The failure of Tasmania's last AFL bid in 2008 still weighs on the mind of economist Saul Eslake.
He was on that taskforce when it received a lukewarm response from then-AFL chief executive officer Andrew Demitriou.
Yet with current AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan more sympathetic to the cause, and with a taskforce mixed with both business-minded and AFL-experienced individuals, Mr Eslake was confident of a different outcome this time around.
TIME TO DECIDE:
"The taskforce is doing a very good job, building a very strong case," he said.
"The last bid failed because of the AFL's prejudice. This time, McLachlan is not hostile, nor is he an enthusiastic proponent."
With the taskforce still developing its case, there remained a range of unknowns around the ongoing cost of a team, infrastructure requirements, government funding, sponsorship, membership and the location of home games.
Mr Eslake estimated the annual cost at $35 million - almost double the cost when the 2008 bid was put together.
Yet the sponsorship market appears to have broadened since then, including Collingwood attracting international brand Emirates as its main sponsor, while other clubs secure multinational corporations.
TV rights and government funding could also make up the difference.
Mr Eslake said the Tasmanian team would be an attractive prospect for national and international corporations, but there were no Tasmanian companies large enough to be the main sponsor.
"There doesn't have to be a Tasmanian company as the main sponsor. These days, major sponsors don't necessarily come from the club's traditional home," he said.
"Adelaide had its major sponsor as Toyota for many years - they never had a manufacturing plant in Adelaide."
Business leaders: Get the fundamentals right first
While appreciating the economic benefits of having a team based in Tasmania, local business leaders remained cautious about the bid until all of the finer details had been released.
Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Michael Bailey said the team needed to avoid diverting sponsorship money from other areas, such as grassroots sport and the arts.
"For it to work in Tasmania, we need to nut out how we're physically going to pay for it," he said.
"What we don't want is to drag so many local sponsors out of other areas that they already sponsor.
"We know how popular Tasmania is globally, so it won't be too hard to find an international brand.
"As far as the benefits, there's no doubt at all it'd be beneficial to the state. It's estimated that Hawthorn's matches in Launceston bring in $30 million to the Launceston economy."
The annual cost of running the Sydney Swans was put at close to $50 million, while Hawthorn was just above that. A club like North Melbourne hires close to 400 staff.
The Launceston Chamber of Commerce wanted to see details of how costs like these could be covered before committing to supporting the bid.
Executive officer Neil Grose said there was still a lot of work to do before the case could progress.
"It's important to understand that you need to find that level of money every year for 20 years, not just for one or two," he said.
"The link between local football and the AFL is also quite disjointed at the moment, so that's another aspect that needs to be addressed.
"We're keen to see how this will all pull together."
Business groups agree: Launceston is best location
Both the TCCI and LCC believed Launceston was the best location for the permanent base of a Tasmanian AFL team.
The model from former premier Jim Bacon - with football based in the state's north, cricket based in the south - remained the preferred option for business leaders.
Mr Bailey said the club needed one home for it to be successful on the field.
"Launceston is central, it's extraordinarily passionate about sport, and it's a place that will get more supporters from the North-West coast than a Hobart-based team," he said.
"One of the things we know is that a team needs a home. It needs a real stomping ground. Geelong is unbeatable at Kardinia Park - we want that to happen here.
"It needs to have a home, that home should be Launceston."
Mr Grose agreed, and said resources would be better used at one location.
"The best facilities for football would be in one location, not two," he said.
"We need one centre for football: Launceston. The games should be played there, we have a great stadium, it's very close to the CBD, it's walking distance to accommodation, and we get the crowds."
Council and Hawthorn to wait on taskforce findings
The City of Launceston is watching the taskforce "with interest", but believed AFL would remain at UTAS Stadium regardless of its findings.
Mayor Albert van Zetten said the stadium had a role to play into the future.
"UTAS Stadium should clearly have a large role to play in the future of AFL in Tasmania, given its central location, the exceptional standard of the ground, and the high crowd numbers it is consistently able to attract," he said.
Hawthorn Football Club was also keeping a keen eye on proceedings, with club president Jeff Kennett meeting with the taskforce on a number of occasions.
In a letter to members, Mr Kennett said the club would respect the findings of the taskforce.
"It is Hawthorn's desire to remain in Tasmania but if the powers that be, the Tasmanian Government and the AFL, want to establish and fund a Tasmanian team we will respect that decision," he wrote.
"We will make no decision until the taskforce's report is handed down and released publicly."
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