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Brisbane Lions warn of $5 million loss if forced to play home matches with no crowds

Brisbane Lions warn of $5 million loss if forced to play home matches with no crowds
March 18, 2020

The Brisbane Lions could lose $5 million if it plays its 2020 AFL season home matches in front of an empty Gabba, according to club Chief Executive, Greg Swann.

As reported by Michael Whiting on, in the wake of Monday's announcement by the AFL that it plans to reduce the season to 17 games as part of national measures to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, Swann said the club was still financial modelling a number of scenarios.

He told reporters “it depends which games you get, which games are in front of crowds and which aren't

"The first four rounds are going to go as is, one of those is Collingwood, which was going to be Easter Thursday - that would have been a massive payday for us.

"From a gates perspective, it's going to cost us the best part of $5 million if we don't play in front of crowds."

Having played finals for the first time since 2009 last year, Brisbane posted its first profit in 12 years, slowly righting a club that is in excess of $10 million in debt.

Swann now fears that four blockbuster Thursday night and Friday night fixtures that are now in jeopardy.

Hosting Collingwood is expected to go ahead as there will apparently be no changes to the first four rounds of the season. However, it is likely to played in front of an empty Gabba.

Swann said it was impossible to project the total financial impact of the Coronavirus, adding “all the clubs are tightening their belts, we're all going through cost savings.

"The players have agreed to take a pay cut, our staff have. We've put staff on reduced hours.

"Our business is pretty much grinding to a halt because we just can't deliver on those things we normally do."

Swann said the Lions, along with Queensland's other major football codes, were meeting with Stadiums Queensland - who operates the Gabba - to discuss issues including venue charges.

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