Does FFA have the killer instinct to poach sponsors?

Nick Symonds Roar Rookie

By Nick Symonds, Nick Symonds is a Roar Rookie

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    There are too many professional sports teams in Australia and FFA should start poaching sponsors from other codes.

    Australia has a small population and an overcrowded sports market, which makes it difficult for anyone to survive.

    FFA need to have the killer instinct and try to take sponsors off struggling rival codes.

    The BBL, AFL, NRL, NBL, Super Rugby, Super Netball and the A-League have 72 professional teams between them.

    The BBL is still growing and will only get stronger, but Test cricket is going the way of the dodo. The crowds that showed up at the SCG would have looked better at North Sydney Oval or maybe even Drummoyne.

    Netball is unique in being the only professional sport where the women’s competition is the highest level of the sport, so they should be safe.

    But the sick man of Australian sport, rugby union, looks like dying. The FFA Cup gets double the number of viewers as the National Rugby Championship on Foxtel and the code is rapidly losing players.

    To a lesser extent, rugby league is also struggling, especially with poor crowds in its traditional heartland of Sydney, and a number of NRL teams are in a bad situation financially.

    AFL is of course the juggernaut of Australian sport and won’t fall over anytime soon, but there are weak spots like the Gold Coast, Western Sydney, Brisbane, Port Adelaide, North Melbourne and St Kilda.

    Basketball has lost 24 teams over the years and is simply a basket case.

    The V8 Supercars are now just called ‘Supercars’ due to rule changes and have lost many fans since becoming a silhouette series. Finding circuits that are suitable to race on is another problem.

    FFA need to target the sick and the weak, and attempt to bring their sponsorship money over to the A-League where it can be better used.

    A-League in business
    Melbourne Victory have a corporate networking initiative called ‘Victory in Business’ to link sponsors with the club. This has become the largest corporate network of any football club of any code in Australia.

    FFA should set up an ‘A-League in Business’ group, with the objective of trying to poach sponsors from other sports. Through ALIB, FFA can promote the opportunities the World Game can offer sponsors, and get them to shift their money to the A-League.

    While it might be unlikely that an entire code like the AFL or NRL could collapse, rugby union is a dying sport and the FFA Cup gets twice the number of viewers as the National Rugby Championship.

    It would be much better value for money if the sponsors took their money and put it into an A-League second division instead.

    As for the AFL and NRL, there are much better options for sponsors in the A-League than there are in the struggling teams in these codes.

    Why would sponsors want to back the Greater Wetern Sydney Giants when they could support a new A-League team in Fairfield, who could reach an audience of millions through the Asian Champions League?

    Why sponsor the North Melbourne Kangaroos when you could sponsor a new A-League team in Dandenong, Laverton or Keilor Plains?

    Why would sponsors stick with the Raiders when they could back a new A-League team? Especially when Canberra has 30,000 registered players which is more than all the other codes combined.

    And what future is there for motor racing when racing circuits are being targeted and taken over by developers?

    What good is it to sponsor a Supercars team for $20 million a year when the same money could turn Perth Glory into a club as big as Victory?

    These are just a few examples of where money could be better spent, but if FFA created a group like ALIB then maybe they could actually start to tempt sponsors away from other sports.

    As long as the sports market in Australia remains overcrowded the A-League will struggle for money. FFA need to target the sponsors of other sports. That’s where the money to build up the A-League and football in Australia will come from domestically.