The Sydney FC game yesterday showed that their temporary home ground of Jubilee Stadium is a great stadium for the A-League.
The new Allianz Stadium, scheduled to open in 2022, will be the next Sydney FC home ground and will have a capacity of 45,000 people. However, Kogarah is where Sydney should have settled down.
While the stadium will be used primarily for football, with rugby league games also being held there, there’s no guarantee that the stadium will become another ground that is perfect for the A-League, joining Coopers Stadium in that group.
Currently, Sydney FC is averaging 12,539 people at their home games. Seeing as Kogarah can hold 20,500 people, this makes a respectable audience that looks good on TV.
Compare this number to the Sydney Football Stadium. This crowd would look desolate on television, with swathes of empty seats providing a bleak image for TV audiences. If crowds don’t pick up drastically, Sydney could become another team that plays in a stadium that either isn’t suited for football or are too big for a burgeoning competition like the A-League.
Jubilee also provides a great atmosphere, as fans are situated close to the pitch, with the Cove being particularly vocal throughout, which paints a good picture for the A-League. With the move to Allianz, there is a possibility the atmosphere could be lost to the void, as the Cove goes unheard. This would hurt the image of the Cove, one of Australia’s biggest and best active support groups. Another blow for the Australian active scene.
You also have to look at it through a monetary standpoint. The cost of upkeep and rent would be much cheaper at Kogarah than at Allianz, which holds twice as many people. While the Sydney Football Stadium will claim to have world-class facilities, this could make rent more expensive.
As a result, the board at Sydney would have to counteract that, most likely by raising ticket prices. This in turn could turn fans and members away as they are priced out due to the rising cost of tickets and memberships.
Then again, Sydney could also earn more match-day revenue if more people around the area decide to turn up for home matches. However, this is unlikely.
It’s not just Sydney in this problem. Western United are also waiting out at GHMBA Stadium until their new stadium is constructed, but the problem is that GHMBA is an AFL stadium, and therefore not equipped for football games.
Then we move on to Brisbane, whose one game at Dolphin Stadium – a 4-3 win over Melbourne City – proved a huge success with a great atmosphere helping the Brisbane players get over the line. Compare this to their home of Suncorp Stadium, which looks empty during home games and again isn’t a football stadium, despite the immaculate pitch.
In the end, we can’t stop Sydney moving to the new Sydney Football Stadium. The Kogarah experiment has proved a resounding success and the move to the new stadium is purely for monetary reasons.
Will it work? Will Sydney get the crowds up and start rivalling rugby league, cricket and the AFL? We will see.