A-League serves as warning to Big Bash League
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Here lie the remains of Gold Coast United (2008-2012), a team who due to short vision were short-lived. May they rest in peace.
Welcome to the tombs of teams gone by, a graveyard littered with faded dynastys and failed expansions.
In seven short seasons the A-League has witnessed the death of three sides, who now lie wasted in this graveyard. They includes two of its three expansion teams.
Cricket Australia’s Big Bash League, you have been warned.
You can blame Clive Palmer, the World Cup bid or the FFA for the collapse of Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury, but ultimately the A-League was not ready to expand.
In its first three seasons the A-League saw its average crowds rise by almost 3000. The figures indicated a brand on the rise that would only get better.
Couple that with million dollar buyers, and it seemed like the A-League expansion would only continue to bring in new fans.
It appears no one asked (or wanted to answer) the question, what if it all goes wrong?
The AFL is financially equipped to deal with any financial shortcomings, should either Greater Western Sydney or Gold Coast suffer them. Just like the league already did for the Sydney Swans, it is well prepared to ensure both sides have medium-term futures.
The A-League could not afford such a financial failure. That is why it is bewildering that ventures into the Gold Coast and North Queensland were less researched and prepared than the AFL expansion.
It is alarming to read a report by Malcolm Conn on January 12, 2012 in The Daily Telegraph that “Cricket Australia has already started looking at further expansion (of the Big Bash League) years ahead of its original timetable.”
Yes, the revamped Big Bash League has been a success, with a healthy crowd average of more than 17,000 and an average TV audience that has doubled to 288,000.
Yet Cricket Australia, like the A-League, cannot bank on continued success.
The shortest form of the game, despite its popularity, is still relatively new. Despite the current excitement surrounding Twenty20, it is likely this will eventually plateau and perhaps decline.
If you don’t believe me, let’s ask who can remember the Gold Coast Rollers, Victoria Titans, Newcastle Falcons, and Hobart Tassie Devils?
It is likely that you can’t, unless you were a NBL fan during the competition’s fall from grace.
In the end the real losers are the fans that mourn the loss of their team.
Owners and league officials in all codes ask fans to invest emotionally and financially into our clubs. We live and breathe the sport and are left gasping for air when it is gone.
Cricket Australia and the current Big Bash clubs need to be financially ready to cope and survive when Twenty20 ceases to grow.
The game and its fans demand it.
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