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AFL puts the focus on fans
In advance of the 2014 AFL Finals Series, and looking forward to the 2015 Toyota Premiership, the AFL is emphasising the importance of fans and highlighting issues of fan engagement.
A new advertising campaign for the 2014 Toyota AFL Finals Series, developed by advertising agency Cummins & Partners, is a ‘call to arms’ to AFL fans to not only support their teams but to attend games and show their passion for the sport.
The advertisement (which can viewed here) features a collection of images of fans and players experiencing a variety of emotions throughout the game, accompanied by an impassioned voiceover reminding fans that now during the finals is when a team needs its fans the most.
The advertisement is narrated by three-time premiership player Jonathan Brown.
Introducing the campaign, AFL Head of Brand and Market Insights Julian Dunne explains “the campaign is about celebrating the fans of our game and the role they play in supporting their teams and making our game what it is.
“We have incredibly loyal and passionate fans and the imagery used across the campaign is all real.
“The AFL Finals is the pinnacle event on the Australian sports calendar and we want fans to come along, with full voice and enjoy the best of our great game.”
The television advertising is complemented with interactive experiences and print.
The AFL has also dubbed 2015 as the ‘year of the fan’ with a series of measures to boost fan engagement – although this may sometimes not be in the best interests of players.
The AFL has reiterated that its 2015 fixture and contentious Etihad Stadium roof policy will prioritise the preferences of supporters - resulting in a later start to the season, which will allow just one bye mid-season, and the sun being allowed to shine on the playing surface at Etihad Stadium.
Speaking after a recent two-day meeting in Melbourne attended by the 18 club chief executives, AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said the 2015 season would begin on Thursday 2nd April with a return to the traditional season-opener between Richmond and Carlton at the MCG.
Part of the emphasis on supporter needs has been the shelving of a second rest during the season, an initiative that players successfully lobbied for in the 2014 season.
McLachlan hoped the players would accept the need for just one bye, stating “hopefully they’ll understand that with the cricket World Cup ... we want to start with all our venues available and that means we’ll be starting at Easter, and by definition that means we’ll be finishing later.”
The AFL Players' Association subsequently issued a statement in which it accepted that circumstances prevented a second bye in 2015, but that it hoped it would return the following season.
AFLPA Player Relations Manager Brett Murphy stated “the Players’ Association has held discussions with the AFL on the fixture for the 2015 season.
“We are conscious of the practical difficulties facing next year’s fixture given the Cricket World Cup, which has forced a later start to the season and the removal of the second bye.
"The key concern from the players’ perspective is to ensure the return of the second bye in 2016.”
Debate over the opening of the Etihad Stadium’s roof debate occurred when the roof was open beneath blue skies for the recent match between Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions. Some players struggled to pick up the ball in the sunny conditions, while Channel Seven says its broadcast quality is affected because the action alternates between sun and shade.
Click here to the TV advertisement for the 2014 Toyota AFL Finals Series.
13th February 2013 - AFL REACHES OUT TO FANS AROUND THE WORLD WITH NEW ONLINE PLATFORM
5th July 2011 - TOYOTA EXTENDS AFL SPONSORSHIP IN LARGEST EVER DEAL
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