What is the Australian media’s problem with football?

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Australian sport has long been touted as among the best in the world in terms of competition, variety and other factors.

Yet the actions of Nathan Tinkler are the last straw in a nation which is becoming disgracefully bigoted and competitive when sports clash with each other.

The hurtful actions of so many towards the game of football in this country is a complete disgrace, and appears to be a unified hate agenda by this nation’s media and high powered figures.

Over 700,000 people in Australia are registered players with FFA clubs and school teams. There would be many thousands more who simply play the game for fun with mates but aren’t registered players.

Australia played four matches at the World Cup in 2006 between the hours of 11pm and 5am. The Oztam viewing figures for these matches were 2.89 million, 2.06 million, 2.77 million and 2.83 million respectively.

No other sport in this country can possibly boast such figures at this time of night. Admittedly, the audience figures were down in comparison in 2010, but that was expected after Pim Verbeek alienated many Australian football fans with his boring anti-football tactics.

No other sport in this country will ever have 10,000 people cramming into the city to watch a match on the big screen in the hours around midnight. Football supporters have passion that is hard for any other sport to surpass.

The average A-League attendance for 2011/2012 was around 10,500. The average for the NRL was 17,235. This does not by any means display a lack of interest in football in this country. All A-League clubs are less than eight years old. They have no established history of supporters.

Unlike NRL clubs where there are generations of fans attending matches, the A-League currently has one generation of fans. There will undoubtably be a boost in crowds once the children of current fans start attending games and this will continue through generations.

Clearly Australians love, enjoy and care about football in this country, so why is there such little respect for the game? There are many occasions of late that lead this question.

Nathan Tinkler opted to purchase the Jets for 10 years after cutting his short-term license short and opting to extend his deal. He then earned the ire of the Jets fans by changing their team colours in his first season in charge and ignoring their pleas to keep their colours.

He claims expenses of 12 million on the Jets. So what? This man has spent over $200 million on horse races for no more than 10 million in revenue. That’s a loss of at least $180 million.

He claims that the A-League is not profitable. Well that’s hardly a surprise. If the NRL’s Titans can average 25,000 fans for their first couple of seasons and be over $25 million in debt, than what is he expecting from a club and league with less support?

The A-League expects losses of $25-27 million across the 10 teams this year. Adding the Titans $25 million to the picture, I can guarantee that the NRL cumulative loss would be far worse. Sadly Tinkler hasn’t realised that selling sport isn’t as easy as selling stuff out of the ground.

And regarding the license fee, how can Tinkler possibly expect the same cost for acquiring any A-League club? This is completely foolish of him. Does he think that it would cost the same to buy Manchester United’s licence compared to Blackburn Rovers?

Tinkler has made his two biggest negative announcements on the day of the A-League season launch and the A-League awards respectively. The timing of these suggests that this is not coincidence, but rather a deliberate ploy to cloud the positive headlines with negative ones.

As for the media, once again their blatant snubbing of football has left so many football fans speechless. There seems to be no consistency whatsoever as to how they deem a sport’s newsworthiness.

The A-League was not competing against any of the other codes this season, yet still failed to ever get a proper mention in sports newspapers or bulletins. Instead of the Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC opener which attracted 40,000 fans, many news outlets led with stories relating to cricket leading up a Test match. The Test match had average attendances across the days of under 10,000.

Golf received more sporting headlines than the A-League over the summer. Does golf have a 700,000 strong player base? No. If you were to ask 100 Australian kids who an Australian football player is, half would be able to name Tim Cahill or Harry Kewell. How many would be able to give you the name of an Australian golfer?

Yet suddenly, when a certain billionaire from the Gold Coast starts carrying on like a fruitcake, the media is all over it. Why?

Purely and simply, the media refuses to acknowledge football in this country unless there are negative headlines. Simply put, the Australian media hates football. Why this is the case, I cannot explain.

Stay tuned for part two, and my discussion of Clive Palmer and the FFA.

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