It is going to be a Grand Final like no other. And now, we finally know when the first bounce is going to be. Start planning your celebrations.
It is going to be a Grand Final like no other. And now, we finally know when the first bounce is going to be. Start planning your celebrations.

Locked in: Grand Final start time revealed

The AFL Grand Final will be a pure night experience with the league to hold the 2020 contest at 7.30pm Melbourne time.

The AFL's test case for night football for its biggest contest could potentially be such a ratings success that the league never again returns to an afternoon contest for the Grand Final.

This year the league has given host broadcaster Channel 7 the biggest possible chance to maximise that crowd given a 6.30pm starting time in Queensland for a 7.30pm start with daylight savings in Melbourne and Sydney.

The Herald Sun revealed last month the Queensland bid had pushed for a 7pm start time, but the league will push back the game to 7.30pm to maximise audiences.

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Richmond players celebrate during their 2020 Grand Final win. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Richmond players celebrate during their 2020 Grand Final win. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Seven will be hosting racing's Cox Plate on the afternoon of October 24 and then have a full hour lead-in after that night's news.

Queensland bid leader Tony Cochrane believes the league might have as many as six million viewers for the contest.

AFL fixture boss Travis Auld said the game would ensure young fans could still watch the game while maximising ratings.

"When making the decision we had to factor in daylight savings times in parts of the country, along with ensuring we and our broadcast partner, the Seven Network, had sufficient time leading into the opening bounce." Mr Auld said.

"We were also cognisant of finishing the match at a suitable time for younger footy fans. The shortened game times this season should see the final siren blown and the 2020 Premier officially crowned just before 10:00pm AEDT.

"Historically a really special part of Grand Final day is the build-up and anticipation, and we want to ensure we can share the electricity and atmosphere of the night with as many people as possible around the country.

"A night grand final is sure to be a fantastic spectacle for both the fans in stadium and the millions watching around the country and overseas."

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The 2019 Grand Final had underwhelming figures as Richmond quickly blew away an underwhelming Greater Western Sydney, drawing 2.2 million viewers for the five-city metro figure.

It was down on 2018 (2.62m) and 2017 (2.68m) as the lowest figure since the current ratings system began.

The league and Seven would have been worried about a 7.10pm start and a potential one-sided game dropping audiences quickly in what are shortened contests this year.

A 7.30pm start gives Seven strong lead-in figures and the chance to retain them all the way through prime time.

 

Originally published as Locked in: Grand Final start time revealed


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