Maccarone bemoans poor A-League crowds

By Vince Rugari, Vince Rugari is a Roar Guru

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99 Have your say

    Massimo Maccarone is enjoying life in the A-League but says it’s difficult to play in stadiums that are ‘always empty’.

    The Brisbane Roar marquee striker has scored three goals in his first four games, including a brace in last weekend’s 3-3 comeback draw against Wellington Phoenix.

    But the 38-year-old Italian import said he’d perform even better if he was playing in front of bigger crowds.

    Maccarone volunteered the opinion himself after he was asked by reporters on Wednesday for his view on the playing standard of the competition.

    “It’s different from Italy, where I played. But I think it’s good,” he said.

    “Every time you go and we play home or away, we play in a good stadium.

    “I think it’s not good that it’s always empty – there’s no people coming to see the game.

    “When you go to these stadiums and it’s full, it’s very good… I think you play better.”

    Having played most of his career in Italy’s Serie A, Maccarone would be accustomed to big, boisterous crowds.

    An average of 14,207 supporters have attended the first four rounds of the new A-League season.

    At the same point last season, the average was 15,864.

    The crowd for Maccarone’s last match at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium was 7,018 — the second-lowest figure so far this season.

    Those numbers are exacerbated by the fact that most teams play in large stadiums with big capacities, rather than smaller, more intimate boutique venues.

    It comes after criticism directed at Football Federation Australia for a lack of promotion for the new season and their low-key launch event at a suburban soccer club in Melbourne.

    The A-League has also been overshadowed by the ongoing FFA congress saga, with clubs openly at war with the governing body over who should wield the power to select board members.

    A-League chief Greg O’Rourke said last month FFA had “optimised” its marketing spend to ensure sustained promotion throughout the whole campaign, instead of a “big, flashy thing” at the start of the season.

    Maccarone will be hoping for a strong home crowd for the Roar’s clash against the Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (99)

    • November 1st 2017 @ 2:05pm
      Neil said | November 1st 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

      I hear what he is saying .

    • Roar Rookie

      November 1st 2017 @ 2:40pm
      Stevo said | November 1st 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

      “A-League chief Greg O’Rourke said last month FFA had “optimised” its marketing spend to ensure sustained promotion throughout the whole campaign, instead of a “big, flashy thing” at the start of the season.”

      Surely that’s code for “we forgot to add marketing to our yearly budget”

      • November 1st 2017 @ 3:05pm
        Nemesis said | November 1st 2017 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

        No. Greg O’Rourke clearly explained the reasoning when interviewed on FNR last week.

    • November 1st 2017 @ 2:42pm
      Fadida said | November 1st 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

      Just like Serie A Massimo, large stadiums partly filled.

      • November 1st 2017 @ 5:36pm
        Realfootball said | November 1st 2017 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

        Oh dear, poor Macca. Very soon he’ll be playing in front of exactly no one.

        • November 1st 2017 @ 10:42pm
          Marco said | November 1st 2017 @ 10:42pm | ! Report

          I don’t think he really cares…..the money is good enough for a 38 year old!!

    • November 1st 2017 @ 3:11pm
      Redondo said | November 1st 2017 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

      Strange comment from someone who spent his last 5 seasons at Empoli where the average attendance doesn’t crack 10,000 in one of the world’s most famous leagues.

      • November 1st 2017 @ 3:15pm
        Fadida said | November 1st 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report


        • November 1st 2017 @ 9:30pm
          Waz said | November 1st 2017 @ 9:30pm | ! Report


          The town of Empoli has a total population of 48,000 people – what average crowd should they have?

          • November 1st 2017 @ 9:54pm
            saul said | November 1st 2017 @ 9:54pm | ! Report

            The figure should be much higher, there’s a few people at the towns nursing home that miss out because their relatives won’t take them, it could create a potential increase of hooliganism with all those people missing their medication.

          • November 2nd 2017 @ 1:08am
            Redondo said | November 2nd 2017 @ 1:08am | ! Report

            That’s taking a bit of a liberty with reality. Empoli is part of the Florence metropolitan area, which has a population over 1 million. Empoli is about the same distance from central Florence as Paramatta is from central Sydney.

            • November 2nd 2017 @ 6:59am
              Waz said | November 2nd 2017 @ 6:59am | ! Report

              lol I don’t think it’s me taking a liberty with reality?

              Someone said “A League crowds are too small, stadiums are too big” … taking a liberty with reality is surely disagreeing with that, it’s a statement of the bleeding obvious surely and not one that should come as shock to anyone reading these pages where small crowds and big stadiums have been discussed frequently?

              Empoli is close to Florence, a city of one million people with a famous home team of their own called ACF Fiorentina … Ipswich is just as close to Brisbane but we don’t expect an Ipswich team to pull the same crowds as a Brisbane team do we? Especially if they spend most of their history outside the top division?

              And the bloke didn’t 6 years in the EPL, do you think he might know something about full stadiums?

              We’re becoming too sensitive to perceived criticism – he’s says what many posters and columnists have previously said on these pages, and yet the attack dogs are out.

              This entire thread needed one reply and one reply only; “yup, he’s right, but he’s not sayin’ anything we didn’t already know”.

              A liberty with reality, ffs, some people ?

            • November 2nd 2017 @ 7:03am
              Waz said | November 2nd 2017 @ 7:03am | ! Report

              … and you say “Empoli is about the same distance from central Florence as Paramatta is from central Sydney.”

              But you don’t go on to mention the relative populations:

              Western Sydney = 2.2 million
              Empoli = 48,000

              What we’re you saying about distorting reality again??

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 10:08am
                Nemesis said | November 2nd 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

                Maccarone started for Empoli in a Derby match vs Fiorentina on 10 April 2016.

                It is a 30′ bus trip from Florence to Empoli.

                The crowd that day for his team’s HOME derby was 9,651 in a stadium with capacity of 16k.

                Even if Empoli can’t fill its own stadium, why wouldn’t the Fiorentina fans travel 30′ by bus to fill the stadium for a Derby, given Fiorentina averaged 26k fans for their home matches?

              • November 8th 2017 @ 3:52pm
                Beny Iniesta said | November 8th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                Fiorentina and Empoli are separate cities. How many Australians travel from Melbourne to Central Coast? Or Sydney to Adelaide to attend matches?

                Not too many you know.

                Folks don’t like to travel to other cities to watch their teams play. It’s the same the world over – look at the EPL or the American MLS for instance for two English speaking countries we could compare with!!

            • November 2nd 2017 @ 9:13am
              Redondo said | November 2nd 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

              Waz – I didn’t mean to upset you but I clearly did! I made my point clumsily sorry.

              All I meant was Empoli is just a short drive from where 1 million people live in one the greatest football countries in the world. Sydney FC has lots of fans from out west because it’s a short trip and lots live there.

              If Ipswich had a team and every couple of weeks they played home games against AC Milan, Inter, Roma, Napoli, or Juventus then hoards of football fans from Brisbane and surrounds would be queuing for tickets at midnight. There’d probably be charter flights from all points in Australia arriving each game day.

              I disagree about A-League crowds. I think the crowds are very good given the age of the competition and the market in Australia. As Nemesis says, the stadiums are too big for the crowds.

              I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to grow the crowds – it would be crazy not to try. But we seem to have inflated expectations driven by 2 things:

              1. Large grassroots that everyone assumes is an untapped source of fans. Debatable – Belgium has a similar level of participation, an older league, much shorter travel times and yet smaller average crowds than the A-League.

              2. Presence of AFL, which has anomalously high attendances given Australia’s population and so creates inflated expectations about the potential market for Football.

              Saying the A-League’s crowds are small is misleading. The crowds are actually quite good compared to other countries and even other sports in this country (except for AFL).

              The problem is the crowds have stopped growing at the rate we expected. And the current level of interest is not quite enough to make A-League clubs sustainable investments.

              I’ll say again, marquee players are both footballers and marketing tools. Part of Maccarone’s role for the sizeable fee he’s being paid is to promote the A-League, not to feed negative headlines to the already ambivalent Australian press.

              The one reply to Maccarone should have been ‘mate – pull your head in, we pay you good money to play well and say nice things about the game here’.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 9:55am
                Waz said | November 2nd 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report


                I’m not upset; and there is a good debate in this topic but I just don’t think the debate is well served by contrasting A League crowds with one Italian club especially when people don’t know much about that country/club/culture.

                And I’m not knocking the A league either, we’ve stagnated on many levels but apart from that we can be proud of what we have achieved.

      • Roar Guru

        November 1st 2017 @ 3:36pm
        Grobbelaar said | November 1st 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

        Well spotted.

        • November 1st 2017 @ 4:51pm
          Fadida said | November 1st 2017 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

          A quick google shows the Milan sides half fill an 80k stadium. Empoli average 9k in a 17k stadium. Napoli and Roma are only half filling stadiums too. Juve are an exception.For one of the world’s great leagues this is pretty poor.

          We are quarter to half filling stadiums generally, which I suggests is not bad for a sport that is not the dominant one, and probably indicates our stadiums are too big rather than the crowds too small.

          • November 1st 2017 @ 4:52pm
            Fadida said | November 1st 2017 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

            Averages from last season

          • November 1st 2017 @ 7:40pm
            Lionheart said | November 1st 2017 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

            Napoli two home games this season – 49,762 (22 Oct) and 53, 609 (30 Oct) in Stadio San Palo capacity 60, 240. Napoli away games Roma 37, 914 (capacity 70K) and Genoa 23, 367 (capacity 36K). Plus away to Man City 48, 520.

          • November 1st 2017 @ 9:56pm
            saul said | November 1st 2017 @ 9:56pm | ! Report

            They never quite recovered from the match fixing scandal

          • November 1st 2017 @ 10:53pm
            Lionheart said | November 1st 2017 @ 10:53pm | ! Report

            Milan’s stadium capacity 80K, home crowds this season 20 812 (20 Oct), 47 219 (22 Oct) and 78 328 (29 Oct)
            Roma’s crowds this season (home capacity is 70K) – 41 105 (away), 19 646 (away), 31 605 (home), 35 202 (home), 55 036 (home)
            Yeah I see now, Italy has a serious crowd problem.

            • November 2nd 2017 @ 8:41am
              Fadida said | November 2nd 2017 @ 8:41am | ! Report

              Or you could go on the average over a whole season, as opposed to two games. Which is the better sample size? This season Jets average nearly 14k, last season they average 9k. Which holds more weight?

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 10:52am
                Lionheart said | November 2nd 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

                To check if “Napoli and Roma are only half filling stadiums too” and if “Milan sides half fill an 80k stadium” I’d check recent attendance figures.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 11:05am
                Fadida said | November 2nd 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

                Interesting. You’d hold more value in a 2 week sample over a 17 game one?

                I suspect you’re choosing the smaller sample to prove a point. Surely you realise a bigger sample gives a more accurate picture?

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 11:10am
                Fadida said | November 2nd 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

                If you go back the previous year AC Milan averaged 36k, Inter 43k, that works out to be half filling a stadium again.

                Over 34 games the ground is half full.

                Of course the 2 home games this season provides much better data. Or is that not logical?

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 11:13am
                Fadida said | November 2nd 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                I also note the 78k crowd was a Milan Derby!!!

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 11:32am
                Lionheart said | November 2nd 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

                this is silly
                these are the failing Napoli’s home ground figures for the latter part of last season – 53,085 – 48,421 – 38,764 – 47,281 – 49,519 – 45,169 – 56,695 – 45,800 – 42,437 – 41,166
                yep, looks bad hey

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 12:04pm
                Fadida said | November 2nd 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                The topic is the two Milan sides

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 12:07pm
                Fadida said | November 2nd 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

                And again you can’t choose parts of seasons and ignore seasons worth of data.

                Well you can, but it’s not a sound argument. It’s like using the first few Sydney games if they have played the derby and Victory and then claiming attendance are up by 100%.

                Average crowds over a season are just that

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 2:10pm
                Lionheart said | November 2nd 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

                “Napoli and Roma are only half filling stadiums too”
                Oh I get it, “The topic is the two Milan sides”.
                The last ten games to the last season is a fair indicator no matter how you look at it.
                But we are wasting time. Out.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 4:48pm
                Kangajets said | November 2nd 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                No doubt serie a crowds are declining from 10 years ago

                A one horse race every year doesn’t help

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 5:06pm
                Redondo said | November 2nd 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report


                Ironically Serie A crowds are up on 10 years ago (2006-7) mostly because that was the season the one horse was banished to Serie B.

                But once Juventus returned to Serie A the crowds went up again and have since trended down.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 5:10pm
                Nemesis said | November 2nd 2017 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

                SerieA Crowds are not trending down – they’re not trending up either. Just flat, which we’d expect for a mature competition

                Average SereA crowds (000)
                2011/12 = 22.5
                2012/13 = 23.2
                2013/14 = 23.4
                2014/15 = 22.2
                2015/16 = 22.7
                2016/17 = 22.2

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 5:20pm
                Redondo said | November 2nd 2017 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

                Not sure about that Nemesis – it depends which base year you pick. Go back 20 or 30 years and Serie A is definitely trending down. From 2009 on it is clearly trending downwards as well. If we’re assessing the trend for a mature league then surely you’d pick an older base year.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 5:42pm
                Redondo said | November 2nd 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                Even the set you picked is trending down

          • November 3rd 2017 @ 7:56pm
            AR said | November 3rd 2017 @ 7:56pm | ! Report

            It’d be pretty cool if Empoli got the Govt to build them a brand new $300M stadium.

    • November 1st 2017 @ 3:56pm
      Lionheart said | November 1st 2017 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

      It’s hard not to agree – bigger crowds would be better, regardless of Italy’s crowds.

      • November 1st 2017 @ 4:25pm
        jamesb said | November 1st 2017 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

        I do agree with that. But when you make comment about other domestic league crowds, you want to do so from a position of strength. Serie A only averaged just over 22,000, which IMO, for a top league, thats below average.

        • November 1st 2017 @ 4:48pm
          Lionheart said | November 1st 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

          I don’t follow Italian football but a quick look at the first team that came up showed me Napoli had around 50K at its two home games this season, and not many less at their away games. I know that’s not Empoli, but I just doubt that Maccaroni would have meant the comment as a criticism.

      • November 1st 2017 @ 4:40pm
        Redondo said | November 1st 2017 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

        That’s true but the comments Maccarone made are hyperbole. The stadiums are not empty and it’s not true nobody is coming to games. All Maccarone’s comments will do is fuel untrue, negative messages about the A-League, and football more generally.

        In fact, as I said before, the average attendances at Empoli where he played most recently are about the same as the worst weekly attendance in each A-League round. So much for the superiority of the sport in Europe.

        The A-League is doing quite well relative to other football leagues around the world. It is suffering a minor downturn at the moment, which is quite understandable given the relentless negative publicity.

        It would be good if the journalist had actually bothered to check Maccarone’s comments and qualified the story with some facts. Never under-estimate the TripAdvisor effect – just one or two untrue negative comments can undo a reputation.

        • November 1st 2017 @ 5:07pm
          Lionheart said | November 1st 2017 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

          I don’t mean this in any way as criticism of your comment, but I believe that we are under achieving in so far as crowd numbers and attendance. If we are doing well on a world basis, that’s good, and it’s true that we compare favourably with NRL, cricket and rugby, but I believe we can, and should, do better.
          I don’t have an answer as to how, doubtless there are many avenues to try. I notice in Brisbane that FM radio talk about other sports regularly, as part of the radio conversation, all day for some in season, and their players become personalities on air. But not football. I have only noticed it talked about once in Brisbane in the past few years, in the days before a mid-week game, with on air competition for tickets etc, and it did attract a decent crowd. I assume those other sports pay for their coverage.
          I actually enjoy smaller crowds, but it would be nice imo for the league to have a higher average attendance.

          • November 1st 2017 @ 5:33pm
            Redondo said | November 1st 2017 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

            I agree – we could do better, but I’m not sure how. And I am also bemused by the media coverage of the sport. Even ABC and SMH treat football as an afterthought. You can get multiple trivial rugby league or AFL stories before a cursory mention of a same-day Socceroos game.

            The only stories certain to get attention are the negative ones. For example, you can guarantee you’ll see plenty of stories about FFA problems or Postecoglou’s future, but not much at all about the Honduras games or A-League fixtures.

      • Roar Guru

        November 1st 2017 @ 7:22pm
        Cousin Claudio said | November 1st 2017 @ 7:22pm | ! Report

        Maybe the Roar should joing the AFL and start a Brisbane Aussie Rules derby.
        Massimo looks like a good little forward pocket.

        If you’re an Aussie football and A-League supporter you’d have to pray for bigger crowds. We are going through a bit af a bad patch on and off the field at the moment . . . and don’t start me on Postecoglou and the Socceroos . . .

    • November 1st 2017 @ 5:39pm
      Realfootball said | November 1st 2017 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

      The single biggest problem the A League has is oversized, multi use stadiums. Until we solve this problem, the competition will never lift of as the MLS has since they dealt with the issue.

      Sadly, I don’t see the A League ever dealing with it. The money just isn’t there for Brisbane. Sydney FC are, in this as in so many other ways, the biggest disappointment. Their owner looks to have the means to build a stadium but there has been no mention of the idea at any point. Each week SFS presents endless rows on empty blue seats the the TV cameras. The stadium is at least twice too large for the club, and it is, like Suncorp, endlessly damaging to the club brand and to the A League.

      Aside from the horrible empty barn in Wellington, Suncorp is the worst of the lot. I expect no more than 8-9,000 for the CCM game. This is a dreadful Roar team badly coached. I personally have no intention of attending a Roar game while Aloisi is in charge. It’s the only statement of protest I can make.

      He and his ship of fools are destroying our club.

      • November 1st 2017 @ 5:58pm
        Lionheart said | November 1st 2017 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

        ok, I sort of agree but my support will stay because I’m firmly of the belief that now is the time when the support is most needed. Anyway, that’s an aside. In the stadium case at Brisbane, it’s painful that Townsville is getting a new stadium but have only one team as user, and it’s the same on the Gold coast who are even more spoilt with the Commonwealth Games spend, but they have only one rectangular stadium user (and what a beautiful stadium it is).
        I don’t know what Football Qld is doing about it, but they and FFA need to be lobbying the pollies to address the issue. There’s money if you look – Redcliffe got (or are getting) $ for their stadium. I don’t think we should give up.
        What’s impressive about both Sydney and Melbourne is their sports precincts. SE Qld, with a population of over 3.5 million, missed that boat now but it needs to think collectively rather than separately. And build a 25K stadium in Victoria Park or Roma Street parklands or somewhere very nearby.

        • November 2nd 2017 @ 9:04am
          j,binnie said | November 2nd 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

          Lionheart – There is little doubt the arrangement between Queensland Rail, & City Council buses is something that is working extremely well at Suncorp.
          This could be a huge factor in the continuing use of the 60,000 capacity Suncorp,even though an attendance like that may only be achieved once a year.
          What’s to be done. ? Presently Suncorp has 3 tiers of seating. Without knowing the actual seating figures for each tier does it not make sense to curtain off a tier when the expected crowd is under that 60,000
          One would imagine that the cost of curtaining could be offset by the “locking off “of each tier when not in use,cutting down the cost of “security patrolling” these areas.
          Vancouver has a stadium built for 60,000 but is used regularly to host 20,000 and 40,000 crowds being “condensed” into the lower tiers by using curtains. You tube has excellent clips showing how this works. jb.

          • November 2nd 2017 @ 10:22am
            Lionheart said | November 2nd 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

            they do that JB, regularly. Last game I was quite surprised to see that they had closed off the largest toilet section in the western (main) stand, obviously to save on cleaning costs. They don’t normally sell the upstairs seats, other than to Corporate and stadium members. Last years for home ACL matches they closed the whole eastern stand.

            • November 2nd 2017 @ 4:06pm
              j,binnie said | November 2nd 2017 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

              Lionheart – I think you missed the point. If the top two tiers of Suncorp could be curtained off and locked up,the resultant crowd ,say 15000 ,would be “forced” to sit almost “pitchside” adding greatly to the atmosphere on match day.
              Look at the website on Vancouver Whitecaps home ground and you will see sample s of how the curtains are used to give the impression of a full stadium. Cheers jb..

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 6:49pm
                Betty B said | November 2nd 2017 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

                aah, thanks JB. You’ve pointed this out before, and it makes sense. My apologies.

              • November 2nd 2017 @ 6:50pm
                Lionheart said | November 2nd 2017 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

                and yes, my good woman’s been on my computer
                never mind

      • November 1st 2017 @ 5:58pm
        Redondo said | November 1st 2017 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

        What about making each seat 50% bigger?

      • November 1st 2017 @ 6:02pm
        Redondo said | November 1st 2017 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

        Or make the broadcast cameras face the main stand

      • November 1st 2017 @ 6:03pm
        Redondo said | November 1st 2017 @ 6:03pm | ! Report

        Or only sell seats facing the cameras

        • November 1st 2017 @ 6:10pm
          Lionheart said | November 1st 2017 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

          yes, they’re all image improvers, but bottom line I think we simply have to promote the game.
          I’m sure someone does, but I can’t see it.

      • November 1st 2017 @ 9:59pm
        saul said | November 1st 2017 @ 9:59pm | ! Report

        You’re right Sydney FC are playing in the wrong stadium they should’ve started out at Leichardt oval

        • November 2nd 2017 @ 9:01am
          chris said | November 2nd 2017 @ 9:01am | ! Report

          Saul how about Lambert Park?

          • November 2nd 2017 @ 12:36pm
            Nick Symonds said | November 2nd 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

            Not enough space for expansion.

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