In the opening six rounds of this season, Collingwood played in five prime broadcasting slots: two Friday nights, two Thursday nights and the annual jewel in the fixturing crown of Anzac Day.
In a non-COVID time, the Magpies would likely have been locked into at least four or five further prime-time games for the remainder of the season, irrespective of their on-field results and the attractiveness of their game style.
But the floating fixture, a necessity of the pandemic, is literally a game-changer in terms of who plays when and the capacity of the AFL to reward teams that are winning and punish those who lose relevance.
It follows that Collingwood should expect to be relegated into Saturday and Sunday slots on Foxtel for the vast majority of their remaining games, in what will be a final indignity from the trouble that has engulfed the club since the firesale of November’s trade period and then the leaked release of the Do Better report on racism.
For the AFL, the number of prime-time slots that are afforded to the Magpies will be a measure – a test case of sorts – of how the floating fixture treats big clubs compared to the small.
If the AFL’s recent decisions and noises are a guide, Collingwood’s prime-time status will be a casualty of the new fixturing policy, under which, as the saying goes, it is performance, rather than size, that counts.
The Pies shape as the sternest test of what the AFL values in broadcasting/fixturing, because the competition has been releasing the time slots in two-week blocks and there’s an ability to change tack quickly and suddenly promote a team that looks sexy and downgrade the dowdy.
The AFL assesses the fixture on the basis of a) the competitive nature of a game, b) the relevance of the game (ladder, finals ramifications) and c) the storyline. A version of the floating fixture seems likely to continue next year, but with longer blocks of games than a fortnight, for certainty’s sake.
Where Collingwood differ even from other leviathan clubs is in the polarising Pies’ unmatched ability to draw media attention. Digital technology – the media’s capacity to measure online ratings – has ramped up coverage of the Pies this year (note how Adam Treloar is covered almost entirely in terms of Collingwood’s loss rather than the Dogs’ gain).
Thank you for dropping by My Local Pages and seeing this news update on sports news called “AFL 2021: No longer prime time”. This post was posted by My Local Pages as part of our Australian news services.
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