AFL has rethink on grand final acts
Damp squib: Meat Loaf performs during the 2011 AFL grand final. Photo: Getty Images
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has conceded that Meat Loaf's disappointing performance at the 2011 grand final had hurt the event's reputation and said the league would almost certainly make changes to the format this September.
Conceding that the rapturous reviews from Monday's Super Bowl - Madonna performed at half-time - had drawn further attention to the AFL's biggest day, Demetriou said he accepted the massive significance the public attached to the grand final day spectacle.
''People do care,'' said Demetriou. ''Despite what some people say, it's our day and it's our brand and what took place last year has been a distraction. We saw one of the great grand finals of all time, but the entertainment was a distraction.''
A review of the grand final entertainment could see the AFL push its headline musical act back to half-time and it is also considering moving the staging back to the centre of the ground.
''I watched the Super Bowl and it was a great game with two fantastic quarterbacks,'' said Demetriou, ''and it had some amazing entertainment. Obviously when the game starts later and is held at night, you can do some fantastic things with lighting, but that is a non-negotiable for us. We play our grand final in the daytime.
''I'm a Madonna fan and I had very high expectations and she did not disappoint. But we are not capable of spending that sort of money and that won't change.
''But our events team is doing some work on grand final day. We're looking at two or three options where the entertainment is concerned and whether we do something pre-match or half-time, or should we move it back to the middle of the ground. We understand it's an important part of the day.''
Meat Loaf received nationwide scorn for his vocally challenged performance and attacked the AFL for its handling of his performance. He was reportedly paid $600,000 and later said he would discourage any international performer from working with the AFL.
''There was enough due diligence done on Meat Loaf and we worked with a great promoter in Michael Gudinski,'' said Demetriou. ''It was the execution which was not what we expected.''