Monash University expert on the impacts of coronavirus on the AFL season.
Dr Ross Booth, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics, Monash Business School
“Even without banning spectators, there may be a significant drop off in AFL attendance because of the fear factor, and a consequent loss of gate revenue and associated merchandise sales,” Dr Booth said.
“Gate revenue goes to the home team, so if spectators are banned there will be a significant loss of revenue to the home club (though some clubs have agreed to share the gate revenue when they play each other twice in the season).
“If a player/players get coronavirus and it spreads to the playing group, one could imagine games being cancelled and, at worst, the season cancelled.
“This could lead to huge implications for the league and the television networks in terms of the contract not being fulfilled, no games delivered, and no rights money for those games. But, how exciting is the game on TV if there is no crowd atmosphere? A drop off in viewers will also impact advertising spend.
“Past disruptions have only taken a season to correct. The sport is resilient enough to bounce back, for example, where seasons have been cancelled in the US because of owner lockouts or player strikes (usually over pay).”