Let cities bid for grand final
'Let cities bid for grand final'

The AFL will have to follow the lead of American football and sell the rights for cities to host the grand final, a prominent WA economist believes.

Phil Dolan, a Winthrop Professor at the University of WA, also believes the AFL should not be afraid to broaden its horizons beyond Australia.

Despite the strong growth of Australian football, it is dwarfed by US gridiron where clubs are worth on average $US1.2 billion.

The Super Bowl is the single biggest television event in the US every year, with advertisements costing $3 million for 30 seconds.

Professor Dolan said the NFL effectively auctioned the rights to the Super Bowl across the nation.

With the chances of an all-WA grand final growing, he said the AFL had to look at the NFL model.

"We're going to get to the day where the Eagles will play the Dockers in a grand final," he said.

"There's no reason why that can't be played in Perth. So the AFL will have to look at moving where the grand final is played, just like the NFL does in the US."

Professor Dolan said the advertising structure around the Super Bowl was another idea that could be transferred to the Australian football code.

The sheer interest in Super Bowl advertisements added to the event while it also brought more cash into football.

Professor Dolan said though there were doubters over the ability of the AFL to transfer to another country, other sports had moved successfully.

Baseball, an American game, is very popular in Japan.

Professor Dolan believes that beyond the pure economics of football is a game that is just growing.

"It goes beyond just the dollars and cents that's involved in the players and the games," he said.

"There's also a very strong social fabric to it. It pulls together communities, it's part of cities like Perth and Melbourne."


The West Australian

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