What’s the deal with Thursday night footy?
AFL Head of Broadcasting and Scheduling Marcus King has explained why we don’t see Thursday night football every single week.
The AFL has released the fixture for rounds seven and eight, with Friday night games set to open the rounds.
Fans had become accustomed to Thursday night footy after the opening three weeks and will continue to see the timeslot until the end of Round 5.
King said agreements with the AFL Players Association in particular made it tough for the league to schedule Thursday games every week.
“When we’re looking at it, for these rounds in particular, we are trying to take into account attendance and factors like that and that’s contributing to a more normal round structure at this stage,” King told SEN’s Dwayne’s World.
“When we look at the Thursday’s we do try to get them around the school holidays where we can. We find that’s a better attendance outcome.
“The other factor is we’ve gone back to the full match length this year and as part of that, the agreement we’ve got with the AFL Players Association and clubs is to revert to a minimum six-day break.
“We have got some scope for a five-day break per club during the year, but that’s quite restricted and that limits how many Thursday games we can do.”
Asked whether he would like to see Thursday night footy every weekend, King said a balance was important.
“I reckon if you asked the broadcasters, they would answer that with a yes,” he said. “I think it’s a balance and clearly we get a really strong broadcast outcome. I think a lot of fans really love Thursday’s.
“I think there is a balance there and if you have Thursday’s every week, I think it does become an attendance challenge.
“Fans and members from country areas trying to get to a Thursday game can be tough.
“There’s definitely a place for them and I really like them, but we need to find the right balance.”
While we might not see Thursday night games return in the next block of the fixture, we will likely still see them again this year.
“We are looking to get another block of Thursday (games) in the second half of the year,” King added.
– BY NIC NEGREPONTIS/ SEN