Tasmanian AFL bid
Australian rules football in Tasmania
Australian rules football has been played in Tasmania as long as the main land states with the first clubs formed in the early 1860s. The state hosted the national football carnival in 1924, 1947 and 1966.
Between 1994 and 1997 the bid was prepared for a Tasmanian team that involved the construction of a 30,000-capacity stadium at the Hobart Showgrounds in Glenorchy, at the cost of approximately $30 million.
The AFL's continued rejection of the Tasmanian AFL team has raised significant controversy, with the Government of Australia launching a Senate inquiry in 2008 which AFL Commission CEO Andrew Demetriou and chairman Mike Fitzpatrick both declined to attend. At the enquiry, Tasmanian senator Kerry O'Brien brought into question the AFL's commitment to the game in Tasmania, and stated that he believed that with continued neglect, the popularity of soccer could overtake Australian rules football in Tasmania. There are already more children playing soccer than Australian rules football in Tasmania.
The AFL argued that the New South Wales based participation numbers were in excess of that in Tasmania, furthering their argument that a team in Western Sydney was a higher priority. The Senate enquiry found that insurmountable cultural barriers would make such a move non-viable.
In April 2008, Tasmania's former premier Paul Lennon revived the push for an AFL team by travelling to AFL House in Melbourne where the latest bid was officially launched. Although Lennon subsequently retired in May, the responsibility of steering the bid went to Economic Development Minister Paula Wriedt. Wriedt said Tasmania only made the case for a Tasmanian team, and were not trying to beat the Gold Coast or Greater Western Sydney to be the 17th or 18th club.
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has said: "They probably do deserve a team, we shouldn't dismiss the contribution that Tasmania has made to our game... They are absolutely entitled to put forward a proposal, but the commission has already decided where the 17th and 18th teams are going."
Some media commentators have speculated that the AFL holds Tasmania open as a soft target for relocation of struggling Melbourne clubs. In 2010, there was increased speculation due to North Melbourne's commitment to move four home games annually to Hobart's Bellerive Oval.
In April 2014, AFL deputy chief executive Gillon McLachlan said he supported a "single team representing Tasmania". He stated Tasmania would be the next team to join the AFL, but that this would not happen for at least a decade. In 2016, the Garlick report confirmed that a stand-alone Tasmanian team would have to wait until current broadcast deals expire to enter the competition.
The Herald Sun's Fox Footy 2015 Footy Fans Survey of 14,000 fans that covered a wide range of topics included a question asking "Where should the AFL invest its expansion resources?" The results for the particular question had 78.03% supporting Tasmania as the location the AFL should focus its expansion resources on with the next region New Zealand on only 8.75%.
Tasmanian news website and newspaper The Mercury has been a vocal supporter of the bid. Kevin Sheedy has argued that Tasmania is not too small for an AFL team. He stated that population is irrelevant, and that a Tasmanian side could draw support from abroad in a similar way to the Green Bay Packers. In 2008 Tasmanian bank MyState Financial offered $300,000 over three years in sponsorship of a team.
- Tasmanian Government – $19,000,000 over 5 years (2015 deal with Hawthorn)
- MARS – $4,000,000 over three years (2008 proposal)
- Hobart City Council – $600,000 over 2 years (2014 deal with North Melbourne)
- MyState Financial – $300,000 (2008 proposal)
Venues and travel
Due to the population split of Tasmania between Hobart and Launceston it has been proposed that a future Tasmania club use two home grounds Launceston and Hobart which are approximately 200 km apart.
- The Advocate – Decade wait for Tasmanian AFL team opportunity
- "Ditch AFL bid: clubs". Examiner. 20 February 1998. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
- "Soccer could beat AFL". The Mercury. 28 March 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- "Soccer could beat AFL". 28 March 2009.
- Colebatch, Tim (1 January 2007). "Soccer on rise as AFL treads water".
- Answers to questions: AFL – Mr Phil Martin (question 4)
- AFL tells Senate to mind their own business
- "Tasmania's bid for AFL team faltering". The Australian. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- "AFL expansion plans yet to include Tassie". The Canberra Times. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- "Tasmania given sweet boost to AFL bid". ABC News. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- Don't knock North for looking at Hobart, The Roar, Retrieved on 29 July 2010.
- The Examiner – No Tasmanian AFL team for at least a decade, says McLachlan
- "Nation backs push for Tassie AFL team". Retrieved 2015-07-08.
- "Our crusade to end Tassie's footy snub". The Mercury. 11 March 2008. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
And today ... the Mercury launches its season-long campaign, Tasmania – It's Time, to reignite the push for a Tasmanian team in the AFL.
- The Mercury – C’mon Tassie, we need a team effort
- Tasmania not too small for an AFL team: Sheedy
- "Tas bid gains momentum". The Advocate. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- "Tasmanian Government signs new five-year deal with Hawthorn". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
- Pierik, Jon (31 July 2008). "Tasmanian AFL team secures major sponsor". Herald Sun. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- "North Melbourne deal seals three AFL games a year in Hobart". ABC News. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
- THOMAS-WILSON, SIMEON (8 July 2015). "Tasmania should cash in on support for AFL team, says leading football commentator Tim Lane".