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Fan initiatives could have fresh face in Travis Auld

Gold Coast chief executive Travis Auld is looming as one fresh face in Gillon McLachlan's new look executive team as the new AFL boss sets in place a long-term plan to bring more fans to the football.

Not only is McLachlan devising a more traditional football fixture for 2015 but he is driving with the strong support of the AFL Commission a push to make AFL games a more enjoyable experience for the public from the time of ticket purchase through to the journey home from stadiums.

The Age understands Auld has been sounded out by McLachlan with a view to bringing on board his expertise in building a fan base from scratch and overseeing the construction and running of an award-winning stadium which remains totally controlled by the club.

The early purchase of Etihad Stadium remains a priority target of the AFL as it becomes increasingly frustrated with the costs incurred by fans at both Etihad and the MCG. Auld's experience would prove invaluable should the purchase become a reality.

As part of a series of fan-friendly initiatives, McLachlan is also expected to scrap the unpopular and overly complex variable ticket pricing with a view to simplifying and rebranding the controversial 2014 league policy of pricing games and seating in line with demand and popularity.

Sunday night football will be removed from the 2015 fixture and the AFL will also minimise or remove completely Monday night games from next year's calendar with no more than a small handful of Thursday night games and as few as two next season.

The AFL has conceded that it deliberately experimented with the fixture this year in a move which appeased its broadcasters and disenchanted fans. And the future directive from McLachlan and the Commission is to prioritise attendances firmly in front of TV ratings next season.

The issue came to a head publicly with the disastrously low Sunday night attendance at the Collingwood-Carlton clash recntly at the MCG, prompting Collingwood chief Eddie McGuire to demand six-figure compensation from the AFL and an immediate concession from McLachlan the following day.

While the AFL continually points out that attendances across Australia remain strong, fans in the game's heartland are staying away from football in disturbingly high numbers.

After 16 rounds, average attendances at Victorian games – the MCG, Etihad and Simonds Stadium – are down more than 5000 per match from this time last year.

The AFL will also study the cost of booking tickets, transport and parking – something Auld has dealt with at Metricon Stadium with positive results – along with the vexed question of food and beverage costs at AFL grounds and restrictive attempts by stadiums like Etihad which prevents fans from bringing their own food into the football.

Auld has refused to discuss his professional future with the The Age but the view of his club is that he will remain with the Suns until the end of the season whether or not he chooses to join the AFL's executive team. He contemplates his future at a time the Suns have just registered another record attendance in a thrilling round-16 victory over Collingwood at Metricon.

Should Auld depart that would leave three chief executive vacancies at AFL clubs, with Carlton and the Brisbane Lions still searching for new chief executives.

Adelaide boss Steven Trigg remains favourite for the Carlton position and is believed to have the backing of the industry to remain in the AFL system should he depart the Crows this season. The Blues and Trigg are believed to have spoken last week.

Greg Swann in turn remains the frontrunner for the Brisbane position but has also been linked with a job as chief executive of the Victoria Racing Club, which could lead to a delayed decision-making process at the Lions.

McLachlan is expected to roll out a number of key initiatives including staff changes before the end of July. While determined to remain publicly aloof regarding the increasingly messy legal battle between Essendon and ASADA, he faces ongoing heat from frustrated rival clubs as a second AFL season is disrupted by the Bombers' drug scandal.

McLachlan will also chair the forthcoming and highly sensitive negotiations over the Adelaide Oval contract review involving the Adelaide and Port Adelaide Football Clubs, the SANFL and the stadium management.

5 comments so far

  • I have a novel idea. Let's have a game at the MCG each weekend, particularly at 2.10 on a Saturday!

    Commenter
    Amy
    Date and time
    July 09, 2014, 3:11PM
    • And please eliminate late Sunday afternoon fixtures in Melbourne too??

      Commenter
      Pete
      Date and time
      July 09, 2014, 3:14PM
      • And Adelaide

        Commenter
        Rod
        Location
        Whyalla
        Date and time
        July 09, 2014, 3:31PM
    • Wouldn't have thought Trigg was a good fit for Carlton, Rubbish at third party deals

      Commenter
      Rod
      Location
      Whyalla
      Date and time
      July 09, 2014, 3:34PM
      • It would be refreshing if all the media experts and bean-counters could be put out to pasture and then allow the fans to have a say. It's mind-boggling that with the zillions that the AFL gets in for TV rights, that all we've got are overpaid "star" players (and we can blame individual clubs for this) and corporate guestssqueezing out footy fans during the final series. It's about time some sanity prevailed.

        Commenter
        B Clarke
        Date and time
        July 09, 2014, 3:50PM

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        AFL 2016

        Round 1
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        RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
        Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
        MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
        GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
        NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
        SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
        Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
        WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
        PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
        WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
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        GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
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        Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
        COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
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        ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
        ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
        BRI vs NTH 16:35G
        STK vs WBU 19:25ES
        FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
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        GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
        HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
        CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
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        Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
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        STK vs COL 13:45MCG
        RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
        SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
        GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
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        NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
        WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
        GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
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        Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
        WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
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        ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
        HAW vs STK 14:10AS
        BRI vs GCF 16:35G
        CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
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        GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
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        HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
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        SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
        GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
        WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
        PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
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        FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
        MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
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        Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
        NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
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        MEL vs STK 13:45ES
        ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
        GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
        RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
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        Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
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        COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
        GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
        SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
        GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
        WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
        FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
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        HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
        GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
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        Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
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        MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
        WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
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        Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
        Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
        COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
        GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
        PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
        NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
        FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
        GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
        STK vs ESS 16:40ES
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        Round 10
        Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
        Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs HAW 13:45G
        MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
        STK vs FRE 16:35ES
        ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
        ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
        COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
        WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
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        Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
        NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
        Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
        CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
        GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
        GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
        FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
        COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
        WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
        ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
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        Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
        Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
        BRI vs FRE 16:35G
        GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
        WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
        STK vs CAR 13:10ES
        RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
        GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
        Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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        Round 13
        Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
        NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
        Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs WCE 13:40G
        FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
        WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
        Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
        ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
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        Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
        ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
        COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
        Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
        GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
        STK vs GEE 19:25ES
        Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
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        Round 15
        Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
        WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
        Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
        GCF vs STK 13:40MS
        SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
        CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
        Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
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        Round 16
        Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
        Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
        GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
        WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
        MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
        Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
        WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
        ESS vs STK 16:40ES
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        Round 17
        Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
        Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
        FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
        Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
        NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
        WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
        ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
        STK vs MEL 15:20ES
        BRI vs GWS 16:40G
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        Round 18
        Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
        COL vs NTH 19:50ES
        Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
        GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
        WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
        WBU vs STK 19:25ES
        GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
        Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
        HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
        PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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        Round 19
        Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
        Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
        HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
        COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
        BRI vs PTA 19:25G
        NTH vs STK 19:25ES
        Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
        FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
        ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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        Round 20
        Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
        Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
        MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
        GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
        WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
        ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
        GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
        FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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        Round 21
        Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
        WBU vs COL 19:50ES
        Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs CAR 13:45G
        HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
        GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
        STK vs SYD 19:25ES
        PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
        RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
        FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
        WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
        Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
        RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
        GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
        COL vs GCF 19:25ES
        PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
        BRI vs GEE 15:20G
        ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
        STK vs BRI 12:00ES
        ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
        GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
        SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
        NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
        GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
        ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
        FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        AFL 2015
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D % Pts
        Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
        Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
        Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
        Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
        Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
        Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
        Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
        Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
        View all
         

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