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Bulldogs look to cardboard cut-outs of fans at games

Collingwood is also well down the track in having cut-outs of club members in time for their first home game, against Richmond on June 11.

The AFL says it is considering a number of options to enhance the match day experience at empty venues.

“The AFL is exploring a few options and will work with the broadcasters and clubs on any enhancements to match day,” an AFL spokesman said.

Cut-outs were used in South Korean baseball when that sport re-opened after the COVID-19 hiatus, while German soccer team Borussia Monchengladbach had 12,000 cardboard cut-outs of supporters in their 54,000-capacity stadium for a Bundesliga match last weekend.

A Fox Sports spokesman said a range of options had been discussed to help improve its Fox Footy coverage of AFL matches but nothing official had been done. Fox Sports had looked at the same options for the resumption of the NRL, where cardboard cut-outs could be in place as early as Friday night’s clash.

The NRL is working on having fans be able to order $22 cardboard cut-outs of themselves to be set up permanently in crowd-less stadiums. The NRL season resumed on Thursday night at Suncorp Stadium when the Brisbane Broncos hosted the Parramatta Eels.

Channel Seven, the AFL’s host free-to-air broadcaster, said it was considering a range of “broadcast innovations”.

Magpies chief executive Mark Anderson last week said his club was keen to reward members.

“We’re investigating that now and we’d love to do that and while it’s virtual, it does demonstrate that we’ll try to get our members and fans in there, in some way, as representation of the big Magpie Army,” Anderson said SEN radio.

“We’re just working through that now but also our corporate partners are really important to us and have been fabulous right throughout. We’re looking at ways we can ensure they get great exposure across the season, albeit without crowds in the stadiums.”

The Magpies will also offer about 1000 members the opportunity to participate and released public details on Thursday night.

One AFL source told The Age on Thursday that round one, held without crowds, had felt like a practice match and any way to improve the feel of any empty stadium would help.

Seven has said it will use fake crowd noise in the opening weeks when the season resumes.

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