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Footy on Sunday nights set for Seven

Sunday night footy will be a first for Seven.

Sunday night footy will be a first for Seven. Photo: Mick Tsikas

Sunday night television is set for a football revolution with the AFL to trial up to three prime-time games on Channel Seven for the first time in that timeslot in 2014.

The move means that next year's home-and-away season will feature 7.40pm games on five of the seven week nights from Thursday night through until Monday night with the Sunday night fixture seen by the league as a long-term prospect - preferable and more practical than Monday night.

While the finishing touches are being administered to the 2014 schedule, Fairfax Media understands Collingwood should be involved in at least one of the Sunday night Channel Seven games with West Coast tentatively scheduled to play North Melbourne at Subiaco on Sunday night (Melbourne time), June 1, as part of Western Australia's public holiday weekend.

Sunday night football has been regarded as an attractive proposition by the game's governing body given the relative dearth of quality free-to-air programming on a night once regarded as a weekly ratings high point.

AFL clubs were warned in a recent meeting of the 18 chief executives to expect some experimental fixturing in 2014 with the introduction of two byes, the early start to the season and the need to combat rival football codes. Round one sees Carlton host Port Adelaide on the Sunday night of the Melbourne Grand Prix weekend although that game is expected to be shown on Fox Footy.

Both the Seven Network and the AFL remained tight-lipped on Monday about Sunday night football but it is believed at least two and potentially three of Seven's 3.20pm Sunday games will be moved next season to 7.40pm. Neither Seven boss Lewis Martin nor AFL executive Simon Lethlean would comment on the new football timeslot, which will be unveiled on Thursday.

The AFL also looked at scheduling two Sunday twilight games at Geelong's Simonds Stadium but at the Cats' request reduced that to one - a round-16 clash between Geelong and the Western Bulldogs.

Seven had been unhappy in 2013 with the AFL's move to feature blockbuster games on Fox Footy - notably the Collingwood-Richmond clash at the MCG in round-four and the Collingwood-Essendon game in round-19.

The two AFL broadcasters were still waiting for final confirmation of the breakdown of games on Monday, although Seven was understood to have been more satisfied with its allocation.

The free-to-air AFL broadcaster was also looking to expand its Friday night football telecast, bringing forward its pre-game coverage from 7.30 to 7pm, a move that will further encroach on the Friday radio audience.

While the Blues have again been handed a generous prime-time fixture of at least six Friday night games, along with two Thursdays and one Monday night clash, another big prime-time winner next season is North Melbourne, which is expected to feature in five Friday night games - two more than 2013 and four more than 2012.

58 comments

  • Sunday nights? How is one school night "better" than another. The AFL aided by channel 7 is trying to drive families away from attending the footy. Soon we'll have an American situation where the stadiums are sold out so the games are broadcast, but all the ticket holders stay home and watch from the comfort of their living rooms - an empty "sold out" stadium is a great look! My kids who are 10 and 11 have attended all Melbourne matches since they were born and are fine with late Friday and Saturday nights as they can sleep in the next morning (although Auskick/Under Age footy is sometimes a struggle) - when we have even done the Twilight matches on a Sunday they've struggled all week as they don't get a good nights sleep before school. Brilliant Idea - typical of the AFL to try and alienate a large part of the REAL crowd who actually ATTEND matches, just to pander to the TV audience....

    Commenter
    Magpie
    Location
    Carnegie
    Date and time
    October 29, 2013, 8:37AM
    • wow cry a river. They might miss ONE game....

      It's not like the same team will play on sunday nights every week.

      If they are Demon fans its not like they are missing much anyways....

      Commenter
      hahaha
      Date and time
      October 29, 2013, 9:17AM
    • the sky is falling, the sky is falling..it's all falling down...worlds are colliding and all is doom and gloom... because the AFL wants to play a few Sunday night games

      Commenter
      TED
      Date and time
      October 29, 2013, 9:18AM
    • Quite corrct Magpie.

      The only way this will work for the supporter (low down on the AFL/7 list of priorities I know) is for the Sunday night games to be scheduled when there are holidays the next day. Easter Sunday, Queens Birthday Sunday and where available interstate.

      Otherwise, they are a wipe out, even for people without kids who don't want to travel to the football and be getting home after 11.00 on a Sunday night.

      No doubt they will avail of the technology that makes it look like there are people at the gorund, when the stands are empty...

      Commenter
      Mozza
      Location
      Highton (several drop punts from Kardinia Park)
      Date and time
      October 29, 2013, 9:21AM
    • Going to every Melbourne game for 11 years? You wouldn't get that kind of punishment for murder these days...... I think it would be a great idea for the late Sunday game to be played in the West as it is still daylight at 730 - even without dls. Also the afternoon sun destroys the game at Pattersons. We should have either night games only or midday games late in the season.

      Commenter
      Jimmy
      Location
      WA
      Date and time
      October 29, 2013, 9:43AM
    • So what if it wasn't Melbourne on the Sunday night game..

      What if it was Hawks, Cats, Blues, Tigers (I'd say Wobblers, but their fans dont go to school), dozens of paying fans that cannot go to their club game... Supporters are important - why does the AFL only see TV rights as important? Whats going to happen when the bubble bursts and they don't wanna pay billion for the TV rights.. If TV stations were smart, they would hold out, and offer em 5 million, and the AFL would be finished. Accept the 5 mill or have no TV? The AFL would have to close the doors.

      The point is the same - paying fans are not that important anymore to the AFL. This is a kick in the teeth for ALL AFL club members,

      TV Rights are the only important thing to Vlad and his cronies.

      AFL TV Production Company..... Bigger than Crawford Productions ever were.

      Commenter
      Davo
      Location
      Langers
      Date and time
      October 29, 2013, 10:12AM
    • @ Davo,

      I suspect that Magpie was meaning all Melbourne-based games - not Melbourne Demons games.

      Commenter
      blu
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      October 29, 2013, 10:45AM
    • What about those that are not even fussed about footy? I want to be able to watch strange documentaries about strange things that make you go hmmmm.. just like can get online (without adds) why do we have to have footy pushed down our faces? Keep for the afternoons for those that want it and sunday nights should have better things to watch. Totally respecting footy lovers but footy lovers have to understand there is also a large percentage that are not into footy.

      Commenter
      The Other Guy1
      Date and time
      October 29, 2013, 11:52AM
    • Magpie wrote: "Soon we'll have an American situation where the stadiums are sold out so the games are broadcast, but all the ticket holders stay home and watch from the comfort of their living rooms - an empty "sold out" stadium is a great look!"

      Hilarious!!!

      In all my YEARS of watching NFL football I have NEVER seen an even half empty stadium on Sunday night (or any other night for that matter).

      NFL may have blackout provisions but they are only for local viewing audiences.

      Lastly, I think you will find TV audiences pay for your team to exist (well at least if you're located in Sydney... LOL )

      Commenter
      M
      Date and time
      October 29, 2013, 12:50PM
  • The AFL sold the TV rights knowing that this was going to happen. In playing the teams that draw a crowd is so the AFL can declare it as a success. AFL Night Grand Final next.

    No need for a club membership these days.

    Commenter
    Culprit
    Location
    Toorak
    Date and time
    October 29, 2013, 8:47AM

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