BBL and the A-League: Why can’t we be friends?

Liam Clarkson Roar Rookie

By , Liam Clarkson is a Roar Rookie

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    Mike Tuckerman’s recent article regarding the A–League’s annual demolition by the Big Bash League was an excellent example of a growing trend in modern sport – the adversarial attitude.

    That we as fans are often subject to rants from others about why our code or sport in general is something to be ridiculed is a small, if frustrating burden.

    What I specifically object to from Tuckerman is his condescending view of the BBL’s comparatively impure nature.

    Yes, the BBL is a far more casual game than the A–League, which is essentially the same game as the world’s best in Europe (quality notwithstanding).

    However, saying the BBL is like a circus and he can’t distinguish teams, recognise players or recall results doesn’t mean that it’s a lifeless product; rather, it’s a sport that Mike doesn’t care for.

    That is perfectly fine. I don’t expect everyone to enjoy watching every sport because I sure as hell don’t.

    Frankly, I don’t care too much for golf or UFC, but I have no issue with people being passionate about those sports despite my lack of interest in them. Sport is as much a matter of personal taste as it is a matter of objective spectacle.

    Some, like me, see the A–League as a highly entertaining competition, whereas others see a dull and poor relation to what is an overrated European game.

    Similarly, some view the BBL as a boring, cheap and nasty version of what is already a snooze-fest of a game played by only a dozen nations. Others, like me, love the frequency of it and the ease with which a viewer can take in the contest.

    The two competitions are totally different from each other. I know Mike identified this, but he seemed at pains to wonder what the FFA could possibly do to arrest the slip in crowds and TV ratings which hits the A–League every summer.

    The answer, Mike, is nothing.

    A boring BBL game, such as Hobart’s easy chase against Adelaide on Monday night, will still feature plenty of sixes and wickets, the key ingredients for the BBL’s entertainment recipe.

    A boring A–League game on the other hand, such as Wellington’s 0-0 draw versus Adelaide on Sunday, will have little to keep the viewer stimulated enough to avoid changing channel.

    This is the nature of the football beast. You can’t mess with the core product because that is what its whole success is built on.

    The FFA could shorten the competition from 27 rounds to 18 and start a travelling five-a-side tournament to directly compete with the BBL on entertainment, but such action would inevitably end in total failure.

    The FFA need to know when they are beaten – December and January, specifically.

    We don’t need to deride the quality, or lack thereof, of the BBL. The people have spoken, it’s what they want for their easy summer viewing.

    I meanwhile, will be happy to switch between Channel Ten and Fox Sports on a regular basis to get my fix of each major code this summer.

    In the words of the girl from the Old El Paso ads, “¿Por qué no los dos?” – “Why don’t we have both?”

    I will also be bringing a friend of mine to the W–League/A–League double-header at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday for her first ever sporting event, such is my faith in football.

    Mike, I’m sure you will be in attendance and would be happy to discuss our differences at the game in person. I love football just as much as you do, let’s not have differing opinions get in the way of that. It’s just not cricket.

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