Six ways to improve the A-League competition
With the new A-League season not far around the corner, it is time to assess what could be done to improve the League beyond its recent mediocrity. Here are my six steps to doing so.
1. Improved Match Scheduling
Does anyone else think that having Melbourne Heart’s first match in the A-League on a Thursday night a pretty dodgy idea? This is a problem which plagues the A-League every year.
Play the games on Friday Nights, Saturday Nights, or Sunday Afternoons.
Midweek games should only be played during the Christmas holidays.
Also, kicking off at 3:00pm on a Saturday afternoon isn’t a great idea either as most of the football fans are still either playing or coaching at their local football club.
2. Free-to-air deal
This is essential for the A-League to develop into a sport accepted by the mainstream media. A two or even three way deal similar to what the AFL had would be perfect for the A-League. One Friday night game on SBS, one Saturday night game on One HD and the rest on Foxsports would be ideal.
This could mean that there could be two games played Friday night, two games on Saturday night and one game on Sunday afternoon. Foxtel could telecast the other two games on Friday and Saturday night and the other game on Sunday afternoon.
When the A-league is expanded and there are six games a round there could be two games on Sunday afternoon. One at 3:00 and one at 5:00, or two at the same local time but in different time zones.
With this plan every game is live, there are no Thursday night games and the kick-off’s are at the times best suited to drawing a good crowd.
3. The Grand Final Live on Free to Air
Even if the previously mentioned idea falls through, just having the Grand on Free to Air would do a world of good. Although Foxsports would be very unlikely to release their biggest A-League draw card match, compensation from the FFA with payment from the Free to Air station would suffice.
The bonus of having the Grand Final on Free to Air would outweigh the cost of it being so.
A much greater audience would lead to wider knowledge of the sport and seeing 50,000 Aussies going mad at a club football match in Australia would undoubtedly earn some fair earned respect for the league.
4. Television advertising
There is a distinct lack of advertising for A-League matches on the television. Foxsports of course advertise their telecast times, but advertising on television encouraging people to actually attend the games is rare if present at all.
Just a small clip of a game with accompanying advertising of the kick-off time would assist in leaps and bounds for the game.
5. Let the characters be
Who cares if Aurelio Vidmar calls Adelaide a ‘pissant town’? (Unless you’re actually from Adelaide.) Who cares if Branko Culina says #$%& at a press conference?
Perhaps if they want to eliminate this aspect of the game, they could invite the referee to attend the press conferences so that the coach could ask simple questions and the referee could give simple answers.
Just a straightforward man-to-man conversation.
6. Move the season kick-off to six weeks later
Commonsense would tell most people that kicking off the A-League season in the heart of NRL and AFL finals series may lead to a lack of interest.
Delaying the start of the season for six weeks would allow the whole AFL/NRL fuss to finish before commencing with a breath of fresh air.
Historically, A-league crowds have picked up in December and January and lasted to the end of the season, why not extend this period for another six weeks? Also, previously, the start of the NRL and AFL season haven’t affected attendances whatsoever.
There is nothing to lose.
So there you have it. That is my six ways to improve the A-League.
Tell me what you think, agree or disagree?