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Collingwood issued warning over 'really profitable' move that will anger fans

The Magpies are considering a major departure from the norm with an idea some AFL observers believe may upset their fans.

Collingwood player Tom Mitchell takes a photo with a fan.
Collingwood are reportedly considering the prospect of moving one of their home games from the MCG to an interstate venue. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images) (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Collingwood are reportedly considering selling one of their home games in Melbourne and moving the fixture to Queensland, in a move that has left some AFL observers gobsmacked. The Magpies have traditionally played every one of their home games at the MCG, however that could change under the leadership of newly appointed club CEO Craig Kelly.

The Magpies have historically guarded their custody of the MCG fiercely, particularly under the leadership of former club president Eddie McGuire. However according to Channel 7 AFL reporter Tom Browne, the club could be on the cusp of a move once thought unthinkable by fans.

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Speaking on Triple M, Browne revealed that the club was considering the financial benefits of hosting a home game outside Victoria. He said Collingwood's widespread popularity across the country, combined with strong crowd numbers whenever they face either Brisbane or the Gold Coast Suns in Queensland, meant it was a potentially lucrative move.

“You could call it selling or getting money from it - it would be highly profitable,” Browne reported. “If you took a team up to Brisbane, played them there (in a home game) then went down the coast the next week and played the Suns (in an away game), Collingwood could turn that into a two-week extravaganza and make a lot of money."

However many have predicted a potential backlash from Collingwood fans. Former Melbourne champion Garry Lyon said it was a move that might take some convincing for the more 'parochial' Pies fans.

“Collingwood supporters are parochial, their fans are magnificent, they’re loyal,” he said on SEN. “They loved the fact that when Eddie was president he said ‘we’re never changing our jumper and we’re never selling our games, our home games are here, they’re at the MCG, we built the bloody stand.’

“Taking a game, or you could call it selling - how do Collingwood fans think about that? They buy their memberships for home games in Melbourne. I don’t think they buy their membership for a home game to be sold to Queensland.”

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However fellow former AFL great Tim Watson argued there was a clear financial benefit to be had. He said the crowd numbers for Collingwood home games against the Lions and Suns had been uninspiring for several years now.

“If you sold a game to Queensland and you have all the Collingwood people who you encourage to get to Queensland (attend), and then you have all the associated spending that goes with that, it’s probably a really profitable thing for your club to do,” he said.

Collingwood players walk off the ground.
Several other AFL teams have experimented with relocating a home fixture interstate, with Collingwood considering Queensland as their destination. (Photo by Chris Hyde/AFL Photos/via Getty Images ) (via Getty Images)

Several other AFL clubs have sold or played home games interstate for financial benefit in the past, to varying degrees of success. Richmond memorably played several home games against the Gold Coast Suns in Queensland, losing two of the three played up there in a move widely regarded as a total backfire.

Port Adelaide played three fixtures in China before the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to that arrangement in 2020, while the Western Bulldogs have frequently hosted home fixtures in Ballarat.

The longest-running of these arrangements has been Hawthorn and North Melbourne's regular fixtures in Tasmania, which memorably saw the Hawks turn the stadium in Launceston into something of a fortress during the mid-2010s.

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