AFL crowds voting with their feet

AFL fans are continuing to vote with their feet about the AFL's new variable pricing for games, with lower-than-expected crowds again a theme in round two of the new season.

AFL Fans Association president Brian Clarke said the new system was clearly not working and must be scrapped.

"We've had dozens tell us they can no longer afford to go," he said.

While the relaunch of football at Adelaide Oval was a success, fans continued to stay away from games in Melbourne, just 19,640 attending Etihad Stadium on Saturday for St Kilda's game against Greater Western Sydney - less than the crowd for Melbourne Victory's A-League game the same evening.

Even the biggest games of the round attracted lower than expected crowds. The turnout for Thursday night's Richmond-Carlton clash (62,037) was 8000 less than expected by the AFL. Friday night's Essendon-Hawthorn clash (44,163) drew the lowest numbers for any game between the two at Etihad Stadium. Saturday night's clash between the Swans and Collingwood at ANZ Stadium in Sydney (32,347) drew the lowest crowd by the teams at the venue.

Supporters are increasingly angry about the variable pricing for games, with Collingwood president Eddie McGuire the latest to criticise the new ticketing arrangements, saying they could discriminate against lower income earners.

That's something we'll have to have a look at," McGuire said. "I think people may not have realised half the manufacturing industry in Victoria shut down in the last few months. People are worried about their jobs, people are worried about keeping some money aside."

Clarke said: "Well done to Eddie for raising concern, but it would have been better if he'd done so earlier."

The story AFL crowds voting with their feet first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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