Disgruntled footy fans have sparked a social media firestorm against the AFL and the MCG, with the arena’s continuous blasting of loud music casting a pall over Friday night’s preliminary final between Geelong and Brisbane.
A whopping crowd of 77,677 saw the Cats thrash the Lions by 71 points and book a date with Sydney in next week’s grand final – and it seems virtually all of them left incensed.
Spectators present at the ‘G took issue with music being played between goals, throughout end-of-quarter breaks and before and after the game, including a rendition of Tom Jones’ ‘What’s New Pussycat?’ after a Cats goal.
The venue had already been criticised for excessive music during semi finals between the Lions and Melbourne and Collingwood and Fremantle a week earlier.
However, with the wall of sound noticeably turned up for the preliminary final, a trickle of negative comments soon became a flood.
Described as ‘noise pollution’ and ‘cringe-worthy’, it had the rare effect of uniting both the media and the paying public, with journalists Peter Ryan, Daniel Cherny and Roger Olridge joining in the social media invective.
Other fans, including Richmond historian Rhett Bartlett – son of AFL and Tigers legend Kevin – lamented the loss of the good old days, where the ‘roar of the crowd’ was the only atmosphere anyone needed or wanted.
As per the rules of the Internet, a Simpsons meme soon surfaced too, courtesy of footy analyst Ricky Mangidis.
While some fans also took issue with pre-match fireworks and light shows, deeming them unnecessary, it was the deafening music that had most up in arms, with conversation all but impossible and eardrums copping a pounding all night.
So-called ‘fan engagement’ is now commonplace on the sporting landscape, including in the Big Bash League, NBL and NRL, while it has steadily crept into the AFL in recent years.
Notably, the Lions feature post-goal music at all home games at the Gabba, with each player given their own theme tune – for instance, a goal by forward Joe Daniher triggers a rendition of Demi Lovato’s Let it Go.
While music didn’t seem to impact fans’ enjoyment of Saturday afternoon’s epic preliminary final at the SCG between Sydney and Collingwood, in Melbourne, it was a different story.
Not even fans watching from home could escape, either.
Even American-born fans slammed the AFL for following the US copybook in regards to mid-game music, stating the lack of the same in years gone by was a blessing.
The outcry leaves the league and MCG officials with a decision to make ahead of the grand final at the same venue.
With the MCG social media account copping criticism aplenty – including reportedly deleting a Tweet earlier in the week asking for music suggestions when they received a barrage of recommendations to consider shutting the sound system off instead – there will undoubtedly be pressure to dial the speakers down when the Cats face Sydney in the big dance.
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