWS doesnt help that balance sheet.

Im not sure actually whether the reliance upon huge/super huge payments for the telly will be sound.

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I think it is reasonable for the AFL to try to expand if the rich clubs see the benefit to the code and are prepared to help stump up the money for it.

But they have not done a good job in western Sydney. For example, while wheeling in Sheedy might appear to be a 'highlight' to people in somewhere like Melbourne, it isn't clear he was the right person to inspire AFL take-up in a region where he was unknown. Also the AFL should have forced GWS to poach some experienced players rather than rely on youth - we know that doesn't work if you want to win games. Of course knowing the AFL, they would have got them to poach them from our very limited supply.

Players like Scully/Davis/Mumford/Shaw/Griffen? I don't think it was lack of trying. Everyone including us thought Scully was destined to be the next Judd.

They had a wish of players they targeted including Buddy, look how that went.

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It isn't quite as bad as it looks: "While half the total debt is regarded by the clubs as "good debt", such as money owed on profitable gaming venues, Nisbett said" ie there are tangible, profitable assets supporting that $50m

Notwithstanding this, his basic point is very valid - that a lot of clubs are fooling themselves and aren't viable, spending money knowing the AFL will backroll them. I doubt the 'watered down' Equalisation package will really help the 'poorer' clubs very much. I don't know what the answer is. I do know that if the AFL signs 10 year TV rights, (predicated on 18 teams) to maximise AFL revenue (the basic KPI for Gil's bonus/remuneration) then the problem will continue.

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Equalization is total BS until and unless the participating clubs share the revenue from each game, after deducting running expenses. It takes two to tango. After all when Melbourne play the Drug Cheats at the G it is always their home game so they scoop the pool. I know Eddie has generously given us home rights on QB but when the "big clubs" continually get home gigs at the G they only get richer. Nobody has ever tried to justify why one "home club" at a shared ground should take all.

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No need, the AFL still make a nice little profit.

Misleading title.

I appreciate that, I'm still waiting to see what Gill brings to the table. Right now he needs to sort out the mess that is "drugs in AFL". 1+ million a year to do what exactly.

I'm aware CEO'S that generate large turn over for their company take home big dollars but right now he needs to step up.

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Agree with this 'Webber', I'm not sure the locations of the expansion clubs was well chosen though.

Equalisation is the biggest issue facing the game and whilst it's nice to have cheaper chips at the footy this is a little like fiddling while Rome is burning. Smoke and mirrors to me.

Yep to both.
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If the AFL had the heart of the game as their absolute first priority, we would have an AFL team in Tasmania, and in Canberra, and the lack of profitability would be born by redistributions from other areas/clubs. What we have however is a 'business' approach as the first priority, where profit and growth growth growth of that profit is primary. There is a begrudging acceptance that clubs need to be helped, prices adjusted, and the supporters who go live to games given a modicum of consideration, as against the TV audience, which has greater power than it should.

This is not to say the AFL don't act well in some areas, such as gender issues and indigenous engagement, and they are not the worst national sporting organisation by some margin, but a focus on 'The Game' and the people who love it should be held above all else. That's not about money.

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Quoting Bush Demon in the O P

" By the way, it's Australian Rules, not "AFL", that is an unfortunate and derogatory product name, "

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I'm pretty sure the official name of the sport we follow is "Australian Football", not "Australian Rules", which is often shortened to the derogatory moniker "Rules".

In the quoted article, I think it's correct to talk about "AFL" ,since it is referring to that business specifically, as distinct from the game in general.

I find it slightly annoying when people talk about themselves playing, or having played "AFL", when they mean they played Australian football. They didn't ever reach the standard of AFL, an important distinction.

I like our game to be called by its correct name, Australian Football", because it distinguishes it from that scourge of all sports, Soccer(English football), and the various rugby codes, and gridiron, where foot skills are a very minor component of the sport.

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There is simple logic to the decision to have a second team in each of Queensland and New South Wales. And that's to ensure there's a game in each of those two States each weekend. That then allows for a significant boost in TV rights revenue which then flows through to the 18 clubs. In short, without this expansion, the dollars flowing from TV rights would be significantly less and clubs like ours, the Bulldogs, North Melbourne and St Kilda might not survive.

The argument is often made that Tasmania would be a better location for a team than GWS. Undoubtedly it would for community support. But it would do absolutely nothing for TV revenue because not only is it a small market, but the Tasmanians are already watching AFL, so there would be no net financial gain.

Whether the implementation of the Suns and Giants teams has been well executed is a different question. However, no-one in the AFL would have expected that the Suns and Giants would be making money in their early years.

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Too many Victorian teams, I'd cull 2 to start with. North and Bulldogs would be gone tomorrow.

Totally agree, 2 Vic teams should go (altho don't know it would be North or Bulldogs). They won't while CEO of AFL remuneration is based on Total Revenue. They need 9 games a week (18 teams) for the next TV rights. If as mooted the next TV rights will be for 10 years there will be 18 teams for quite some time.

Unfortunately, there will be very little change in the top 8 and bottom 8 in that time.

Edited by Lucifer's Hero
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Too many Victorian teams, I'd cull 2 to start with. North and Bulldogs would be gone tomorrow.

So you couldn't give a rats a*** about their tens of thousands of members, and many more supporters? Why them? Try putting yourself in a Doggies supporters shoes when you're told your club is now dust. Selfishness defined.

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