The Apple Isle continues to make a case for an AFL club all its own, rather than be satisfied with some fixtures played by Hawthorn and whichever club comes up on the fixture.
The plan is very future looking, with the club to be called, what else, the Tasmanian Devils, discussing entering the AFL in 2025.
Estimates put the startup costs around $45 – 50 million, with the cost being split between the AFL and the state and federal governments.
The state of Tasmania would continue to supply funding going forward, a move apparently intended to allay AFL concerns over the potential for a repeat of the scenarios when GWS, North Melbourne and Gold Coast came into the league.
Currently, Tasmania spends $8 million per year to host eight AFL fixtures and two AFLW games.
The report, backed by the state government, suggests that an AFL club would boost the state’s revenue by $110 million and create around 400 jobs.
Those of us who have been around for any length of time can say, without fear of contradiction, that government estimates are generally far from reality, whether those estimates are of amounts to be reaped or amounts to be spent.
We can imagine the case being presented to the Parliament.
“For just another $3 million, you can have not just a few games, but an entire club.”
Instead of 10 games, there would be 11.
The club, if it ever becomes a reality, would probably have its base in Hobart, but when the big Vic clubs tour, the venue would probably be Launceston’s UTAS Stadium, which would be upgraded from 20,000 to 27,000 seats.
The primary argument, according to the government report, is that support for the AFL is declining and only a Tas-based team will keep Aussie footy relevant over the decades ahead.
In the interim, the AFL will close its agreement to hold North Melbourne and Hawthorn matches at the end of the 2021 AFL season, so if 2025 does become a reality and an AFL club comes to Tasmania, there could be some kind of interim arrangement.