The AFL today must be sitting back and enjoying the prospect of a
sold
out ANZAC Day blockbuster between Essendon and Collingwood, and the
rest of the round isn’t half bad either. While the rugby league were
still flogging tickets to their ANZAC game in Brisbane – via TV
advertisements on Nine’s NRL Footy Show

– this weekend’s AFL fixture is an absolute goldmine. Not only
are organisers hoping to smash last year’s ANZAC round aggregate of
268,988, they are also hoping to give the 2003 best ever ANCZAC Day
figure of 314,484 a run for its money.

But this year’s clash will be even more heated as the two heavyweights
both stare down a disastrous season-opening campaign, with Essendon
sitting on the bottom of the ladder for the first time in the history
of the 16 team competition. With both clubs having won just one game
this season and the loser going to 1-4 after Monday, both sides
know that the media knives are going to be plunged into whoever loses
with almost gleeful abandon. For Essendon any loss would almost
certainly see them remain firmly planted in last place again. Such a
lead up ensures that even the normal fireworks associated with
these two sides on this memorable day, is going to be something else
again in 2005.

But this year the AFL has also given even greater thought to the rest
of the long weekend fixture and virtually every other game offers
similar mouth-watering clashes to enthral fans and the media,
particularly TV, which kicks off tonight on Nine with another rattler
between Geelong and Port Adelaide. Suffice to say that the other
clashes will also go a long way towards
keeping the AFL’s cash registers turning over as the season continues
to offer up the kind of box office that the NRL can only envy.

Leading AFL statistical website, Footystats Diary and Martin
Windsor-Black have produced a club by club breakdown on all AFL
attendances for the fourth round this season, and they’re a success
story that won’t be wasted on the bean-counters figuring out the sums
for what the AFL TV rights are ultimately going to be worth – no matter
how the fixtures are broken up or with whom.

Currently the NRL 2005 combined attendance aggregate after the first
six rounds sits at 740,791, with an average game crowd of 17,638. The
highest game attendance is 43,438 and the lowest 9,032. By
comparison the AFL has an aggregate of 1,187,134 after just four
rounds and a game-high attendance of 73,864, which is sure to be beaten
on Anzac Day.

You can visit the Footstats Diary website here
.

Peter Fray

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