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The A-League needs to be shortened to just nine rounds. I mean what’s the point of the Wanderers playing the Phoenix three times in a season, let alone in seven weeks?
This comp is great and the level of football is right up there, but do we need 27 rounds of home and away while the national side’s do-or-die games are pushed to a weeknight?
We were generously given two weekends of competition to digest the fact that Sydney FC had wrapped up the Premier’s Plate for a second year in a row – these were rounds that we could have done without.
The National Basketball League, with eight francises, conveniently finished their regular season on February 18, meaning the finals clashed with other competitions, but regular season didn’t.
The A-League really might as well concede defeat. They simply won’t get a fair share of media attention during the winter, and BBL is king between mid-December and February.
The small window between early October and November is when the sport in its current form excels.
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The Sixers versus Stars WBBL game in December had 469,000 viewers at its peak – more than eight times what the Sydney Derby brought in on free-to-air.
One could argue that football was always going to lose that particular race, given it was on a secondary channel, but the stats don’t lie, putting the WBBL on the main was clearly the right call.
Cutting the comp down to a round-robin nine rounds is the way to go. This way, it can all be over in late November, so no derbies are restricted to an eighth of the ratings of women’s cricket.
A round robin – maybe even a tenth round for a derby rematch – would keep audiences at a high, with no meaningless mid-season games, and a finals series that only the top four qualify for.
The best thing is: every round is either the opening of the season, or a race to the finals.
Yes, broadcasters want content, but from this year Fox have the BBL, and just like Channel Ten have done so well, will want it as the product to watch, with no A-League deviation.
As cricket demonstrated with the Big Bash, picking a short timeslot and dominating it is how a sport can be successful.