After five years of trialling Monday night football, the AFL has shot themselves in the foot by showing the round eight clash between St Kilda and Carlton on Foxtel.

Monday night football is a topic widely debated amongst football followers, and especially supporters of St Kilda and Carlton. Those who disliked the concept because they were unable to watch the game live usually conceded that watching the game on TV would suffice. This was not possible for the many football supporters who do not have the luxury of owning Foxtel.

Only 26,708 people turned up to witness the clash, this number significantly down on the 34,054 attendees at the same fixture last year. Since the first Monday night game between the two sides in 2010, when 42,866 people packed Etihad Stadium, there has been a steady decline in the number of bums on seats each year. This is evidence many people are unable to make it to the game live, and for those without pay TV, they rely on Channel Seven broadcasting the game.

What is most puzzling is there were a record number of 371,000 viewers watching Monday night football during the Channel Seven broadcast last year. These numbers were up by 44,000 viewers and it appears those who were unable to make it to the game relied on watching the game on free-to-air TV. The outcry on social media would suggest that record might have been beaten if the game was broadcasted on Channel Seven.

The AFL has a responsibility to football supporters, and especially loyal members, to show the game on free-to-air TV. Monday night football is not convenient for most families, particularly those who have young school children with early bedtimes.

It has been evidenced going to the football in 2014 for many is an expensive experience. The price of tickets, food and drinks at the football has been heavily criticised and – for many people – unjustified and impacting greatly on the football experience of the average supporter.

Channel Seven broadcast a mere two out of the six games played in round eight – the Friday night and Saturday night games. These broadcasting decisions are questionable, especially during a bye round. Only showing some games on Foxtel just adds to the unaffordability of the football and the great divide between those fans who can afford these luxuries and those who cannot.

Monday night football may not be the most popular game on the fixture, although it would seem it isn’t going away. If the AFL wants to continue scheduling football on a Monday night, the game must be shown on free-to-air to accommodate all football supporters, instead of only catering for those who can afford Foxtel.