Is it football or TV? The A-League’s key question
Upon viewing the recent Channel 9 mini-series Howzat, it got me thinking about the relationship between football and sports broadcasting, something I feel hasn’t yet been fully thought out.
There is a scene in the second episode of Howzat where cricket players are working with Channel Nine officials to choose the right ball to use for night cricket.
Packer’s revolution insisted on the white ball for the ease of television viewers.
During the discussion, Clayton Weston (in the role of Ian Chappell) turns to asks a Channel 9 staff member “Is it cricket, or TV?”
This is a great question: one that’s totally relevant to the A-League today, and one that I feel hasn’t been fully answered yet.
My point is, if football is a sport first and foremost, then a team such as Wellington Phoenix should not be in the A-League, because Australia would be assisting a rival in developing their sporting talent and expertise.
However, if football is classed as television foremost, then a team such as Wellington Phoenix should stay in the A-League because TV rights and subsequent exposure with another country in the league is increased by a factor of four million people, expanding the market and making things more attractive for sponsors.
For the A-League to move onward and upward, I feel that someone needs to ask the question, right now, “Is it football, or is it TV?”
It’s the only way we can keep in tune with the sports broadcasting revolution Kerry Packer helped instigate in the late 1970s.
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