Lions-Tigers set for huge Friday night clash
Brisbane's new-found status as a major drawcard has been acknowledged with the Lions set to host Richmond in one of two Friday night blockbusters next season as well as being handed an AFLW/AFL double-header.
The Courier-Mail understands Brisbane will host a mouth-watering Friday night rematch with reigning premiers Richmond, with the second Friday slot to be filled by another Melbourne-based club.
Last season's Lions-Tigers clashes were big drawcards, with 76,995 fans - the MCG's biggest ever home and away crowd for a Brisbane game - watching Richmond's 27-point win in Round 23.
A Gabba sellout of 37,478 turned up for their qualifying final a fortnight later when the Tigers ran out 47-point winners.
The marquee timeslots come in addition to its Easter Thursday showdown with Collingwood, which remains on the schedule until 2022.
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Club sources also confirmed Brisbane would host another stand-alone Thursday night fixture at the Gabba against an undisclosed side.
After opening their season with a Round 1 clash against Hawthorn on March 22, the Lions will follow up with a historic Round 2 double-header against North Melbourne on March 28 featuring the AFLW and AFL teams at the Gabba.
The full AFL 2020 season draw will be released on Thursday morning.
Brisbane's improved schedule is a big turnaround for a club that finished with the wooden spoon in 2017 as on-field success and surging crowd numbers elevate the Lions into the competition's most marketable team outside Victoria.
All-Australian trio Lachie Neale, Charlie Cameron and Harris Andrews led the charge last season in Brisbane's meteoric rise from 15th to second with Neale and club captain Dayne Zorko polling heavily in the Brownlow Medal count.
Their on-field success didn't go unnoticed with attendances rising by 34 per cent in 2019 and the club posting its highest membership numbers since 2005.
Lions fans are already putting their money on the line for next year. The club sold 1500 memberships for 2020 during their recent finals campaign and the news of four prime time fixtures is expected to boost those numbers.
It is also understood the Lions and Queensland rivals Gold Coast will again play two QClash matches.