WEST Coast expects to lose "well north of $2 million" after a failed last-minute bid to postpone Sunday's Western Derby at Optus Stadium until crowds could return.
The Eagles hosted Fremantle at an empty Optus Stadium after a game-day decision from the Western Australian Government to lock fans out due to COVID-19 precautions.
It was the second straight season for West Coast without the financial boon of a home Derby crowd after Fremantle hosted last year's sole Derby in front of restricted crowd of 25,306.
Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett approached AFL boss Gillon McLachlan on Sunday morning once WA Premier Mark McGowan confirmed crowds would not be permitted to attend Optus Stadium.
Nisbett said postponing the game had been considered in an effort to ensure fans could attend the showpiece match.
"Yes it was. I spoke to Gillon McLachlan in the morning, thinking if this was the worst-case scenario, could the game be postponed until the bye rounds and we could work something out?" Nisbett told SEN WA.
"We'd probably have to play off shorter breaks and other things to fit it in, but at least it would have given us the chance to play that game in front of a very large crowd and hopefully back to 100 per cent if all things are equal.
"But that wasn't to be. Broadcasters and everyone else were well and truly set up and obviously the costs explode once you get into that area as well."
Nisbett said the closed match came at a massive cost to the industry, just a week after Fremantle hosted North Melbourne at an empty Optus Stadium, with the Dockers estimating a loss of "at least $1 million" from that match.
"It's a massive cost to the football club. I think it's well north of $2 million and probably rising as we speak," Nisbett said.
"We know that the health and safety of everyone is obviously more important, but certainly we’re feeling the effects of that today."
A crowd of 45,000 had been expected when Mr McGowan announced last Thursday that a 75 per cent capacity crowd would be allowed for the match.
However the discovery of three new cases of COVID-19 in the community forced the Government to change its approach, although another snap lockdown for the Perth and Peel regions was avoided.