Franklin D Roosevelt coined a new economic program, the New Deal during the great depression years of the late 1920s and early 1930s. He a new way of looking at economics and how governments run their nations.
We are not going to talk about FDR’s economic management.
I hope to explore what football needs from the next media deal. Depending on who you listen to, talks have stalled, are about to begin and are well advanced.
FFA have openly said they want a commercial free-to-air broadcaster partner. Further FFA seem willing to take a significant revenue hit ensure a commercial free-to-air partner is found.
Those around long enough will remember when after the 1997 lost to Iran, the then NSL chairman David Hill signed a one million dollar per year deal with Channels Seven and Optus. Seven showed a handful of games Optus folded and the games were moved to 2:00am.
Who can forget the email from seven to the AFL when seven lost the AFL rights to nine?
For the sake of a starting point I am going to assume FFA manage to get a commercial free-to-air partner. The best logic I have for this assumption was the coverage on all commercial free-to-air broadcasters of the League finals and recent international matches.
The dying years of the NSL reflected a management team that was totally out of its depth in running a professional league and connecting with the broader public. Inept, corrupt, inward looking and plagued by internal factions.
Then we started A-League with one of Australia’s most astute business and planning brains in Frank Lowy – and it was his third attempt having failed badly at his first two attempts.
Frank has taken football from niche national team, to football being today being an accepted sport in the mainstream.
This achievement has been excellently finished by Gallop in particular, but the process was started by John O’Neill.
The initial launch message was ‘Old Soccer New Football’ so poor was football seen at this point.
The next was ‘We Are Football’ to draw everyone back together and mend fences for the NPL and the FFA Cup, further sending a message to the Australian media we are united not a rabble anymore. The message is still being sent
Then a series of in-your-face statements to let the public and media know we are around, growing and mainstream.
Today football is united in a way I never thought possible. Old wounds may still be there, like the bitterness between NSW Associations and many former NSL teams, but we are working together. The importance of the ‘We Are Football’ message is clear.
The key word for me is a partnership. Football must be cross promoted across the network with the aim of growing both ratings and crowds. Both sides have to have the same objective and football with its very low player to watcher ratio provides more blue sky than other codes.
The past year has been portrayed by many as a strife ridden, which I fail to see. There were problems but we worked through the issues and the game is stronger for it.
What do Roarers want from the next media deal?