While the action on the park in the first month of season five of the A-League has been filled with lots of action and goals (54 goals scored at at average of 2.7 goals a game) and controversy (cardboard Miron cut outs), most of the talk off the pitch has centered on the low NSL-type crowd figures.
Football pundits and bloggers have been speculating on why the crowds are so low.
Some have said that it’s because of the A-League’s early start causing the season to overlap into the peak of NRL, AFL and rugby seasons.
While I definitely think the overlapping seasons is one of the main reasons, I think there are three other main reasons.
And I’m sure you have read about them somewhere else.
First is the poor timing of the games, such as Thursday night and 3pm kick offs.
Number two is the backlash by fans not impressed with the overpricing of tickets in some markets such as Brisbane and Gold Coast.
The final reason is also a lack of promotion, with fingers pointed straight at the direction of the Football Federation Australia.
With no presence on free to air television, most people would not even know who is playing, never mind what times the games are on.
In a story John Taylor wrote for the Daily Telegraph this week, the only people happy with the low crowds appear to be TV rights holder, Fox Sports. Murray Shaw, the executive producer of football for the network, said: “The cumulative reach is up 4 per cent year on year, which means more people have watched this year’s coverage than ever before. This is an extraordinary effort given that two of the four rounds have been up against the Ashes.”
This is quite an ironic result as the reasons for the early kick offs is because of Fox Sports scheduling.
Another Thursday night kick off is sure to provide a smaller crowd for the Victory Jets game that kicks off round five of the A League, as Thursday is not a traditional football night in Australia, or anywhere else in the world.
When you decide to play with the Devil, you can’t really complain when he cheats.