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Affordability is the key issue for Gillon McLachlan, says Bulldogs boss Peter Gordon

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AFL's future under Gillon McLachlan

With Gillon McLachlan announced as the next AFL CEO, Caroline Wilson analyses the future of AFL when Andrew Demetriou departs in June.

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Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon has urged new AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan to "radically review" policies of affordability when he officially begins in the top job.

McLachan, groomed by Andrew Demetriou to be his successor for the past three years, was announced as the new CEO at at AFL House on Wednesday.

The AFL has endured a rugged opening to the season, with ticket prices, the cost of food and drink and general affordability of matches for families one area of concern among supporters.

New AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan (L) and Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick.

New AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan (L) and Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick. Photo: Getty Images

Gordon, in charge of one of the AFL's battling clubs, said McLachlan, 40, would make alleviating these concerns a priority.

"I think the whole question of affordability of the game for the average fan is something that the AFL needs to take a whole new look at. Not just a question of ticket pricing, but the question of affordability generally in terms of access to the game," he said.

"I think we need to be encouraging people to be at the game. More and more we are competing against TV to watch our own product.

Gillon McLachlan has played a pivotal role in the creation of the league's 17th and 18th clubs.

Gillon McLachlan has played a pivotal role in the creation of the league's 17th and 18th clubs. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

"I just think we need to introduce policies that radically review the question of how easy it is for a family to take their kids to the game and enjoy it as generations of Australians have over the last 100 years."

Speaking on 3AW, Gordon said there was a "tension point" between the AFL's right to make a profit and the need to keep the sport within reach of the average family.

"We clearly haven't got that balance right. I think that will be one of the priorities for Gillon," he said.

Gordon said he had been impressed with McLachlan's negotiation skills, having worked closely with him on the equalisation sub-committee.

"I think he would have learnt a lot from working with Andrew Demetriou," he said.

6 comments

  • How much longer do we have to wait before this guy gets off the dime and starts doing something? C'mon Gillo, the honeymoon's is over, get moving.

    Commenter
    gb5
    Location
    prahran
    Date and time
    April 30, 2014, 12:48PM
    • Fix the fixture
      Fix costs getting to the footy
      Fix the farcical rule changes which means the game is unrecognisable from what it once was.

      Commenter
      Jez
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      April 30, 2014, 12:56PM
      • Number 1 priority has to be the bringing forward of Etithads ownership to the AFL. Remind me - Just how did a Sth Australian president of the day sell off VFL park claiming Etihad replaces it, yet doesn't own it??????

        Commenter
        Michael
        Location
        Warrandyte
        Date and time
        April 30, 2014, 1:05PM
        • People will always whinge about the cost of the game, fairly or otherwise. Sadly, the problem is with a fixed amount of product to sell and a growing population the demand rises, and the prices rise. I can't see the AFL doing anything meaningful to restrain inflation, especially not with a privileged private schoolboy in charge.

          Commenter
          Nick
          Date and time
          April 30, 2014, 1:09PM
          • The "cost" of attending AFL matches is more than just the money we are forced to spend.

            We also "pay" by having to endure ceaseless commercialism and other ridiculous gimmicks that some fool has decided are necessary for the "event". Guess what, most real football fans don't care about the "event" costs forced down our throats and are choosing to stay away in ever increasing numbers.

            If the AFL want to continue down the path of pandering to "event goers" that cannot be relied upon for long-term support then fine, in a couple of decades the AFL will just degrade to be one of the many noisy sports entertainment products clamouring for the low attention-span market.

            If McLachlan wants to make his mark then this might be the first issue to be addressed.

            Commenter
            DC
            Location
            Melbourne
            Date and time
            April 30, 2014, 1:21PM
            • Wow -- born into money; married into much more money; AFL CEO at the age of 40; tall, dark and handsome. I hate this bloke ;-)

              Commenter
              Jem
              Location
              Melbourne
              Date and time
              April 30, 2014, 1:35PM
              Comments are now closed

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