The Gold Coast, Australia’s sporting graveyard
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Oh lordy, it is happening again. For some reason the sporting leagues of Australia have fallen for the lure of the supposed “holy grail” of national athletic domination.
I am, of course, talking about the Gold Coast.
The fascination of every sporting entity with this market is bordering on obsession and insanity. Yet, they have not taken no notice of the most obvious flaw in the “jewel” of the national spotlight. Very few on the Gold Coast care about sport.
How can this be?! I hear you scream. But the answer is simple. Its warm, beautiful and they all have better things to do, like go to the beach. Warm weather cities rarely make great sporting cities.
Warm cities are notorious for poor attendance. Miami is a prime example. Despite having a team that might be reminiscent to the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls, crowds still show up midway through the first quarter. They have three of the top 10 basketball players in the NBA and still struggle to get sell outs before the tip-off.
America, most notably football, has their most notorious fans and famous games in places like Denver, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New England and New York. All cold weather cities. San Diego. Miami and LA are notable busts.
The most revered stadium in New Zealand is the “House of Pain” Carisbrook Stadium. It will always be remembered as an terrible place to play, bitterly cold, wet and often resulted in torrid affairs. But this is what has made the games so special.
The players not only beat the other team, they beat mother nature. The site of 16 men packing down to a scrum, covered in mud and blood, with steam rising all around them so you can barely see them is so epic in comparison to seeing them play in sunshine and fine weather. It instantly seems tougher and invokes more emotion.
Even the new stadium is ridiculous, the roof has made the stadium even more raucous, especially in the section known as the “Zoo.” At least the half naked drunk students won’t suffer from hypothermia anymore.
Finally, anywhere in the United Kingdom.
The UK is comprised of cold weather cities and some of the most passionate and crazy fans you will ever meet.
Why are these cold weather cities better in terms of fan support, notoriety and attendance? Because it is too miserable for us to do anything else. In these frozen places lots of people simply exist during the winter months. They go to work, come home and repeat, unable to leave confined spaces for fear of freezing to death. It is a sort of first world human hibernation.
The weekend is our release. The ability to go to the football or any other athletic pursuits allows us to scream, yell, cry and release any other emotion which may be pent up from the working week. It is our opportunity to get out of the house, to do something exciting and cathartic.
There is a level of satisfaction that is attained by watching a game in the pouring rain. You feel like you have helped your team in trying conditions and you stuck with them. It almost feels like the crowd are helping each other get through it, a kind of bond between complete strangers.
The Gold Coast has none of this. Let us look at the failure which is associated with this city, and reflect on the impending doom of current franchises.
First of all, Gold Coast United. Before anyone says it, this team will never survive in the open world. If it were not for the fact that Palmer, the owner, has the same GDP as a small European country, this team would flop.
They have the worst crowd attendance in the A-League by a substantial margin.
In 2011-2012 it had an average attendance of 3,500 with a high of 7,000 for an individual match. It had a total of 45,000 spectators… for an entire season! This is the lowest in the country, the next was Perth with 120,000. United were not even close to getting rid of the wooden spoon.
The club is not financially viable. The lack of interest in the team by sponsors would cripple the bank balance of the team.
Next cab off the rank. the Gold Coast Titans. This is the biggest haemorrhage of cash in the history of a minority sport, ever. I am not entirely sure that a team with an average crowd attendance of 7,400 is doing building a $20 million excellence centre.
Do you know which team had a higher average crowd attendance for its brief existence? Adelaide, yup, and look where they are now, yet people still think the Gold Coast deserve a rugby league team. This too is the lowest average crowd in the country.
Next! The Gold Coast Blaze. They can not even pay a $50,000 legal bill. I think that says a lot about their financial stability. I can not even find coherent statistics in regards to crowd numbers.
Then we get to the peanut in this stinky pile, the Gold Coast Suns. After an average attendance of around 22,000 for their inaugural season things looked great. Then came the 2012 season opener.
Expectations were high, the AFL thought they had the market cornered and would finally crack this nut. However only 13,000 turned up. This is despite the fact they have Gary Ablett Jr and were playing the recent preseason winners in the Adelaide Crows. The novelty seems to have worn off.
Is anyone else seeing the the same trend?
I think it is time that the Gold Coast is given up on, like the drunk uncle that turns up at every Christmas celebration. They do not seem to care. Bring the sports teams back to the cold weather.
I hear Tasmania is nice this time of the year.
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