This year my reading of the tea leafs is the league overall has become much more watchable and there are far less poor games.
I was one of those who constantly suggested not to take the league to free-to-air before we had a decent competition and to be honest in seasons one to six it would have killed the game to go free-to-air.
When we went to SBS in season nine I was not overly sad as I felt we are still not ready for free-to-air commercial broadcaster.
Today we are ready to move to a free-to-air commercial station. The increase in quality will in turn produce multi watchers – i.e. folk who are prepared to watch even if is not their team.
Normally free-to-air ratings rate between three and four times that of pay TV. A free-to-air commercial broadcaster could reasonably expect a 200K ratings that over time will build.
That amount for A-League matches, on a secondary channel with a handful of Socceroo matches plus finals and some Matilda games would make football attractive to all the commercial free-to-air networks.
Football with its massive player base, has only an 18 per cent conversion rate from player to watcher. The game is just waiting to lift this percentage.
A lot has changed over the last three years, the Socceroos have been reinvented and are again exciting, the Matildas are creating a name for themselves.
Dave Gallop has also sold football to the mainstream media, and there are way fewer anti-football articles today. The A-League is viewed as an Australian league today.
Arguably the biggest change has been Optus and BeIn sport entry into the football market in Australia. Creating two football knowledgeable media players can only add to football’s value.
In addition Telstra has openly said they want to sell their share in Fox, further indicating a future were new players shake up the old guard.