Telstra Dome to trial countdown clock - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Telstra Dome to trial countdown clock

25/02/2009 06:09:11 PM Comments (0)

The AFL could make its trial of a countdown clock at grounds a permanent fixture in the regular season if it gets strong enough crowd feedback.

The league will break with long-standing tradition by displaying the time remaining in each quarter at all remaining NAB Cup matches at Telstra Dome.

The move is expected to have a negligible effect on the games themselves, as coaching staff already have access to the facility.

But AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson acknowledged it could provoke passionate reactions among fans.

"Absolutely, but the NAB Cup gives us a great opportunity to trial different innovations," Anderson said.

"Here we're having a look at a countdown clock to see if that's something that our fans who attend games like to see."

The main objection usually cited is that not knowing exactly when a game will end adds to the crowd excitement.

Anderson said the league would seek reaction from supporters via the AFL website, with a slight chance the move would stay for the premiership season if there was enough backing.

"It would have to be an overwhelming positive response for us to consider it for this season," he said.

Channel Seven and Foxtel both run countdown clocks on television screens during their coverage, but Channel Ten switches to a count-up clock with five minutes remaining in a match.

While players themselves have not had direct access to a countdown clock, team runners update them on how much time is left in a match.

"Everyone else gets to see how much time's left in a game pretty much other than the crowd," Anderson said.

"We're seeing if the crowd believes that adds to the experience of being at the game.

"The players, the coaches, most people at home, people in (corporate) boxes already know how much time there is to go.

"The runners already tell the players, so I don't think it will have too much effect from a player's point of view, other than perhaps it might minimise the need for runners to run out there."

Anderson said it would be trialled only at Telstra Dome because the venue management had long been keen on the idea and were already set up for it.

Meanwhile, Anderson said the AFL would continue to refer to the venue as Telstra Dome despite an official name change to Etihad Stadium on Sunday, after new sponsor Etihad Airlines.

The league has a sponsorship deal with Qantas and believe referring to Etihad would contravene that arrangement.

"We're continuing to call it Telstra Dome until we're advised otherwise," Anderson said.

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