Time to promote the A-League right

hardsy Roar Pro

By hardsy, hardsy is a Roar Pro

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    A-League TV teaser ad - 'WE ARE FOOTBALL' (Image: FFA)

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    This coming A-League season is the most significant for domestic Australian football ever. Yes, that’s right, even more important that the relaunch of the domestic competition almost 10 years ago.

    For years I have seen administrators, clubs and supporters making crucial errors of judgment in various facets of the game and not learn from previous mistakes.

    The 2012/13 season could very well make or break the A-League, and so we need to excel on and off the pitch. Today is a prime example of how wrong those who run the league have got it.

    Announcing September 21st as ‘Del Piero Day’ is staggering. Yes, he is a great player and Sydney FC have pulled off one of the great sports signings in Australian history, but a league that promotes itself on an individual player just doesn’t feel right.

    If the marketing came from the club I would fully understand, but it is just another example of how out of touch some of those who sit in the boardroom are from those who they want to sit in the terraces.

    If I have learned one thing in my years of sports viewing it’s that clubs are far bigger than the individual, especially in football.

    The A-League is a very transient league; one only has to look at the club career of Michael Beauchamp over the last few seasons – three clubs in three years and he isn’t a rarity in domestic football.

    Promote the game first, followed by the club, and finally the individual.

    Another head-scratcher was the decision to let outgoing CEO Ben Buckley negotiate the television rights for the league.

    In my mind it’s a bit like letting your ex-wife redecorate your house before she moves out. Once you go through with the concept, the next person’s hands are tied.

    The future direction should be decided by those coming into the role, especially when we are talking over such an extended time-frame.

    One only has to look at the Etihad Stadium deal that Melbourne Victory have. Five times a year the club is forced to use an unsuitable venue whilst a purpose built 30,000 seater stadium sits across town empty.

    The A-League must get this season right, they have gone above and beyond and created a fantastic 90-second promotion, the best one I have seen to date, but if you aren’t on social media you probably have not managed to see it yet.

    Why 90 seconds? Why not stick to the traditional 30-second timeslot and run the promotion on free-to-air television? This may be happening but we are only two weeks out from season launch and I have seen zero promotion.

    Yes, we are in the midst of AFL/NRL finals, but what are we going to do, run a few ads on the Tuesday afternoon before the season kicks off?

    I believe we have finally got the right mix of 10 teams to give the game in this country the best possible chance of financial success. Apologies to North Queensland and Gold Coast but you are not ideal football markets.

    From day one our two biggest cities Melbourne and Sydney should have been hosting crosstown derbies. I expect the six derbies to all be in the top 10 attendance records at the end of the season.

    We know we are not the biggest sport in this country, therefore we have to grasp every opportunity and run with it.

    Those who read this are probably football fans anyway and will attend games regardless of how the league is run, but remember to think smarter this season when introducing your mates to our great league.

    Take them to a game that will evoke passion, entertain them for 90 minutes and bring them through the turnstiles once again. At the moment I believe those who run the game are failing the fans, and as fans we need to take charge and lead the way.

    Don’t sit back and expect things to happen. For the sake of our sanity take charge, lead the way and make football in this country what is should be; great.

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    The Crowd Says (55)

    • September 21st 2012 @ 5:51am
      Joe said | September 21st 2012 @ 5:51am | ! Report

      Hardsy, first of all, well done. in the above sentences you really showed both the good and the bad points of Australian football. But for every negative, there always is a posative waiting. Unfortunatley, we live in a country, dominated by NRL and AFL and the media only proves this. This is the first time i ave seen ‘Sydney Fc begin training’ on a channel 10 news program etc. The flipside to this is we have one of the biggest youth playing football in the world. all this hype and signings (Del Piero, Heskey, Ballak etc) will only spark intrest in our game from both nationally and beyond.
      You wrote promote the game first, then club and induavidual.. and no one is bigger than the league. i disagree to a point. Del piero will hopefully do here what david beckham did in the usa. Put bums on seats, put cash in accounts and turn tv’s on world wide.
      Shirt sales for sydney fc have been selling off the hook as quickly as the make them and for the first time EVER, they are being sold internationally. For the first time, people from around the world have asked for tv rights for the A-League to tune in. we will now be showing live games to all of asia, the middle east and some parts of europe. (italy etc) all the above because of 1 signature.
      Another thing that has occured is the advertisment to other great players of our country and league. If ballak and heskey are already packing to come down under, imagine who will be here next year.
      Finally. i beleive we need a couple of things to happen. Firstly, and this goes to everyone. GO WATCH THE GAMES!! we will have people watching from all over the world and they need to see full stadiums, not 5000 people scattered accross a park.
      Secondly. Let our stars do their thing. People dont need to see these big signings hacked down or injured because of some dodgy defender that wants to make a name for himself. Unfortunatly, for the league to succeed, so do these big stars. Last year, Harry Kewell and melbourne failed miserably and finished poorly. this is not a good investment plan for the league.
      Finally. for the first time ever, the intrest in the A-League is huge. but we need more. our free to air channels and radio need to support us more and in our new media tv plan next year, i beleive we need an nrl type tv deal with at least 1 game shown on free to air tv each week.
      Have fun this year.

      • September 21st 2012 @ 7:52am
        Kasey said | September 21st 2012 @ 7:52am | ! Report

        Yes it grates, but you have to remember that the vast majority of football fans who post on here are not the target audience. We already have our season tickets and are engaged completely with domestic football. This ‘promotion’ attempt by FFA is not designed to make football fans feel better about their choice of football code.

        I watch my Reds regardless of the opposition, HAL, pre-season, Champions league I watch it all. I had my ST/Membership renewal in the day they were released ( well before ADP was even a rumour.)

        It is obviously designed to engage the theatre goer, the ’fan’ who over the course of the season might only attend one or two games. #DelPieroDay makes complete sense in this regard. If you are only going to go to the game where the team in your city hosts Sydney FC, then your chance to buy tickets is approaching. It is then up to the individual clubs to take advantage of this and produce a game-day experience that entices the theatre goer to return.

    • September 21st 2012 @ 7:56am
      Vic said | September 21st 2012 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      Just a heads up on some of your ‘facts’.

      Etihad Stadium gives Victory use of their facility for free. They get the ability to sell another event to Medallion Club members and get the food and drinks. At the moment hosting soccer costs them a lot of money. Stadium management would love to see the back of A-League as their fans have a tendency to break seats, burn things and extra security needs to be hired.

      Also, the deal with MVFC was done before there was an AAMI Park in Melb. Victory did very well out of the deal actually initially before A-League crowds dropped right off.

      If they played over at AAMI park, MVFC would have to pay ground rental, and that is actually pretty pricey.

      As a fan, I prefer Etihad, because they shut the roof and it has better transport options. Sightlines are okay.

      • September 21st 2012 @ 9:17am
        Football United said | September 21st 2012 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        You’re having a laugh if you call yourself a fan and prefer etihad.

        30 000 at AAMI Park >>>>>> 50 000 at Etihad. Even the smaller games have had much better atmosphere because the supporters are so much closer to the action. Etihad is a soulless cavern and the sightlines are vile for anything that’s not AFL, especially in the bottom tier behind the goals.

        Security are nowhere near as bad at AAMI Park as they are known to be at Etihad. Etihad and their ACG goons are the pits of crowd management in this country.

        Etihad has next to zero nearby pre and post match entertainment options, compared to the bars on swan street, nor are they are anywhere near as football fan friendly (Corner Hotel excluded). The only nearby bar of note that services large amounts of noisy MVFC fans is the Nixon, which is crap value and lucky to open on a weekend anyway. As for families, there are countless who love kicking a football with the kids before a match on Gosch’s Paddock or (given enough time) have taken to having a pre-match BBQ on the far side of the Yarra.

        As for transport, it’s bang on a major train station servicing all eastern suburb lines, a max of two stops away from Southern Cross as well as being serviced by a tram line as well. It’s sad if that tiny extra journey is going to put you off AAMI Park.

        • September 21st 2012 @ 8:19pm
          Ballymore said | September 21st 2012 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

          It is Etihad any better when they bring the stadium in? (Like the friendly vs LA Galaxy).

          I assume cost prevents this happening more regularly?

          • September 21st 2012 @ 11:26pm
            Vic said | September 21st 2012 @ 11:26pm | ! Report

            They quote $60,000 to do it, and won’t because it takes two days work to pull the seats in, dig holes for the stands to sit on(they weight tonnes), and not to mention the damage to the turf over two or three days. Park your car on the front lawn for 3 days and see how good the grass is after that. It is possible but it is difficult and costly.

            If you live out west, Etihad is far better. I hate going to that other side of the city. You need to change trains and then hike miles from Richmond to get to AAMI.

            Let Heart have AAMI, Victory should play at Etihad. Victory should represent the north and western side of town, let the other clowns have the other bit out east. The endless and boring sprawl.

            • September 22nd 2012 @ 1:33am
              Football United said | September 22nd 2012 @ 1:33am | ! Report

              Melbourne Victory have represented Professional football in Victoria since November 1 2004. It is the entrenched team, has represented the WHOLE CITY for over 7 years and is not up to them to create a point of difference because the new lot was too lazy to be anything else than a leach.

              as for hiking miles……. are you serious? It is 300m from the olympic boulevard entrance of Richmond Station to the stadium! Such comments should be considered as coming from an oxygen thief or a AFL troll.

          • September 24th 2012 @ 8:33am
            Kasey said | September 24th 2012 @ 8:33am | ! Report

            As a South Australian I offer my congratulations to Victoria.
            Docklands is a wonderful stadium.
            It is so good that when the ‘ build a new stadium OR improve Adelaide Oval’ debate was happening last year over here it was regularly put up as the standard to aim for a covered multi use stadium in the Adelaide CBD(over the North Tce rail yards)
            As it isit became political each major part chose one option and then went to the State election with that policy. ALP won so AO v3.0 was given the go-ahead. In 2014 Adelaide will get a modern Oval Stadium a mere 800 meters from ADL central train station and ~ 90% of suburban bus routes(which terminate on or about KWS)

            In Oval mode docklands is brilliant for AFL footy and the Level 2 and medallion Club seating has got to be the best seating in Oz to take in a game of AFL footy. Its that type of seating that will continue to entice people/fans off their couches and away from their mega Plasma screens to take in live footy. Unfortunately in Oval mode, there is only one worse ground in Australia than docklands for viewing sports played on a rectangular field, sadly that is the great MCG. Mainly due to the shallow rake of the lower tier, this being the tier where the majority of seats are located for your average punter.

            Its even worse for football than either of the Rugbies as often the ball is obscured by the advertising hoarding placed around the pitch, where as in either Rugby the ball is often at waist height. For football aficionados who like to see the game played on the deck… this is a major turn off.

            If God had wanted us to play football in the air – he would have put grass up there!”
            ~ Brian Clough – take that Foz 😉

            When the lower tier is brought in, those level 2 seats are still awesome, and the crappy lower tier sightlines are vastly improved. Perhaps in the future the Stadium can be retro fitted with a mechanism that makes it quicker, cheaper and less damaging to the turf to bring the seats in? I don’t really see this happening though as the AFL takes over the ownership of the stadium from2025(?) IIRC. What incentive do they have to investigate this?
            To date the cost of bringing the lower tier seats in has been borne by whichever promoter wanted to hire the venue and I can only recall one HAL game where the seats have been in MVC v GCU approx two seasons ago….not sure who paid for that one, but the atmosphere was another level up on what MVC fans usually produce at least IMO.

      • Roar Guru

        September 21st 2012 @ 12:10pm
        TomC said | September 21st 2012 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

        ‘Etihad Stadium gives Victory use of their facility for free’

        One of two things has happened here. Either Vic is confused about the difference between a flat fee for stadium use (as is common for most HAL clubs) and a fee based on attendances (as the Victory have with Etihad), or this is just an outright lie.

        Vic also is now the only MV supporters I’ve ever heard claim that Etihad is a better place to watch football. I assume Vic is the owner of a pair of high powered binoculars.

        In any case, I think with a new team in Melbourne it makes more sense for the Victory to play a few games at Etihad. It creates another point of difference between the two clubs.

        • September 21st 2012 @ 11:33pm
          Vic said | September 21st 2012 @ 11:33pm | ! Report

          Well, if they pay a fee. What is it? Unless it has changed in the last month it is free. The Stadium gets to use the games as a selling point, put it to use and when the deal was struck there was no AAMI. The Richmond stadium is actually quite pricey to rent out.

          There is loads of MV fans who prefer Etihad and do not bother going to the new stadium. Docklands has better car parks, and trains.

          Have a look at average attendances for the two grounds, you will see the gates are actually better at Docklands.

          The initial buzz of A-League has worn off and now it is only the die hards going along, so the smaller venues make better sense, yes, but remember the deal was done when it was boom times.

      • September 21st 2012 @ 2:51pm
        mahony said | September 21st 2012 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

        I am not even going to dignify that load of dribble….

      • Roar Guru

        September 21st 2012 @ 4:32pm
        Fussball ist unser leben said | September 21st 2012 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

        “Etihad Stadium gives Victory use of their facility for free”

        I read that sentence & realised Vic is talking nonsense.

        Can’t be bothered with the rest – Vic is an AFL fan, who trolls the football forum every day.

        Juvenile behaviour that’s becoming very boring.

    • September 21st 2012 @ 8:07am
      nordster said | September 21st 2012 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      I dont think there are too many ‘wrong’ ways to market the tickets. Whether its ‘Del Piero Day’ or whatever…little gimmicks here and there can help attract interest. Marketing isnt about one magic thing to get everyone interested. Its lots of little things that add up. ‘ADP Day’ seems like a good way to attract a few casual punters along to me.

      As far as marketing from the club vs the league, mostly its better from the club. But for Sydney and the amount of national media there, a combination is worth having. Especially as so many fans around the country will buy away tickets in their cities.

    • September 21st 2012 @ 8:44am
      Azdiggitydogg said | September 21st 2012 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      lets be honest though… ‘if you aren’t on social media??’
      what kind of question is that? everyones on social media!!

      • September 21st 2012 @ 4:44pm
        Realfootball said | September 21st 2012 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

        Nope. Don’t need it in any way. And I’m not alone.

        • Roar Guru

          September 21st 2012 @ 4:55pm
          Fussball ist unser leben said | September 21st 2012 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

          “Nope. Don’t need it in any way. And I’m not alone.”

          You do realise why they preface the word “media” with the adjective, “social”?

          Alas, you’ll need at least 1 friend to make social media a little bit interesting.

          • September 21st 2012 @ 5:42pm
            Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | September 21st 2012 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

            Touche! You two have quite a little love affair going on between each other. I’ll stay out of it. Good to watch all the same.

        • Roar Guru

          September 21st 2012 @ 5:02pm
          langou said | September 21st 2012 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

          Im not on social media either. I tried facebook once and found that the less interesting a person was the more likely they were to post and tell everyone about their life.

        • September 21st 2012 @ 8:32pm
          Brick Tamlin of the Pants Party said | September 21st 2012 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

          Not on facebook and proud!I’ve found staying off facebook has made me become somewhat of an enigma amongst even my closest friends.

    • September 21st 2012 @ 9:15am
      Tanu57 said | September 21st 2012 @ 9:15am | ! Report

      How about we change ‘market’ to ‘supporter base’… ‘brand’ to ‘game’ or ‘sport’… ‘event’ to ‘match’ and ‘franchise’ to ‘club’…
      Just for starters.

      To think that the ‘clubs’ want to build their futures on people who are there because they buy into some effective advertising and market research, and not because they simply love the game and want to support their local big-league team, never ceases to disapoint me. And to see people so comfortably throwing around this inane terminology doubly disapoints me. Just because a bunch of suits in offices at the top see things that way, it doesn’t mean that fans should accept it.

    • September 21st 2012 @ 9:25am
      striker said | September 21st 2012 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      FFA should start avertising the season now on free to Air TV and plaster Del piero face everywhere, we need saturation of him and you will see this season go crazy, im sure this season will smash all records in terms of tv viewers and record attendencies across the league especially if ballack signs for west sydney, heskey already at Newcastle, there is more excitement than season 1.

      • September 21st 2012 @ 9:44am
        Tanu57 said | September 21st 2012 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        Haven’t we already got enough celebrity worship in this country? How about we treat Del Piero like a human being!

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