The year is 2018. Attendances and memberships have gone up rapidly over the past four years and the FFA has decided it’s time to add an expansion team to the now thriving A-League.
But nobody can seem to agree on which city shall receive the A-League license. Here are the candidates.
Population: 374,658 (all populations are from a study conducted in 2012)
Possible stadium: Canberra Stadium
The nation’s capital is home to the most well supported side in the W-League and two dissolved NSL sides.
Unfortunately the city’s small population and overwhelming popularity of rugby league in the ACT would make it nearly impossible for a team in Canberra to get many fans through the gate on match day.
Possible stadium: Stockland Park
Queensland State league side Sunshine Coast FC have already shown interest in joining the A-League. The club’s stadium Stockland Park currently has a capacity of 12,000, which is below A-League standard.
Plans in place to expand the stadium involve turning it into a premier boutique stadium, which a capacity of 15,000 or more. But will an A-League side in this region attract enough support from the local community?
Possible stadiums: York Park and Bellerive Oval
A team representing the whole state would be more realistic than giving the license to an individual city. Tassie has had exposure to A-League football with the Melbourne Victory staging pre- season matches and a home game, against Gold Coast United in 2012, in Tasmania.
The current Tasmanian bid is Tasmania United, who propose to play home matches at both York Park and Bellerive Oval while using Devenport Oval and North Hobart oval for friendlies.
An A-League side in Tasmania receiving enough support is questionable.
Population: 1,529,300 metropolitan population (June 2013 estimate)
Possible stadium: North Harbour Stadium
Despite the failure of the now defunct New Zealand Knights (based in Auckland), the relative success of the Wellington Phoenix has raised the possibility of a second New Zealand side in the future.
Phoenix games in Auckland have produced crowds of 15-20,000, which is much higher than the miserable 3,989 which was the New Zealand Knights average attendance for the 2006/07 season.
A successful expansion to Auckland is unlikely unless lessons are learnt from the Knights’ miserable and unsuccessful time in the A-League.
Possible stadium: Kardinia Park
A team in Geelong seems unlikely as it is too close to Melbourne. Melbourne Victory have hosted A-League pre-season matches at Kardinia Park, and are due to play an Asian Champions League qualifier at the venue.
Greater Geelong Galaxy FC has announced its intention to bid for a National Premier League license, which raised the possibility of the region gaining an A-League licence.
The prospect of Geelong having a A-League side is very hard to imagine, as it would probably suffer low attendances due to lack of support.
Possible stadium: Willows Sports Complex
Since its unfortunate exit from the A-League in 2011, the North Queensland Fury (now re branded as the Northern Fury) has been getting crowds of up to 2,500 to their NPL Queensland games at Townsville Sport Reserve.
The club is expected field a Youth League side and a W-League side in 2015/16, and from there the clubs looks to gain admittance to the A-League.
The question remains, though – can Townsville sustain an A-League team the second time around?