AFL not expanding Thursday night footy

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AFL: Adelaide produced their most inaccurate performance in more than two decades but still managed to beat North Melbourne by 33 points in round 14.

Sam Gibson tries to get around Jarryd Lyons. Picture: Sarah Reed

THE AFL has refused overtures to cash in on the rampant success of Thursday night football with a major expansion of the timeslot next year.

Thursday night footy — to be played out over the next three weeks — has proved a ratings bonanza and also drawn strong attendances at the non-Victorian venues.

The Adelaide-North Melbourne clash drew an average audience of 298,000 on Fox Footy on Thursday, the highest rating subscription TV program for the night.

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The figures represented a 16 per cent increase on the average of last year’s Thursday night games.

But AFL fixturing boss Travis Auld yesterday told the Herald Sun the league would not follow the NRL, which will next year play a full schedule of Thursday night games.

The league would need to play teams off a five-day break to slot in extra Thursdays, with the bye rounds providing the perfect chance through Rounds 14-17.

Adelaide v North Melbourne was the second Thursday night game of the season. Picture: Sarah Reed

Adelaide v North Melbourne was the second Thursday night game of the season. Picture: Sarah ReedSource:News Corp Australia

Auld says there might have a handful of extra games next year — up from the five home-and-away clashes this year.

“It feels about right, the balance feels about right. The considerations are there about the fixture and breaks but then there is also having the right games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and filling our marquee slots.

“We will look at it again as we bring the fixture together next year. It is like anything, we will do a proper review at the end of this year and see whether we think we should tinker with it, but it might be one or two either way.

“It will be nothing substantial. The balance feels right.”

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