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|Upcoming season or competition:|
2019 AFLX tournament
|Sport||Altered version of Australian rules football|
|Founded||6 February 2018|
|No. of teams||18 (2018), 4 (2019)|
|Headquarters||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|Sponsor(s)||Zooper Dooper and Toyota|
AFLX is a shortened variation of Australian rules football, played intermittently as a pre-season event in the Australian Football League (AFL). The altered version of the game was founded in 2017 in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience outside of its origin country of Australia.
The rules of the game differ from Australian rules football in some significant ways. The game is played on a rectangular soccer-sized pitch, allowing matches to be hosted by stadiums that usually lack the suitable field dimensions for Australian rules football. The format is evolving and AFLX 2019 will see slightly changed rules:
The 2018 competition attracted more than 40,000 fans to tournaments in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. In Melbourne, TV ratings were reported as "modest" by AFL standards, with the three events drawing an average five-city metro audience of over 120,000 on Channel Seven's secondary channels.
The reception to the game among fans and the media has been mostly poor, with ABC Grandstand journalist Richard Hinds being particularly savage in labelling it a "hollow, unappealing, pressure-free, atmosphere-deficient, oval-in-a-rectangle hole yawn-fest". Other critics[who?] have also noted that admitting a Tasmanian team to the competition would cost less and be of greater benefit to the league. Con Stavros of RMIT's school of Economics, Finance and Marketing, has expressed doubts about the potential of AFLX to export Australian rules football but acknowledged that using rectangular playing fields instead of the standard cricket ones would make such expansion easier.
Despite the heavy criticism, the AFL remains steadfast in supporting the shortened version of the game, and insists the game will stay in an attempt to capture audiences not accustomed to the length of regular AFL premiership matches.
"The AFLX will hold exhibitions around the world, starting almost certainly in Hong Kong in November 2019 with as many as 6 clubs involved." AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan anticipated. The league had interests coming from multiple clubs, promoters and international stadiums to play the game overseas from 2019.
AFLX GM of China and India Dave Stevenson said that there would be some changes around the structure of the game such as changing the zones or adding more players than the current 7.
|2018||Group A: Adelaide Crows|
Group B: Melbourne Demons
Group C: Brisbane Lions
Note: teams are correct as of 2019 tournament.