Greater Western Sydney are exploring the possibility of hosting a game for premiership points in the USA.
The Giants want to grow the sport and their expanding fan base by entering the sport crazy American market.
Currently New Zealand and China are the only two places to hold games for premiership points but with the success of the International Cup series and over 26 nations having participated in the contest since 2002 – suggestions to delve into a larger market could be a potential option.
The AFL has been hosting games around Australia (that aren’t considered main stadiums) to maintain interest internally and around the country. Yet the American dream is firmly a priority of the Giants according to chief executive David Matthews.
Matthews insisted to The Age: “There’s significant enough interest from investors and supporters, locally and in the US, to explore the possibility.
“My view is that when we take our game away to new markets you really want to take the product that is best… Our preference would be a premiership game.”
The bye round poses as an ideal option due to the summer climate and ability to have a weeks rest pre or post game for the two sides. LA and NYC are looming as the preferred options, with New York also having a big market NFL side nicknamed the Giants which would help for marketing purposes.
The size of the ground is an issue, with NFL stadiums being significantly smaller and more rectangular compared to the AFL dimensions. However, the timing of a game after the end of the NBA playoffs and before the NFL season commences would attract a greater interest from the sport obsessed nation – not to mention the unseen physical extent to which the AFL provides entertainment without protective gear.
Matthews has spoken to Gillion McLachlan and Andrew Dillion who hold key roles within the AFL (CEO and Head of game development) about the ability to host a game, while David Stenson (executive responsible for overseas marketing) has started looking into the USA as a possible destination.
America is a relatively un-tapped market with thousands of Australian’s still interested in the sport living in the USA today, as well as the millions of Americans needing entertainment. It’s certainly a project but one which could see monumental development of the game we love.