Saturday, February 16, 2008
The AFL has set a date
Late last year the AFL brought down an ultimatum on the North Melbourne Football Club to move to the Gold Coast. When the NMFC declined the AFL's $110 million offer the AFL were forced to come up with a new plan. Shortly after plan A failed the AFL announced that they would bring a 17th team into the competition by 2010.
This week the AFL have made a new announcement. They will not have a new team by 2010. This has been due to the fact that many Melbourne teams have dragged their heels. The AFL have been forced to finance completely any expansion. The first of these new teams will be in 2011 on the Gold Coast. It may be a little later than ideal considering that Soccer and Rugby League are expanding there also, but in the scheme of things it will not be too late. The second new team will be in 2012 in western Sydney. This will bring the competition up to 18 teams, assuming that the 10 Melbourne teams continue to survive.
The AFL will need to spend a lot of money to prop up these two teams in the early years as NSW and QLD are rugby states. But the teams will turn a profit in the long run.
New teams in NSW and QLD will mean there will be new rivalries with two teams in each state. This will only strengthen the sport in the long run too.
I for one am excited about this growth. I just wonder how long it will be before a VIctorian team goes under.