That's the message from the AFL after rewarding Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs a bumper 2020 fixture of primetime action following scoring surges in 2019.

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Victorian powerhouses Richmond and Collingwood will dominate primetime footy, with the two high-flying giants handed the most blockbuster games in the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Fixture released on Thursday.

The two clubs will play in eight primetime games each, with the reigning premiers Richmond named to feature in six Friday night games and Collingwood given five lucrative Friday night timeslots.

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Essendon has surprisingly been delivered four Thursday night matches, the most of any side, despite a 2019 campaign that saw the club once again limp out of the finals equation at the first hurdle.

The Lions will play four matches combined on Thursday and Friday and the Dogs five after featuring in just one match each across the priority slots this year.

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Both clubs were ranked in the bottom eight for scoring in 2018 but enjoyed a stunning rise into the top three in points in 2019.

"We've been really clear with clubs that you'll see a correlation between the style of football you play and access to those big prime slots," AFL general manager of clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said.

"That creates some prioritisation within clubs themselves and it's exciting to see that play out.

"I think our fans and therefore our broadcasters are more discerning around the style of football.

"I'll give you two examples, but you look at the Bulldogs and Brisbane particularly, (they) play an exciting style of football and fans like that.

"You see that impact through audiences, there's certainly a direct correlation with audiences."

Primetime games
Gold Coast0
North Melbourne11
Port Adelaide22
St Kilda11
West Coast145
Western Bulldogs55

It comes as the AFL released a fixture that includes a total of nine Thursday night matches, including a run of five blockbuster Thursday night games featuring a host of traditional rivalries to start the year.

Fremantle and Gold Coast are the only two sides without a single primetime fixture to their name, while Carlton is the only other side not rostered for a Friday night clash.

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The AFL also revealed the Tokyo Olympics, to run from July 24 to August 9, forced the three Friday night matches from rounds 19-21 to start 30 minutes earlier at 7.20pm EST to avoid clashes.

With seven of the nine round 23 matches to be played between two sides for the first time in 2020, Auld said he remained open to a 17-5 fixture model.

It would involve all 18 teams play each other once in the first 17 weeks before a reset to ensure even matches in the final five rounds.

"I think there's something there, (but) I don't know what it looks like," Auld said.

"We continue to push it (fixture possibilities) every way we can each year, think about different concepts.

"We spend a lot of time and it generates a lot of interest in the industry, so we get clubs involved and some of the players involved at times in the conversations.

"I don't know the answer (on 17-5), but we'll continue to explore it.

"There is a lot of historical elements that make it difficult, potentially the biggest one is guaranteeing clubs 11 home and 11 away games."

Meanwhile, a twilight slot has remained open in round five for the AFLW Grand Final to provide flexibility for an AFL-AFLW double-headed or any state to host the decider. 

Other notable additions to the fixture include:
  • Greater Western Sydney and Geelong taking part in the first ever AFLW/AFL double-header, when both women's and men's teams will do battle at Giants Stadium in rounds seven and one respectively.
  • Brisbane and Collingwood once again meeting at the Gabba on a Thursday night to kick off Easter weekend in round four.
  • North Melbourne meeting its first ever Good Friday opponents, the Western Bulldogs, once again in the fourth year of the new tradition in round four.
  • A run of four games on Anzac Day in round six, due to the occasion falling on a Saturday, with traditional rivals Collingwood and Essendon to face off in the twilight timeslot.
  • Sydney and Geelong to open Sir Doug Nicholls Round on a Friday night in round 10 in the Marn Grook game.
  • South Australian rivals Adelaide and Port Adelaide meeting in a standalone Sunday timeslot during the bye weeks in round 13.