In one of the bravest sporting administration moves you’re ever likely to see, the AFL executive has boldly defied pressure from no one to reject the proposed twilight Grand Final, instead opting to hold this year’s season-ending clash at around the same always has.
League boss Gillon McLachlan last night confirmed this year’s Grand Final will begin at 2:30pm, defying some speculation the AFL would push the big game to a twilight time slot despite complete ambivalence from fans.
At the AFL Men’s season launch, McLachlan asserted that while this year’s Grand Final will begin at 2:30pm, despite the insane amounts of speculation to the contrary over the off season, he could not guarantee it would stay in the traditional afternoon timeslot beyond this year.
The Toyota AFL Grand Final is the highpoint of the Australian sporting calendar. A magical day for the competing clubs, footy fans and our industry as a whole.
While we will continue to explore the possibility of a later start time in the future, it was recommended and ratified today that the traditional 2:30pm start time will remain for the 2019 Toyota AFL Grand Final.
So brave. So mighty. So courageous.
The Grand Final has, for its entire 120-year existence, been held between 2:15pm and 3:00pm on a Saturday. Prior to 2001, the game was largely contested at 2:50pm. Since then, the first bounce has taken place at exactly 2:30pm sharp.
The AFL Commission today ratified the recommendation that the start time for the 2019 Toyota AFL Grand Final remains in the day timeslot. The bounce of the ball will be at 2:30pm on Saturday 28 September. pic.twitter.com/71lDnet4iI
— AFL House (@AFL_House) March 14, 2019
Unsurprisingly, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire remains one of the few public figures in favour of the twilight Grand Final, a move which would allow TV networks to sell extra hours of premium advertising benefiting production companies like JAM TV, who produces a large amount of prominent football programming for both major commercial networks and is very coincidentally chaired by McGuire.
Following McLachlan’s announcement, McGuire again doubled down on his support of the twilight Grand Final, citing – and we quote – “entertainment.”
If you want to have any entertainment you need to have the twilight Grand Final.
If you want to be the number one rating show in Australia, you have got to have it on in prime time. It’s the whole idea of prime time. It means more people see it.
While it seems inevitable that the league will eventually switch to a twilight time slot for the Grand Final despite fans’ repeated objections, this year’s game is now set for 2:30pm on Saturday, September 28th.
Here we bloody go.