Why A-League salary cap should be increased
Yesterday’s Manchester United exhibition match announcement has snowballed from a massive A-League television rights deal and the Alessandro Del Piero effect.
These moneymaking mechanisms have contributed to a spike in TV ratings and crowd attendances for the 2012/13 A-League season.
It is ultimately the players who are the products of this growth but they will continue to get the same slice of the pie.
Football Federation Australia chairman, Frank Lowy, said there will be no increase in the salary cap despite the game’s recent profits.
Currently, the A-League salary cap is just under $2.5 million excluding marquee signings and third party arrangements.
Clubs are expected to balance home grown talent along with overseas fringe players looking for an opportunity, which is where the bulk of recruitment will span from in the long run.
The budget makes the task difficult. The teams are relatively even but the quality has plateaued.
A look at the three mechanisms will show why spending a little more money on the salary cap will make a lot more money for Australian football:
Manchester United exhibition match
Manchester United will face an A-League All-Stars outfit in what will be Australian soccer’s showpiece for 2013.
The Red Devils will stay in Sydney for six days holding training camps for football fans before their match at ANZ Stadium.
The NSW government paid upwards of $3 million with the tour predicted to generate $16 million into the NSW economy.
Del Piero was a factor in this arrangement given he denied an offer to play for Liverpool, which almost closes the door on an EPL stint.
Matches against European heavyweights have been a hot topic in Australian football with Juventus vs Sydney FC earmarked for the A-League off-season.
The game will attract global media attention and raise the A-League profile among Manchester United, the sport’s most popular club.
TV rights deal
The A-League signed a broadcast rights deal with Fox Sports and SBS for $40 millon over four years.
The 200 percent increase has been attributed to the continual rise in crowd attendances and television ratings since the 2011/12 season.
The new deal will build off the weekly Sydney FC match shown to Italian viewers as per the Alessandro Del Piero contract.
SBS will cover the Friday night fixture, increasing the codes access to free-to-air viewers, which again raises the profile of the game.
The Del Piero effect
The great man himself has shaped the above influences but it is he himself along with Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono, who have changed the face of the A-League.
Heskey from England, Ono from Japan and Del Piero from Italy are all global heavyweights who have sparked A-League interest from their home countries.
The three men, all the better part of 30, have inspired a generation to play football.
The move down south will encourage foreign talent to emulate their heroes and play in another country for international exposure.
The latest investments will fill the game’s back protect to the brim.
The moneymaking mechanisms all frame the code’s biggest investment: the A-League.
A late-bloomer in the Australia’s round ball market, the game has the ability to span it’s talent internationally like no other.
The monetary focus into grassroots football and infrastructure are good arguments, but the game must bring new styles and ideas into the domestic realm.
The Manchester United exhibition and the TV rights deal will kick-off a strong financial year for Australian football.
The international media attention, television ratings and crowd attendances will continue to grow.
The A-League season has two transfer windows and the cap doesn’t provide enough money for one of them.
A larger salary cap will provide larger incentives for domestic players while attracting foreign interest and increase the A-League player pool.
The players are ultimately the products of these investments and their quality will dictate the direction of this code.
More money is out there if people are willing to spend it.
Frank Lowy should really think about it.