No AFL crowds would cost Lions $5m

Ed Jackson
Brisbane fans will not be allowed access to watch the Lions play at the Gabba due to coronavirus

A 2020 AFL season played entirely behind closed doors would cost Brisbane up to $5 million in lost revenue.

Lions chief executive Greg Swann revealed on Tuesday the potential financial damage the coronavirus pandemic could have on his club, should there be no games in front of fans at the Gabba this year.

Already the AFL has shortened the season to a 17-round home-and-away campaign with the first four rounds to be played in closed stadiums.

Swann said that would hurt the Lions' hip pocket given the Easter Thursday clash with Collingwood is one of those where spectators will be locked out.

"We're all facing big financial challenges no doubt about that," Swann said.

"Everyone's doing the modelling now. It depends which games you get and which games are in front of crowds and which games aren't.

"For example I think the first four rounds are going to go as is and one of those is Collingwood which was going to be an Easter Thursday, that would've been a massive day for us.

"We're looking, from a gates perspective, it's probably going to cost us the best part of $5 million if we don't play in front of crowds."

As a tenant of the Gabba, the Lions pay thousands of dollars to the state government's Stadiums Queensland business to use the venue for each home match.

Swann said the Lions - as well as clubs from several other codes - were in talks with the government about the impact of the virus.

"So far the indications are that Stadiums Queensland will support all the codes. That's really encouraging," he said.

"Everybody's looking to do the right thing. We're all going to take a haircut of some description, it's just really trying to work our way through that."

Swann also backed the decision to reduce the season to 17 matches and said it's a practical and fair outcome.

"At some stage someone will get tested positive and we'll close the comp down for a while and then we might reconvene at a later stage," he said.

"So going back to 17 rounds now takes that pressure off to not have to deliver 22 games.

"We'll just see how that unfolds."