A-League sets TV screens and stadiums alight
Sydney FC player Alessandro Del Piero. AP Photo/Rob Griffith
The pure, goal-scoring potency of Emile Heskey, the supreme genius of Alessandro Del Piero and the poise of Shinji Ono have helped make the 2012/2013 A-League season a hot property.
And now we have the numbers to back it up.
According to new data released today by the FFA, Del Piero’s first home match against Heskey’s Jets in round 2 has set a new regular season average TV audience for a single match of 164,367.
It eclipsed the previous record of 162,417 – set in the opening round of the 2011/2012 season when Sydney FC faced Melbourne Victory.
The A-League’s three marquee men – Heskey, Del Piero and Ono – have not only given their teams a big boost but the competition a huge shot in the arm as well.
The foundation of the strong performing 2011/2012 season, including the history-making Brisbane Roar and the introduction of the Western Sydney Wanderers, have been other important building blocks.
Increased media coverage has helped increase TV ratings for the whole competition, as after four rounds the average telly audience of nearly 95,000 is on target for an all-time season average record.
It’s in the same in the stands.
Average attendances are at 15,460, a 20% increase on the same point in 2011/2012.
The lift in attendance means the A-League is now the third best-attended competition in Asia, behind the Chinese Super League and the J-League, and 14th in the world. It now sits ahead of leagues in Brazil, Turkey, Scotland, Russia, Korea, Portugal, Belgium and Korea.
These aren’t numbers that will scare the AFL or the NRL, yet. But they are massively encouraging and a sign that football is on an upward curve.
Maintaining this momentum and the love-in period is key.
Qualification for the Socceroos at the next World Cup, the continuing improvement of the standard of play in the A-League and a better TV deal, which includes free-to-air rights, should be the next goals. The FFA must strike while the iron is hot
There have been too many false dawns in the history of Australian football.
Time will tell if this is another one or a permanent change to our sporting landscape.
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