Here’s my glass half empty take on the jubilation surrounding expansion clubs excelling in Round One. It has been designed to happen that way and, ultimately, it is another step towards not the growth of footy, but its collision with unbeatable forces.
A unique product – Australian Rules – has fallen in to corporate hands who believe that only bigger can be better.
Hence the desperate envelopment of sympathetic states (sorry Tassie, they know you’ll watch anyway) and, then, the push to hostile (new TV) fields.
The disconnect is underway.
With no functioning “home” ground or community, a kid in Craigieburn or Cranbourne might as well barrack for Gold Coast (or, to stretch the analogy, Golden State).
They’ll see them on TV while the sport’s governors will continue to trumpet the massive broadcast rights.
But the point of difference is being lost – as will the battle be ultimately.
The whole “pay ’em more/ be professional” mantra is flawed.
Never can we pay as much as EPL, NBA etc…and by becoming a FOX product, that is becoming the alternative.
On a Saturday night I can choose from a worldwide fixture page.
On Saturday afternoon I may not have anything to go to.
The Herald-Sun and, remarkably, fantasy leagues, keep the fires burning but, like great Empires long gone, the rot will set in from the core while the vision is on far horizons.