What is the Australian media’s problem with football?

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    Australian sport has long been touted as among the best in the world in terms of competition, variety and other factors.

    Yet the actions of Nathan Tinkler are the last straw in a nation which is becoming disgracefully bigoted and competitive when sports clash with each other.

    The hurtful actions of so many towards the game of football in this country is a complete disgrace, and appears to be a unified hate agenda by this nation’s media and high powered figures.

    Over 700,000 people in Australia are registered players with FFA clubs and school teams. There would be many thousands more who simply play the game for fun with mates but aren’t registered players.

    Australia played four matches at the World Cup in 2006 between the hours of 11pm and 5am. The Oztam viewing figures for these matches were 2.89 million, 2.06 million, 2.77 million and 2.83 million respectively.

    No other sport in this country can possibly boast such figures at this time of night. Admittedly, the audience figures were down in comparison in 2010, but that was expected after Pim Verbeek alienated many Australian football fans with his boring anti-football tactics.

    No other sport in this country will ever have 10,000 people cramming into the city to watch a match on the big screen in the hours around midnight. Football supporters have passion that is hard for any other sport to surpass.

    The average A-League attendance for 2011/2012 was around 10,500. The average for the NRL was 17,235. This does not by any means display a lack of interest in football in this country. All A-League clubs are less than eight years old. They have no established history of supporters.

    Unlike NRL clubs where there are generations of fans attending matches, the A-League currently has one generation of fans. There will undoubtably be a boost in crowds once the children of current fans start attending games and this will continue through generations.

    Clearly Australians love, enjoy and care about football in this country, so why is there such little respect for the game? There are many occasions of late that lead this question.

    Nathan Tinkler opted to purchase the Jets for 10 years after cutting his short-term license short and opting to extend his deal. He then earned the ire of the Jets fans by changing their team colours in his first season in charge and ignoring their pleas to keep their colours.

    He claims expenses of 12 million on the Jets. So what? This man has spent over $200 million on horse races for no more than 10 million in revenue. That’s a loss of at least $180 million.

    He claims that the A-League is not profitable. Well that’s hardly a surprise. If the NRL’s Titans can average 25,000 fans for their first couple of seasons and be over $25 million in debt, than what is he expecting from a club and league with less support?

    The A-League expects losses of $25-27 million across the 10 teams this year. Adding the Titans $25 million to the picture, I can guarantee that the NRL cumulative loss would be far worse. Sadly Tinkler hasn’t realised that selling sport isn’t as easy as selling stuff out of the ground.

    And regarding the license fee, how can Tinkler possibly expect the same cost for acquiring any A-League club? This is completely foolish of him. Does he think that it would cost the same to buy Manchester United’s licence compared to Blackburn Rovers?

    Tinkler has made his two biggest negative announcements on the day of the A-League season launch and the A-League awards respectively. The timing of these suggests that this is not coincidence, but rather a deliberate ploy to cloud the positive headlines with negative ones.

    As for the media, once again their blatant snubbing of football has left so many football fans speechless. There seems to be no consistency whatsoever as to how they deem a sport’s newsworthiness.

    The A-League was not competing against any of the other codes this season, yet still failed to ever get a proper mention in sports newspapers or bulletins. Instead of the Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC opener which attracted 40,000 fans, many news outlets led with stories relating to cricket leading up a Test match. The Test match had average attendances across the days of under 10,000.

    Golf received more sporting headlines than the A-League over the summer. Does golf have a 700,000 strong player base? No. If you were to ask 100 Australian kids who an Australian football player is, half would be able to name Tim Cahill or Harry Kewell. How many would be able to give you the name of an Australian golfer?

    Yet suddenly, when a certain billionaire from the Gold Coast starts carrying on like a fruitcake, the media is all over it. Why?

    Purely and simply, the media refuses to acknowledge football in this country unless there are negative headlines. Simply put, the Australian media hates football. Why this is the case, I cannot explain.

    Stay tuned for part two, and my discussion of Clive Palmer and the FFA.

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    The Crowd Says (126)

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:32am
      Dillan said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      Too many people in the media are commenting on Football who have no idea about the sport. I always pick and choose the articles I read based on who is writing… There are a few writers who are usually have a balanced and knowledgeable perspective…

      • April 12th 2012 @ 8:51am
        Kasey said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:51am | ! Report

        It is easy for someone with no knowlege of the game to cobble tgether a wonky hatchet job attacking the game. You’ve just got to pick and choose a few key phrases and you can be sure there will be someone from within the football community who will latch on to it and say: “see, this person is right!” Look at that idiot Foster fawning over Palnmer on TWG rather than asking him pointed questions about his inability to run even one club. Foster is blinded by his disdain of all things FFA and Buckley andwas thus unable to see what was right infront of him, that Palmer is a ase;lf interested egomaniac – hell bent on damaging our game to settle a billionaire’s score with Lowy. Our great inability to unite as a game is what ultimately leads to the some of(but not all) the attack pieces on the game. We are a fractured fanbase quite happy to attack each other(old Soccer v New football is just one example) and thus we reap what we sew to a certain extent. I can’t wait[/sarcasm] to read what serial socka poison pen BecWilson can come up with this weekend. It should be a beauty:)

        • April 12th 2012 @ 9:58am
          JamesP said | April 12th 2012 @ 9:58am | ! Report

          I know there is an element of sarcasm in you saying you cant wait for Rebecca Wilsons article to come up, but the fact that you will no doubt read it, and possibly feel compelled to comment on it (as we probably all are), means she is doing her job fantastically.

          • April 12th 2012 @ 11:21am
            Dillan said | April 12th 2012 @ 11:21am | ! Report

            I don’t read any of her articles anymore for those exact reasons… She hasn’t anything positive to say on any code…

          • April 12th 2012 @ 11:49am
            PeterK said | April 12th 2012 @ 11:49am | ! Report

            Rebecca WHO?

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:47am
      Tigranes said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      When the likes of Tinkler and Palmer were announced as investors in their respective A-League clubs, the soccer fraternity boasted that this was proof that soccer was the only sport that could get billionaire backing. Now that these blokes have left the sport, its about a lack of respect?

      I dont believe the problem is with the media, the problem is with the way soccer authorities engage with their player base. Australia has 1m registered soccer players, Sydney would have close to 50% of that. If Sydney FC were able to get 10% of that player base to every home game, Allianz Stadium would be sold out every game.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:49am
      Football Fan said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      You mean to say that ‘the Australian media’ reported stories about things that went wrong? What a pack of ! Why can’t they just ignore all the administrative turmoil going on and talk about how awesome everything is?? It’s not fair!

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:56am
      Crashy said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      As an independent observer of the game I would argue that the media coverage has been pretty good. I would agree that the FTA stations are a disgrace in that they will ignore any sports that are not shown on their station. I was mildly bemused when Channel 7 showed the AFL results in Sydney but mentioned nothing about last weekend’s A-league finals.
      I think that as Football ( and rugby to a lesser degree) supporters we will always struggle to get the media coverage that we believe we deserve. I was actually gobsmasked when chatting with a terrorgraph journo last year – he was so biased towards his preferred code that he was aggressive to any other codes. You can imagine the bias therefore in his writings…
      I think we need to let this ‘woe-is-us’ attitude to the media go – it creates a victim mentality that the code warriors love.
      Tell em to get nicked.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:59am
      daniel said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      I think you might have been watching a few too many episodes of the X-files of late. Media, like any normal business is run to make money. It will jump on any bandwagon if it thinks it will get a few dollars out of it. It will also not shoot itself in the foot in regards to existing contracts. Channel 7 has the tv rights to the majority of AFL games and will place an overwhelming focus on promoting the sport, thereby increasing the value of its asset. The same applies to channel 9 with the cricket. None of the commercial channels have any vested interest in football, and so cant really be expected to giving it more than a passing glance. SBS is different in that it targets the ethnic communities and isnt run for profit.
      Back in Glory’s prime, the West Australian (local newspaper) used to include a 10 page football wrap every wednesday, but as Glory’s performance suffered and the crowds dropped, it found that it wasnt making any extra sales on the wrap and so dropped it. Now we just get one page per day if we’re lucky.
      The only way to build the profile of the sport in this country is to turn up every week to support your club.

      • April 12th 2012 @ 10:03am
        apaway said | April 12th 2012 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        But Daniel, there used to be the notion of an “independent” media, and that no longer exists.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 9:33am
      Guido said | April 12th 2012 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      No, I think that this article has some very good points. As a follower of football in Asutralian for the past 20 years or so there is no doubt that there is bias in the media. Let’s take the example of when something negative happens in the AFL (could be about racism, or a player misbehaving. But I also remember the difficulties of the Sydney Swans and the Brisbane Bears when they were being established) the media doesn’t go ” oh my god the AFL shot itself in the foot, it’s all over how can a sport survive etc. The article point out that the difficulties are there, but there is always a thread of supporting the sport and a hope that it will be sorted out. With football the existence of the sport is put into question. After the 10000th headline of ‘soccer own goal’ ( can’t headline subs be a bit more original? ) there is no spirit of ‘hopefully the aleague/football will prosper) but that “it may falll all to pieces and frankly only a minority will care anyway”. Football, in the mainstream media is stil seen as an import, something that interest mainly migrants and something that is not as ‘Australian’ as AFL and NRL. Does reflect reality? No. But that doesn’t concern the mainstream media.

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