AFL sticks with day grand final for another season

·2-min read

The AFL has again resisted the urge to switch to a lucrative twilight grand final, electing to play this year's decider in the traditional day timeslot.

The AFL Commission ended the yearly debate when it met on Wednesday, locking in a 2.30pm start for the grand final to be played at the MCG on September 30.

A whopping 73 per cent of those polled in an AFL Fans Association survey in March want the AFL grand final to remain an afternoon affair.

Outgoing AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has held firm in his preference for a day grand final as he prepares to hand the reins over to Andrew Dillon.

"The Commission will continue to review the start time for future grand finals," McLachlan said on Wednesday.

"The AFL's role is to deliver the best possible game experience, both for fans at the ground and for the millions watching the broadcast, and together with our broadcast partner the Seven Network, we remain committed to creating an amazing event, both in the build-up during the week and culminating in 100,000 fans at the MCG.

"The fans this season have been incredible with more than three million fans attending matches across the first nine rounds - the biggest and loudest crowds in the history of the game to this point of the season - and come the last Saturday in September, it will be by far the biggest event of the year."

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AFL experimented with night grand finals in 2020 at the Gabba and 2021 at Perth's Optus Stadium.

After serious pressure from fans and members, the AFL decided to revert to an afternoon decider last year as Geelong thrashed Sydney at the MCG.

Seven West Media boss James Warburton has consistently argued for a night grand final.

Warburton renewed his push for a night spectacle following a ratings slump in television and streaming ratings during last year's one-sided grand final.