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BBL and the A-League: Why can’t we be friends?

Liam Clarkson Roar Rookie

By Liam Clarkson, Liam Clarkson is a Roar Rookie

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99 Have your say

    Mike Tuckerman’s recent article regarding the A–League’s annual demolition by the Big Bash League was an excellent example of a growing trend in modern sport – the adversarial attitude.

    That we as fans are often subject to rants from others about why our code or sport in general is something to be ridiculed is a small, if frustrating burden.

    What I specifically object to from Tuckerman is his condescending view of the BBL’s comparatively impure nature.

    Yes, the BBL is a far more casual game than the A–League, which is essentially the same game as the world’s best in Europe (quality notwithstanding).

    However, saying the BBL is like a circus and he can’t distinguish teams, recognise players or recall results doesn’t mean that it’s a lifeless product; rather, it’s a sport that Mike doesn’t care for.

    That is perfectly fine. I don’t expect everyone to enjoy watching every sport because I sure as hell don’t.

    Frankly, I don’t care too much for golf or UFC, but I have no issue with people being passionate about those sports despite my lack of interest in them. Sport is as much a matter of personal taste as it is a matter of objective spectacle.

    Some, like me, see the A–League as a highly entertaining competition, whereas others see a dull and poor relation to what is an overrated European game.

    Similarly, some view the BBL as a boring, cheap and nasty version of what is already a snooze-fest of a game played by only a dozen nations. Others, like me, love the frequency of it and the ease with which a viewer can take in the contest.

    The two competitions are totally different from each other. I know Mike identified this, but he seemed at pains to wonder what the FFA could possibly do to arrest the slip in crowds and TV ratings which hits the A–League every summer.

    The answer, Mike, is nothing.

    A boring BBL game, such as Hobart’s easy chase against Adelaide on Monday night, will still feature plenty of sixes and wickets, the key ingredients for the BBL’s entertainment recipe.

    A boring A–League game on the other hand, such as Wellington’s 0-0 draw versus Adelaide on Sunday, will have little to keep the viewer stimulated enough to avoid changing channel.

    This is the nature of the football beast. You can’t mess with the core product because that is what its whole success is built on.

    The FFA could shorten the competition from 27 rounds to 18 and start a travelling five-a-side tournament to directly compete with the BBL on entertainment, but such action would inevitably end in total failure.

    The FFA need to know when they are beaten – December and January, specifically.

    We don’t need to deride the quality, or lack thereof, of the BBL. The people have spoken, it’s what they want for their easy summer viewing.

    I meanwhile, will be happy to switch between Channel Ten and Fox Sports on a regular basis to get my fix of each major code this summer.

    In the words of the girl from the Old El Paso ads, “¿Por qué no los dos?” – “Why don’t we have both?”

    I will also be bringing a friend of mine to the W–League/A–League double-header at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday for her first ever sporting event, such is my faith in football.

    Mike, I’m sure you will be in attendance and would be happy to discuss our differences at the game in person. I love football just as much as you do, let’s not have differing opinions get in the way of that. It’s just not cricket.

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    The Crowd Says (99)

    • January 5th 2017 @ 4:31am
      lesterlike said | January 5th 2017 @ 4:31am | ! Report

      At least the BBL doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. It knows it’s crowd, doesn’t take itself seriously and is one of the easiest things to just throw on without caring too much about who’s playing. It’s there for a bit of fun for those who can’t really be bothered with the whole test cricket thing as well as unashamedly being designed to be a cash cow.

      FFA on the other hand would rather spit in it’s own fans eyes whilst simultaneously questioning why so many of the committed Australian football community don’t follow it.

      They want the grassroots player to take it seriously but can’t even get the basics like respecting International Breaks right. Instead we are left with the A-League resembling this awful AFL lite tournament with annoying Australianisms that have no place in our global game like Finals, No Pro/Rel, No Transfer fees and Salary Caps.

      • Roar Guru

        January 5th 2017 @ 7:31am
        Wayne said | January 5th 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

        Australian sports have finals; and they make a lot of money. Salary caps are to protect the club’s from themselves. And who really would want to see Melbourne City win purely because they are bankrolled the best?

        • January 5th 2017 @ 9:08am
          lesterlike said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          Yeah if they were genuinely so good then the rest of the Football world would do these things. I’ll pay attention to the merits of Finals to decide champions or Salary Caps when the likes of the Bundesliga, Serie A or La Liga thinks they are anything other than stupid ideas.

          Sport isn’t supposed to be about who you want to win. It’s about an even contest with the point being finding who is the best team at the of season without their potential being held back for the sake of other competitors. If you want fixed results then go watch WWE.

          • January 5th 2017 @ 10:02am
            Ian Whitchurch said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

            You know, its amazing how many people dont know just how hard a salary cap Association Football worked with back in the day.


            • January 5th 2017 @ 10:22am
              lesterlike said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

              Yep, it was a ridiculous level back then. And even with it’s removal, the league results were extremely varied. Those who point to uneven results in Europe as what will happen if we lose the cap are completely clueless. European football was ruined when sky came in. Salary caps, foreign players or lack of one/or both of them were completely irrelevant.

      • January 5th 2017 @ 8:01am
        AR said | January 5th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

        Perhaps lester is too young to remember the NSL finals.

        Ask Ange Postecoglou if he thinks finals are silly.

        • January 5th 2017 @ 9:06am
          lesterlike said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

          You seem to think that Ange’s opinion is signifigantly more important than anyone elses for some reason. He is only one bloke with a high profile job, he doesn’t represent the entirety of the football community.

          • January 5th 2017 @ 10:09am
            northerner said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            He doesn’t represent the whole of the football community? Perhaps not. But then, neither do you.

            • January 5th 2017 @ 10:17am
              lesterlike said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

              Maybe not. But the football community is a very very large one on this planet and they are vehemently in favour of no caps, no finals and Pro/Rel.

              Thus I’m happy were i stand.

          • January 5th 2017 @ 10:11am
            AR said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

            Please don’t tell me what I think.

            I’m simply pointing out the shonky popular notion that ‘real’ football fans don’t like finals.

            Ange is probably the most prominent and important local figure in the game, and he is a huge supporter of finals. You can make of that whatever you will.

          • January 5th 2017 @ 11:06am
            New guy said | January 5th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

            And thank god that you don’t either Lester

      • January 5th 2017 @ 8:02am
        Waz said | January 5th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        I think you’ll find football supporters want the competition to take itself seriously and it’s probably why more than 2 million people turn up every year to watch the A League, FFA Cup and internationals.

        FFA spitting in their own Supporters eyes? Spot on with that comment!

      • January 5th 2017 @ 8:24am
        Waz said | January 5th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        and lesterlike, you say “annoying Australianisms that have no place in our global game like Finals, No Pro/Rel, No Transfer fees and Salary Caps” most of which are present in BBL, so you level the same criticism at cricket do you?

        • January 5th 2017 @ 9:11am
          lesterlike said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

          Well as I said, BBL knows it’s a bit of a joke and thus I can treat it as such and let things slide. It exists to be a bit of fun that you can watch but not really care too much about the outcome. It’s also a bit of a new mover really, there is no real existing T20 world accepted best practice for cricket domestic leagues that CA are moving against.

          A-League however wants to show itself as a serious league in an world market with established practices but doesn’t want to walk the talk. FFA can’t even get the basics right that are considered the foundations of nearly every other league but they continue to insist on constantly going against the wishes of fans and established world practice because “We’re different, Australia is unique, muh unique sport landscape blah blah blah”

          • January 5th 2017 @ 10:16am
            northerner said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

            But the FFA is correct. Australia IS different. A huge country, sparsely populated, with a number of sports, not just the various football codes, competing for audience share, and association football growing but still nowhere near being the most popular professional sport in the country. What works in small, densely populated countries like France or Germany or England, or in larger ones like Brazil with no competing codes, is not necessarily going to work in this country. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality. The FFA is doing its best to build a financially sustainable professional league, within the constraints of geography, competition from other codes, and a public taste for “finals.” And by and large, it seems to me its doing a reasonable job.

          • January 6th 2017 @ 9:44am
            Beny Iniesta said | January 6th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

            They already tried promotion and relegation in Australia’s Soccer league and it worked quite well by killing off so many clubs from the national level it had to stop the Promotion/Relegation for lack of clubs!

            You really should know this if you’re a real fan lesterlife.

    • January 5th 2017 @ 6:46am
      Matthew H said | January 5th 2017 @ 6:46am | ! Report

      I like both. The BBL is certainly a massive hit.
      Australian football struggles with the sheer volume of top quality foreign football on TV IMO, while with cricket we as a nation seem to focus on our team, our comp etc, perhaps believing that our version is the best in the world.
      The T20 format appears to be so appealing that it can include undesirable elements and still succeed.
      I would love to see multi-year deals for players and no limitation on number of overs bowled by individuals or fielding positions. The other thing I think cricket has done is get the umpiring right. Football, perhaps hampered by the very thing that makes it hugely successful – world-wide participation, has a bit of a mess with their refereeing IMO. The one main reason why I just don’t like Basketball is due to the way the game is controlled by the referee, football is almost the same now and the number of mistakes is too high (AFL can be similar – free-kick Hawthorn, finals free-kick Bulldogs).
      Cricket has an absolutely marvellous package with T20 and I think can go from strength to strength. Football, dependent in part on foreign forces is limited in what they can do, but increasing the standard of refereeing remains a must.

      • January 6th 2017 @ 9:48am
        Beny Iniesta said | January 6th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        What is this “free-kick” Hawthorn, “free-kick” Bulldogs thing you talk about?

        You must be glad that the number of free kicks paid these days in the AFL is a lot lot less than it used to be – or are you arguing for more free kicks so each given free kick has less impact on the game?

        Personally, I think the fewer free kicks the better – and most fans agree with that sentiment.

    • January 5th 2017 @ 7:57am
      Waz said | January 5th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      There is an adversarial nature in this country when comparing codes, and all codes are guilty of it (some more than others) and the media love a bit of “code war click bait” because it doesn’t hurt ratings right.

      And every code has its hard-core Supporters but the vast majority of fans support multiple local teams – I follow Football, Rugby and Cricket having played all three and coached two of them. So I find code-wars uncomfortable and it actually diminishes my respect for the attacker. Why attack a sport I love, I’m your fan as well, don’t make me choose!

      Football is perhaps unique amongst all codes (maybe basketball has something similar with NBA?) in that it’s compared by its own followers to European leagues and very often found wanting (the first post here does just that) and then it’s fans are subjected too unwarranted attacks from media who are really only after click-bait but it feeds a sense of paranoia in the football community.

      I read Mike’s article and saw it more critical of football than BBL to be honest. The contrast was the successful branding and marketing of the BBL competition contrasted to the “summer of football” promo from ffa. And footballs ratings/attendances slide at this time of year anyway (they did before the BBL was born and they do now) but what could it learn and improve upon?

      There’s more to gain through cooperation than collaboration imo, not enough people attend live sport as it is and there’s more than enough consumers, at least in the big city’s. As an d ample, I’ve never attended a league game in my life, no interest personally even living in Brisbane, but Brisbane Roar/League did a bit of cooperation earlier this season which sparked my kids interest and now we’ll be going to an early season game or two, and that’ll be at the expense of Union who historically have taken a more aggressive approach to the round ball game. Funny old world.

      And funny enough my kids never wanted to go to a Big Bash game, something to do with regular negative tweets towards soccer from some clown working at CA?

      • January 5th 2017 @ 2:07pm
        Cathar Treize said | January 5th 2017 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

        Waz, league & association football have historical links in England & especially France. The two sports can garner a lot by creating greater liks esp in the drive to improve/get more rectangualr stadiums. You’re right about union, they will just trample association football when ever they can get the opportunity & you can see them denegrate the sport’s culture in new markets like Brazil etc by saying it has this heavenly superior way of life. Just gotta like tackling female refs & stomping on heads as a prerquisite

    • January 5th 2017 @ 8:08am
      AR said | January 5th 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      I referenced this the other day, but David Squires, as he does, nailed the underlying issue:

      David Gallop: “Pfft. Who cares about a load of garishly uniformed, convoluted franchises with childish names and no history?”

      Damien deBohun: “Yeah but what about the Big Bash League, right?”

    • January 5th 2017 @ 8:09am
      Rossy said | January 5th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      This website is so so bad for that attitude as well, everyone is constantly taking shots at other codes/sports.

      So much for a bunch of sports fanatics huh?

      BBL is fantastic, and I am a Test Cricket tragic. A-League I wish all the success to for those who enjoy Football, and have been pleased to see it’s growth over the last 5 years or so.

      AFL is great, NRL is great, Rugby is great as well! Let’s all be friends.

      • January 5th 2017 @ 10:37am
        Chris said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

        Why dont you do yourself a favour and go and read the comments in the other sports tabs. Do you wonder why there are no football people on there bagging their sport?
        It seems that the AFL brigade jump on here to bag football and then people like you say “why cant we all be friends”?
        You will have more luck going on to the AFL tabs and telling them to stay off the football blogs just to criticise our sport and say how fantastic their sport is and BBL is amazing blah blah blah.

        • January 5th 2017 @ 11:50am
          New guy said | January 5th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          Maybe it’s because there’s a section of the football community that have massive chips on their shoulders that bring it upon themselves and give the rest of us football supporters a bad name
          Strangely these guys think they represent football
          Similarly there are some AFL fans without any knowledge outside Melbourne and have deep insecurity issues

        • Roar Guru

          January 5th 2017 @ 12:03pm
          Mister Football said | January 5th 2017 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

          This idea of Australian Football fans jumping on the soccer boards to bag soccer out is a bit exaggerated IMHO.

          Personally, I don’t see much evidence of it.

          What I do see are a certain number of soccer fans (it’s a small number), making absolutely outlandish claims and predictions, and a few sports fans objectively adding a touch of reality.

          Soccer fans appear to get just as upset from objective comments as they do from any other type of comment.

          • Roar Guru

            January 5th 2017 @ 4:17pm
            Kaks said | January 5th 2017 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

            “What I do see are a certain number of soccer fans (it’s a small number), making absolutely outlandish claims and predictions, and a few sports fans objectively adding a touch of reality.”

            In many respects this is true MF. But in many respects we see people who consistently post on the AFL tab provide outlandish comments on a regular basis for no other reason but to ‘stir the pot’. Its nauseating.

            I am all for a fair and logical debate. I have no time for people with a childish sense of humour that get kicks out of attacking others and what they like just because they detest it.

    • January 5th 2017 @ 8:21am
      Glen said | January 5th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      I dint get this ‘I can’t distinguish teams’ comment.

      Perth represent Perth
      Adelaide represent Adelaide
      Brisbane represent Brisbane
      Hob art represent Hobart
      Sydney Thunder represent Western Sydney and play in Western Sydney
      Sydney Sixes represent Eastern Sydney and play there.
      Melbourne Stars represent traditional Melbourne cricket and play at Melbourne’s traditional home ground
      Melbourne Renegades represent the new and non-traditional Melbourne cricket and play out of a non traditional venue.

      • January 5th 2017 @ 9:21am
        lesterlike said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        Genuinely though, what the hell is “new and non-traditional Melbourne cricket” supposed to mean? Sounds like a lazy excuse from the marketers who were too scared to actually divide the city into east and west.

        • January 5th 2017 @ 9:58am
          Edward Webeck said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

          What part of Melbourne do City represent?

          • January 5th 2017 @ 10:08am
            AR said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

            Abu Dhabi

          • January 5th 2017 @ 10:11am
            lesterlike said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

            None and that is still a problem. Half the reason they have no fans was because of the terrible decision in the Heart days to be nothing other than an alternative to the existing team.

            Melbourne Victory had already comfortably locked in, Heart should have just conceded the city and gone straight for the South East and claimed it for themselves.

            Now City have to deal with legacy and have nothing other than this weak new Bling FC mentality as the only thing that separates them from the mass support of Victory and it’s hardly working for them.

            It’ll probably work out fine for the Renegades as they are not starting behind the Stars but still, would have thought they’d be better off just going straight for the western suburb market by promoting the accessibility of Etihad stadium. Would probably get more people attached than this nonsense idea of being part some anti-traditionalist cricket market.

          • January 5th 2017 @ 10:14am
            Tigranes said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

            Those parts that follow Manchester City

        • Roar Guru

          January 5th 2017 @ 10:17am
          mds1970 said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

          In Sydney, even though both clubs have Sydney as their name, there’s a clear west-east divide. Thunder are the Western Sydney club while Sixers are the CBD/Eastern club. In other sports as well the two Sydney clubs are split west/east.
          In Melbourne there’s no clear geographic split and so the point of difference is harder to define.

          • Roar Guru

            January 5th 2017 @ 12:06pm
            Mister Football said | January 5th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report


            To add to that, I thought I heard somewhere that the one which plays out of Spotless are in some sort of partnership with giants, is that right?

            I wonder whether the east-west divide could work to a lesser extent with the Stars and Renegads.

            • Roar Guru

              January 5th 2017 @ 12:56pm
              mds1970 said | January 5th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

              At one stage the Thunder were renting office space from the Giants. I don’t think they’re still there; but the Giants and Thunder have worked together on a few things.
              The Giants have a good relationship with the Thunder. Plenty of cross-over with the fans. There was a fair bit of Giants merch being worn in the crowd last night. (Including me, who wore a Thunder shirt & Giants cap).

              • January 5th 2017 @ 1:47pm
                Glen said | January 5th 2017 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

                As a Thunder member I regularly get offered free Giants tickets by email during the winter months

              • Roar Guru

                January 5th 2017 @ 2:13pm
                mds1970 said | January 5th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                When the Thunder were playing at ANZ there were offers of Thunder tickets for Giants members. Those offers have dried up lately with bigger crowds at Spotless. Not that I’ve needed them, being also a Thunder member.
                But there’s some good offers out there for members. Giants members get a day at the Sydney International tennis next week, the Royal Easter Show, the V8s, discounts at the Kings.
                The clubs based at Olympic Park often have offers like that. It’s good value for money.

      • January 5th 2017 @ 11:37am
        marron said | January 5th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

        They have very little identity beyond the general location do they. The colours mean nothing, the players mean nothing. Sydney thunder don’t play in western Sydney. Renegades non traditional lol. I turn my nose up at them and don my eggs and bacon tie with a Windsor knot at the stars match. Give me a break.

        Please note, not comparing to aleague in any shape or form. But bbl teams are the ultimate in set and forget 21st century sports franchising. That’s what people mean when they say they can’t tell them apart. Who cares if they win? There’s no narrative beyond pyrotechnics and flat tracks and who’s accepted a pay cheque. 10 matches, a million adverts, wham bam thank you mam, what’s next?

        • Roar Guru

          January 5th 2017 @ 12:10pm
          Mister Football said | January 5th 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          But the BBL has only been around for five years.

          I can recall the A-League in its 6th and 7th seasons, attendances had plummeted to below 10,000 and there were real questions about its viability. Clubs came and went, and no one cared.

          These things take time.

          Perhaps after 12 years, the BBL teams will be as popular as some of the A-League teams?

          I have a personal philosophy on this. In the history of any sporting competition, the first 100 years is the toughest, thereafter you can plan for the long-term with a degree of confidence.

          • January 5th 2017 @ 12:38pm
            marron said | January 5th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

            The thunder are older than the Wanderers.

            How many convoys of fans drove down to Melbourne last year?

            • January 5th 2017 @ 5:22pm
              Working Class Rugger said | January 5th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

              What are their averages crowds?

              • January 5th 2017 @ 6:06pm
                marron said | January 5th 2017 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

                No idea.
                They’d be the same though if they were the Sydney wet sponges, playing in poo brown. Or the KFC bucket heads.
                It’s a lozenge, bestowed from above, reflected in the real actual attachment to the sides.

        • January 5th 2017 @ 1:03pm
          Pope Paul VII said | January 5th 2017 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

          Well people seem to be right into it. I went out of curiosity about 3 or 4 years ago when Thunder were perfecting the art of losing. They had plenty of fans who did care regardless of their poor results. They seem to have more fans now. There is in fact a clear and parochial divide between the two Sydney teams having been to both teams home games. The colours mean a lot. The players are very passionate about their teams. I don’t see how they are any different from other professional sportsmen (and women)?

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