One in four AFL fans say they’re more likely to watch games on television than return to stadiums when COVID-19 eases, a survey has found.
The survey, conducted by the AFL Fans Association, also revealed 70 per cent of respondents haven’t attended as many matches as they would have liked due to recent crowd restrictions.
A total of 860 fans responded to the survey, held late last year.
“While most of us can’t wait to get back to the footy, some fans may still be concerned about attending events with big crowds due to the latest Omicron wave,” association’s president Cheryl Critchley said in a statement.
“But we hope that this has subsided, and fans turn up in big numbers again.”
While Victoria has confirmed crowd restrictions will be lifted for the AFL premiership season start on March 16, other states have yet to detail what, if any, restrictions will be placed on spectator numbers.
Another finding of the survey was umpiring standards and rule changes were the major areas of concern for 40.5 per cent of respondents.
“Fan concern was mainly directed at constant rule changes that impact their enjoyment of the game and make it harder for umpires to do their job well,” Critchley said.
Gambling advertisements linked to the code were cited as the key concern for 37 per cent of respondents.
The results from the survey by the association, which was formed in December 2013 by a group of grassroots supporters in a bid to give fans a collective voice, have been sent to the AFL and its clubs.