AFL Grand Final: Shift to night match would be terrible for fans
In the Herald Sun last week was an article about Channel Seven’s heavyweight David Leckie wanting a night grand final for the AFL.
The thought of a night grand final infuriates me. I love grand final day more than Christmas Day – even when my beloved Hawks lose.
I have grown up watching the grand final at a barbecue, surrounded by friends and family. Being a day event it brings people together; it was the one day my mum really got into the footy, chose a team and cheered like crazy.
40 people watching one screen, yelling and screaming like mad. At half time the kids (and the ‘bigger kids’) could go outside and kick the footy or score tries (depending if it was league or Aussie Rules grand final) and then come back in for the conclusion.
Festival atmosphere, emotion charged, glory to the winner. I love it and yearn for it right now, even though it’s still another 48 week away.
There’s one other factor at play – the weather. I firmly believe the grand final will be of a higher standard under the sun. The sun provides energy, gives players an extra 20% of life. The quality is simply better under the sun than stars.
Sure it could rain any year, but to me there is nothing more glorious than seeing the sun beat down while Stuart Dew nails two goals in a matter of minutes off one step, such as he did in 2008 in the third quarter. He could have slipped over during a night grand final with dew on the ground (pardon the pun).
The memories we’re left with at the end of the year, with the sun shining on the winners as they celebrate, is all part of what makes the event so valuable.
The TV executives would prefer to have 40 people watching 40 TVs (one each) as opposed to 40 people watching one TV. This would help ratings, which leads to more advertising. More importantly perhaps, there is less chance during the advertisements of us turning to the person next to us in the break to chat.
A night grand final has a higher probability of us sitting in front of the TV like zombies than bothering to get together with friends for an entirely different experience.
The value of a day grand final means so much to me. Does it mean much to other fans as it does to me? I think this is going to be tested over the next decade.
In the article, Andrew Demetriou said the grand final will not be switched to night on his watch, which comforted me, but I still think the threat is there that his successor may not care as much/see as much value in the festival as Andrew does.
Ultimately the game belongs to fans, not TV executives, so what we want should rule. I have an idea that I want to rebound of the Roar community, so please respond with full, frank and fearless feedback.
Would anyone else be infuriated if the AFL grand final was moved to being under the stars as opposed to under the sun?
Does anyone else believe that this threat is real?