Tassie likes AFL.
Check that. Tassie fucking loves AFL.
The Apple Isle goes batshit crazy for ‘Straya’s native aerial ping pong sport. Despite its small size, it’s got a long, proud history with the game, has produced some of the greatest players of all time, and continues to punch well above its comparative weight in terms of TV audiences and game attendance.
Hell, the Tasmanian State Government is the actual principal sponsor of the Hawthorn Football Club.
Yet despite all of this, the greatest state in the dang country has never even been *close* to attaining an AFL team to call its own. Even despite the AFL’s recent expansion into decidedly non-AFL territory in areas like the Gold Coast or Western Sydney.
And the reason for that, the AFL again confirmed today, is because Tasmania’s relatively small economy is viewed as being unsuitable to shoulder the financial strain of a professional sporting franchise.
Or, in other words, the AFL thinks Tassie is poor as shiiiiiit.
Addressing the National Press Club today following the league’s monstrous new $2.5billion TV rights deal – signed with Seven, Telstra, and Foxtel late yesterday – AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan was quizzed on the topic, and gave answers that wouldn’t cause any proud Tasmanian to start holding their breath anytime soon.
“Tasmania deserves its own team. It just does. Their participation rates, their ratings, their attendance, they are as passionate as any state. Their numbers stack up with Victoria and in my view they deserve their own team.”“The brutal reality right now, the economy and scale of growth mean they financially can’t support their own team playing 11 games, you need $45 million.”
‘Course it’s not like the league stands to rake in TWO BILLION DOLLARS soon and is currently financially propping up a number of clubs, including its expansion babies in QLD and NSW, but that – apparently – remains beside the point.
McLachlan also asserted that the League’s preferred position at the moment is to maintain the status quo, which sees Hawthorn enjoy an extremely lucrative arrangement with the State Government to play 5 games a year in Launceston, meanwhile North Melbourne reaps a similar windfall to play 3 games in Hobart.
Expanding the competition again, for the time being, is off the table.
“With respect to expansion, I believe we have the right number of teams in the right slots for the foreseeable future and the foreseeable future is 10 to 15 years.”
Basically, this is Tasmania lookin’ at the AFL RN.
Srsly, AFL. A Tassie side running out wearing the forest green and gold. Make it bloody happen.
Photos: Robert Cianflone, Michael Dodge via Getty Images.
via The Age.