The founder of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson should be approached to sponsor a Tasmanian team in the AFL, a parliamentary inquiry has been told.
Long-time campaigner Russell Hanson told the Legislative Council committee inquiring into the AFL that Tasmania should be aiming to have its own team play its first game in 2025.
Mr Hanson of Hobart said in the 29 years since the AFL replaced the VFL all AFL bosses had ensured "Tasmania never had a look in".
"We should be out there chasing sponsors now," he said.
Mr Hanson said with the co-founder of Virgin Australia Brett Godfrey as the chair of the project team building Tasmania's case for an AFL and AFLW team it was appropriate he could persuade Sir Richard to come on board.
"Richard Branson is somebody who likes to do something out of the ordinary," Mr Hanson said.
"So why don't you - for the Virgin Group - become the founding sponsor of the Tasmanian team?
"Forget about a bloody aeroplane to the moon or wherever it's going. You could become an absolute hero and have a legacy that you solved a problem for Tasmania and you were the leading light."
Mr Hanson said he also examined all car companies and Mitsubishi and Subaru currently did not sponsor any AFL team.
"They have only just moved to five year warranties - engage them now - and for five years you could give them free advertising to do what they like provided they use Tasmania," he said.
"Their marketing people could have a ball."
"The AFL know we can't get traction until they give us an absolute time line."
Mr Hanson said he understood there would be "angst" about where the team was based but that should be decided by AFL experts including the player's association.
Chair of the Football Tasmania Board Jim Wilkinson said Tasmania had to be ready if something happened to the current Hawthorn and North Melbourne sponsorship deals.
He also said in the past two years interest in football in schools had increased in popularity but 80 per cent of players were not registered with the AFL.
"When young players can see a pathway to the AFL opening up, we will see more school kids interested," Mr Wilkinson said.
"A VFL licence is the next step in the pathway and only one Tasmanian is likely to be drafted this year.
"A Launceston survey showed that 30 per cent of members of other clubs would become members of a Tasmanian AFL team and I think it would be higher than that."
Labor sport spokesman David O'Byrne, a former footballer whose daughter now also plays, took aim at parochialism in the 2019 federal election campaign.
He said to claim a Tasmanian AFL team would be southern based was "irresponsible and really inappropriate".
"The campaign run by the Tasmanian Liberal Party was as dishonest as it was divisive," Mr O'Byrne said.
"In many football leaders' eyes it set our case back for a team of our own back ten years.
"To win a license we must prove that we as a state have a unified position."