Solutions to the A-League’s problems

mwm Roar Pro

By mwm, mwm is a Roar Pro


104 Have your say

    People are listing seemingly never-ending lists of problems with the A-League of late, so here are some solutions.

    Fan engagement
    How do we turn football fans into A-League fans? Why do 90,000 turn up to see Liverpool but only 10,000 turn up to see Melbourne City? Why does the nation get excited about the World Cup but not the local comp?

    It has to do with connection – for fans to be invested in a team, they need some sort of emotional connection. This is hard for many teams to develop as most are no more than 12 years old. It’s hard to have a rusted on fan-base when teenagers are older than the league.

    One way to build this though is through grassroots football. Every team should be handing out free or discounted memberships to kids who play in the same catchment area.

    It would be wonderful for a child to play football on the Central Coast during the day, then see their local side in a professional setting. That pathway will connect them to the game and build a strong sense of tribalism.

    The lack of atmosphere at games is a simple matter of optics. Having teams in smaller stadiums increases the noise levels, which looks better on TV and draws more people to games, as it looks exciting.

    There is no reason why Sydney FC can’t play games at Kogarah or Leichhardt for example. Both are close to the city, have transport links, with the latter has good food options.

    Entering into a ground-sharing agreement with rugby league teams might result in a better rent deal. Both have the capacity to build a four-side seated stadium for a reasonable cost, with a maxed out crowd of 20,000, which is a must for our league.

    There are teams in the lower leagues of England that have built affordable stadiums. These are by no means world-class, but they provide intimate atmospheres.

    TV coverage
    The size of the deals offered to both the AFL and NRL convinced me of the need for a free-to-air broadcaster to take on the A-League.

    Now I’m not so convinced.

    The rapid uptake of digital streaming and the rise of a variety of online companies looking for increased content makes me feel football needs to jump on board.

    Why can’t the league be innovative and sign up with Facebook, Netflix, Amazon or YouTube? Every other day I seem to read about those companies looking to usurp traditional broadcasters and bid to stream sporting rights. Being that they use customer data more effectively, they could provide better bang for an advertiser’s buck.

    A home of football
    Apologies to the other great cities in this country, but this ground must be in Sydney.

    Almost half of the league itself resides in or near Sydney and most grand finals have been played there. NSW has by far the most registered players and most credible expansion bids seem to come from the Greater Sydney area (one vote Wollongong Wolves).

    We could go into a partner payment plan with the NSW Government, with the goal of owning the SFS for example.

    Establishing a base there and setting in stone the date of the finals – same day or date every year – will give a sense of ownership over the state of the ground and reduce clashes with rivals codes.

    Offering reduced ticket prices to say an Adelaide vs Perth grand final could smooth things over.

    Structure of the league
    I like the idea of a ten-team Division 1 and 2. Having three lots of nine rounds satisfies the ’27 rounds’ AFC rule and gives teams a chance to get one-up on a rival should they stand at one apiece through the season.

    The finals should be replaced with a all-league cup, which involves every team. Imagine if your side is out of the race for the premiership but manages at the end of the season to string together a few good weeks of football and end up with a trophy!

    The FFA should go for this, as every team being involved would generate interest among more fans and provide more games to sell to advertisers.

    The structure of the second division should be built along similar lines: ten teams with a one up-one down process. Relegation from the second division shouldn’t occur until it has firm roots. The salary cap should be half the size of Division 1 teams, providing incentives to move up.

    Televising every game is a must and will avoid the problems that a drop in support for team that gets relegated will have on a city (e.g. if Perth gets relegated, the city can still watch their side on TV in the second division).

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    The Crowd Says (104)

    • January 16th 2018 @ 2:54am
      Ad-06 said | January 16th 2018 @ 2:54am | ! Report

      There’s not enough money or interest in the game to support a second division. Neither is it part of the football culture in Australia. If the USA can’t support one, what makes you think we can support one in Oz. I understand that the football tragic want to be just like their favourite league in Europe. And I suppose there would be an initial novelty factor. But it is financially untenable and there is no logical reason to support one. It’s all just wishful thinking.

      • January 16th 2018 @ 8:36pm
        Kanga petratos said | January 16th 2018 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

        A D

        Welcome to the football sight .

        I believe that second division football in Australia will generate far more money then the second divisions of other codes in Australia.


    • January 16th 2018 @ 2:55am
      Ad-0 said | January 16th 2018 @ 2:55am | ! Report

      There’s not enough money or interest in the game to support a second division. Neither is it part of the football culture in Australia. If the USA can’t support one, what makes you think we can support one in Oz. I understand that the football tragic want to be just like their favourite league in Europe. And I suppose there would be an initial novelty factor. But it is financially untenable and there is no logical reason to support one. It’s all just wishful thinking.

      • January 16th 2018 @ 7:02am
        Waz said | January 16th 2018 @ 7:02am | ! Report

        “There’s not enough money or interest in the game to support a second division” …. yes there is, you just made that up didn’t you!

        • January 16th 2018 @ 10:38am
          Ad-0 said | January 16th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

          Not enough interest from the people that pay for these things at least. No one in Australia is interested in investing the required money in a team that may get relegated. If it’s not enough that most of the A-League teams barely make a profit as it is, relegation is a pretty good way to burn through more of them. But there’s enough facts out their on Google to find out yourself if you don’t believe me.

          • January 16th 2018 @ 12:38pm
            Waz said | January 16th 2018 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

            Again an incorrect statement. There is more than enough interest. The football world is familiar with the benefits of a football pyramid with movement up and down.

            • January 16th 2018 @ 1:05pm
              Ad-0 said | January 16th 2018 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

              The A League’s private owners have lost a combined $200mil since its inception. If you think they have “more than enough interest” in pro/rel then you’re dreaming.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 1:21pm
                Nemesis said | January 16th 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

                The ALeague owners know that there is huge money to be made from an expanded competition, that is independently operated, without a Salary Cap.

                They also are in business and they are used to the risk of being “relegated” by new entrants to their market.

                Perhaps, the way forward will be a semi-closed shop. A 28 team closed shop but, rather than 28 teams in one competition, we have 14 teams spread over 2 Divisions.

                Each team gets an equal distribution from centralised revenue PLUS a merit-based distribution based on end of season position in each division.

                And, after a certain time, the team at the bottom of the 2nd Division gets kicked out completely & a team outside the 2 Divisions is promoted into Div 2.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 2:39pm
                Ad-0 said | January 16th 2018 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

                The A League owners will never vote to remove the Cap. It could possibly suit the Melbourne and Sydney teams on the pitch as they use the size of their markets to reduce the rest of the league to cannon fodder. But I’m not even sure they would go for it because it eats into profit.
                I would go as far to say that any current owner who wants to run the risk of having their team relegated is negligently running his business. Even the big clubs in Europe threaten every year to break away into a closed shop Super League because they know they would make more money.
                I just don’t know where all this extra revenue is coming. Where are your next biggest markets? Good Coast, Townsville, Canberra? They’ve been tried and failed. With all the will in the world, the Los Angeles metropolitan area has about 2/3 the population of Australia, a massive Latino population where football is their No1 sport, and they have 1 professional team.
                It’s just not feasible in a country as big and sparsely populated as Oz, especially in a niche sport. Maybe in 20 years, but I’m not holding my breath.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 1:23pm
                Kanga Hoffman said | January 16th 2018 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

                A d

                The big bash makes a loss coveted by Cricket Australia

                Rugby league clubs make losses covered by leagues clubs

                6 Aussie rulz clubs are propped up by the funding from afl
                Stkilda and West bulldogs
                Giants lions suns north

              • January 16th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                Ad-0 said | January 16th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Those sports dwarf football in Australia. Their TV deals are literally 10 times bigger.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 2:54pm
                Kanga Georgeski said | January 16th 2018 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

                Like I said , they are losing money

              • January 16th 2018 @ 3:29pm
                chris said | January 16th 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

                Speaking of dwarfing competitions. The EPL (is that bigger than the BBL?) has most (if not all) teams running at substantial losses.
                I know you want to bring down the A-League as much as you can and then add your snide remarks, but its not just A-League running at a loss.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 4:32pm
                Ad-0 said | January 16th 2018 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

                Speaking of England, Blackburn FC turned over £22mil last financial year. They are in the 3rd tier of English football. If we had that kind of money in the 3rd tier in Oz I’d be 100% behind Pro-Rel.
                Having said that their wage bill is still £23mil after being relegated from the EPL 5 years ago, and they are £106mil in debt.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 4:42pm
                Ad-0 said | January 16th 2018 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

                For comparison that’s marginally under the revenue generated by the Brisbane Broncos.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 4:45pm
                Kanga Georgeski said | January 16th 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

                Blackburn turned over 22 mill

                But how much did they lose on wages

                They don’t buy anymore and there fan base is lower then west Sydney Aussie rules now

                Blackburn rovers have gone from premier league to third tier and a basket case of a club

                You probably picked the worst example out of 92 English clubs to prove your point .

              • January 16th 2018 @ 3:31pm
                chris said | January 16th 2018 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

              • Roar Guru

                January 16th 2018 @ 5:03pm
                Grobbelaar said | January 16th 2018 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

                Some good observations by Ad-0.

                It’s incredible that a once proud club like Blackburn is now only generating a mere £22mil, which is less than what the Broncos generate in Australia in a modest league.

                I know a lot of posters on here like to make comparisons to the alf, so I looked up the industry site of good friend to the Roar, Wookie, and he has the financial results of the nine alf clubs to have released their results for 2017 so far, the nine averaging exactly $60 mill in revenue last year:

                Collingwood -$77,736,469
                Hawthorn – $70,742,464
                Essendon – $65,165,407
                Richmond – $65,164,372
                Geelong – $57,804,052
                Brisbane – $52,060,420
                Melbourne – $51,988,711
                Western Bulldogs – $51,944,472
                St Kilda – $47,952,666

                even a small club like St Kilda made $48 mill in revenue last year (and a profit of $5+ mill)

              • January 16th 2018 @ 7:38pm
                Kangajets said | January 16th 2018 @ 7:38pm | ! Report


                False facts again

                England pound is worth more then little Aussie dollar

                And Collingwood lost money this year along with 6 other struggling clubs .

              • January 16th 2018 @ 5:12pm
                Nemesis said | January 16th 2018 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

                Ad-O clearly doesn’t understand the issue if he reports Blackburn generating huge revenue in the 3rd tier.

                Promotion & relegation will work in Australia.
                The strong will rise to the top.
                The weak will fall to the bottom & be replaced by the best at the next level.

                If those who fall down a rank can’t return immediately to the top, it is further evidence they are not of an acceptable standard to be playing Top Division.

                Look at the rubbish in other sports, where the same team just goes through the motions every year for the past 50 years. They might have a couple of competitive seasons in between, but mostly they’re rubbish every year and there is no incentive to improve.

                If my FC is rubbish, I’d rather they got relegated to a lower level & reboot. I’d rather watch my team win a 2nd Division Championship & get promoted again; than just live every season with watching them lose in a higher division for the rest of my life.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 5:28pm
                Ad-0 said | January 16th 2018 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

                My point with all the numbers is that you need that type of cash to insulate yourself after relegation. We just don’t have that money in football in Oz.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 5:55pm
                Nemesis said | January 16th 2018 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

                “My point with all the numbers is that you need that type of cash to insulate yourself after relegation. We just don’t have that money in football in Oz.”

                One or 2 teams from the 2nd Division will be promoted every year. If MVFC got relegated, they should be well-placed to jump straight back up again. They’d have better cash insulation than the other teams in the 2nd Division.

                You should try to open your mind to the possibilities. Ask yourself, why is this the way sport evolved everywhere in the world? Read, listen, absorb, educate yourself.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 11:45pm
                Ad-0 said | January 16th 2018 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

                Open my mind? I have, and Ive come to the conclusion it’s economically untenable. You guys come up with these pshionate debates but don’t do the Maths. I like having an A League, if they do Pro-Rel then there won’t be one anymore. Simple.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 8:02pm
                chris said | January 16th 2018 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

                Mr AFL quoting numbers like we care.

              • January 17th 2018 @ 1:51pm
                rolly said | January 17th 2018 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

                @ Grobelaar what you neglect to mention with your list of AFL clubs being profitable is that 30% of the profits of all those AFL clubs you listed is generated by poker machines . not gate takings or food or drinks or memberships but pokies.

      • January 16th 2018 @ 8:54am
        Evan Askew said | January 16th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        Actually America has a second division with decent atendences. They just don’t do promotion and relegation.

        • January 16th 2018 @ 10:40am
          Ad-0 said | January 16th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report


        • January 16th 2018 @ 11:28am
          Mark said | January 16th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

          America also has a population of over 300 million people with dozens of medium and large sized cities to tap into. On the other hand, we’re trying to squeeze more out of already serviced cities.

    • January 16th 2018 @ 7:01am
      Waz said | January 16th 2018 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      Nice attempt at offering solutions.

      I’d disagree with the “home of football” stadium plan; I follow the logic as well as the location but one of the advantages our code has over others is the rotating Grand Final – a vanilla final in Sydney does not come close to the engagement 52,000 Supporters at Suncorp brings, or 53,000 in Adelaide, or potentially 60,000 at the new Perth Stadium. We do not need to copy other codes, that’s been a Lowy family mistake for 13 years now.

    • January 16th 2018 @ 8:25am
      j,binnie said | January 16th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      Waz – A “central” Grand Final venue???.
      (1) The ground is already there
      (2) the hotels are there.
      (3) The beaches are there.
      (4)The weather is almost guaranteed
      (5)The airport is already there
      (6) A local government body apparently hell bent on selling sport..

      If you want a “Wembley style” Grand Final venue with a “holiday weekend” atmosphere, shops,pubs, entertainment and restaurants.etc all in place, where else but ——–The Gold Coast.!!!

      If the date was carefully picked ,no angst from other areas,the airlines and hotels would surely come to the party,,all that is needed is a bit of “out of the box” thinking, an asset apparently in short supply in our code. cheers jb.

      • January 16th 2018 @ 8:44am
        mwm said | January 16th 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        Exactly JB. Setting in stone a place and time will stop the farce the game seems to get in every other year when it is cross booked by other codes ( remember the Waratahs last year?)
        Having a confirmed date will place it into our national consciousness eg… May 25th??… oh yeah… A league grand final time!!

        • January 16th 2018 @ 9:00am
          Waz said | January 16th 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

          It’s not a farce though. One of the things that makes our code better than others is the home team gets to host the grand final – that is extremely powerful and very popular with home fans.

          • January 16th 2018 @ 8:38pm
            Kangajets said | January 16th 2018 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

            I’m with waz .

            Whoever earns the gf should host it .

          • January 16th 2018 @ 8:50pm
            j,binnie said | January 16th 2018 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

            Nemesis – question. If you asked a football fan ,married or single,where they would like to spend a “Grand Final Weekend”, do you really think Canberra would get the nod.
            I’ve attended a final in Canberra, (Brisbane Lions beat West Adelaide,) ,and it was like being at a wake such was the absence of “atmosphere” among the 7000 crowd,mostly “neutral”. Cheers jb.

      • January 16th 2018 @ 9:01am
        Waz said | January 16th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        jb. I’d support that concept for the ffa cup final. Not the GF which needs to remain hosted by the home team ?

      • January 16th 2018 @ 9:16am
        mattq said | January 16th 2018 @ 9:16am | ! Report

        is there a gold coast ground that could hold 50k?

        • January 16th 2018 @ 1:57pm
          Nick Symonds said | January 16th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

          They could pack up QSAC and move it south.

        • January 16th 2018 @ 2:16pm
          j,binnie said | January 16th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

          mattq -Grand finals in Perth and Brisbane have drawn 50,000 crowds,but when thinking “outside the box” is the attendanc number all important ,or is it the “house-full” atmosphere that is important.
          Think before you answer that for you don’t get to a “Wembley style final” on the cheap,and with TV companies fighting for rights, is a 50,000 income figure all important or is a 25,000 figure just as acceptable. Cheers jb

    • January 16th 2018 @ 9:13am
      Nemesis said | January 16th 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      Solutions offered are all fine, but have been raised many many times before by the football community over the past few years.

      Home of football in Sydney, or NSW, is just ridiculous.

      A Home of Football should be in the nation’s capital, or nowhere at all.

      End of story.

      • January 16th 2018 @ 9:18am
        mattq said | January 16th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        there is no logic in that Nem. I’d go with nowhere at all. Waz nails the reasons above.

      • January 16th 2018 @ 9:31am
        mwm said | January 16th 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        They wouldn’t build a stadium of a decent size in a city like Canberra. They are currently rebuilding Allianz at Moore Park to a 60,000 venue. Perfect for football to establish a long term tenancy.
        NSW is the home of football on pure numbers alone and we have more rectangular stadiums than Melbourne due to our football/ rugby league history.

        • January 16th 2018 @ 9:46am
          Kanga Hoffman said | January 16th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

          Allianz rebuild is proposed as 400000 seat

        • January 16th 2018 @ 10:38am
          Nemesis said | January 16th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

          I can easily see “Sir Frank Lowy National Football Centre” in Canberra.

          40k stadium that can convert to 20k & will be used for all WC Qualifiers, FFA Cup Finale, League Cup Finale, NPL Championship Finale, and have a dozen training pitches & state-of-the-art sports science facilities.

          A final gift from the Great Man to the game he loves.

          • January 16th 2018 @ 10:53am
            Nick Symonds said | January 16th 2018 @ 10:53am | ! Report

            If you want an Australian Wembley it has to be in Melbourne, the world’s greatest sporting city.

            Punt Road Rectangular.

            • January 16th 2018 @ 11:31am
              jeff dustby said | January 16th 2018 @ 11:31am | ! Report

              thank god no one listens to you Nick

              • January 16th 2018 @ 12:40pm
                Waz said | January 16th 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                Correct. If we’re going to build a national stadium it HAS to be in Queensland!!!!!!!!!!

              • January 16th 2018 @ 12:58pm
                punter said | January 16th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                Only while the Queen is alive.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 2:52pm
                Nick Symonds said | January 16th 2018 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

                If you want an Australian Wembley it has to be in Melbourne, the crowds are better.


                SFC – 18,737
                WSW – 17,746
                SFC+WSW = 36,483

                MV – 27,728
                MC – 11,047
                MV+MC = 38,775


                SFC – 8,014
                WSW – 12,446
                SFC+WSW = 20,460

                MV – 16,167
                MC – 8,312
                MV+MC = 24,479

              • January 16th 2018 @ 3:42pm
                chris said | January 16th 2018 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

                If it was SFC v WSW there wouldnt be a stadium big enough in all of Aus to accommodate.
                Nick your logic is just plain weird.

              • Roar Guru

                January 16th 2018 @ 8:28pm
                Grobbelaar said | January 16th 2018 @ 8:28pm | ! Report

                Brisbane already has the perfect football stadium to be the home of Australian football.

    • January 16th 2018 @ 9:51am
      Kanga Hoffman said | January 16th 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      Any readers could help answer this

      If Sydney FC host this years grand final against another nsw team eg wsw or Jets …..

      Would Sydney FC be made to take the grand final to Olympic stadium???

      Also if Newcastle were to play wsw in the grand final , would that game be played in Newcastle or moved to the bigger Olympic stadium???

      • January 16th 2018 @ 11:32am
        Mark said | January 16th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

        The Grand Final location is the prerogative of the FFA. If Sydney played WSW in a GF, or Newcastle played WSW, it is quite possible that they would be moved to ANZ Stadium. The latter could also be moved to Allianz if Newcastle was the ‘home’ team. I don’t think Sydney vs Newcastle would be moved, but it would be totally up to the FFA.

        • January 16th 2018 @ 12:15pm
          Kurt said | January 16th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

          It happened to CCM