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Opinion

Less whingeing, more fun: Football needs to sell entertainment in 2021

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Roar Guru
29th December, 2020
36

The average Aussie couldn’t care less about politics or football’s inferiority complex, they want to be entertained.

Therefore the best way to sell the A-League and W-League is to promote the entertainment value. Classy goals, acrobatic goalkeeping, fancy foot-skills, clever movement and, of course, tribalism.

A simple model to follow is to attract the average person who doesn’t necessarily have football DNA. Get them in the gate or watching on TV and then let them get caught up in the emotion and passion that will keep them coming back.

While football has a role to play in fighting social injustices, that political agenda cannot be the main narrative when talking about our sport.

Football people need to stop whingeing about how the AFL, NRL or cricket get better funding. It’s football’s own fault this happens – we can’t even get our own house in order yet we want everyone else to support us? Bit rich to expect that.

Let’s focus on bringing fun back to football rather than the never-ending cynicism of people with their own agendas.

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Tonight marks the first western Sydney derby between Western Sydney Wanderers and Macarthur FC. BankWest Stadium will be split between the red and black, and the black, gold and white; the super-club from the west and the new kids on the block.

The thrills and spills of a local derby are just what the game needs to whet the appetite of fans.

Daniel Georgievski flying down the wing with his ponytail lagging closely behind, then letting an opponent and referee know what he thinks is what the game needs. Youngsters Lachlan Rose and Tate Russell trying to outsmart and outdo each other with speed and skill will be absorbing to watch.

The tough challenges, as well as the inevitable calls for penalties or red cards will create tremendous theatre.

The A-League has never lacked entertainment. The 2019-20 season averaged nearly three goals a game, while 2018-19 had over three goals per game. This was higher than all of the major European leagues.

Shoddy defending and more attacking is what we need. The fans will respond. We want them to focus their attention on the pitch, limiting the trouble in the terraces.

We want the active fans to sing, dance and make plenty of noise. We want to see the colour and flavour of the different ethnicities that make our game so special.

Melbourne Victory fans

(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

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The 2020-21 season is crucial. If we can sell the game to broadcasters and sponsors we can go somewhere close to recording the $50 million the game has lost over the past 12 months.

Women’s football also has a great chance to sell itself in the coming three years.

Last season saw nearly 900,000 people tune in on TV to the W-League, which is a wonderful foundation to build on.

The 2023 World Cup is going to be the biggest even in Australia since the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The world is coming and we have a chance to capitalise on the hype.

Let’s show them a lethal Courtney Nevin cross into the box, a sublime pass from Kyra Cooney-Cross through the middle, a thunderous strike from Remy Siemsen or a brilliant palm around the post from Annalee Grove.

The average fan doesn’t want to hear about a lack of equal pay or the fact there are only a handful of woman coaches or how the uniforms aren’t comfortable. That is for the administrators to worry about.

When selling women’s football, fans want something that excites them. They want to read about the heroes of the game and to see their footballing and athletic ability.

Despite the social media hype, the average person with disposable income is looking for fun. They aren’t worried about the inequalities of the world, they look to sport to be entertained so they can escape their everyday worries.

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Once we get these fans attracted, we can naturally beat the inequalities that exist. We can get more money into the game and thus pay players more, develop women coaches, provide better facilities, appropriate equipment and better timeslots.

This is the season we can finally move our game forward. COVID-19 has created a tremendous appetite for live sport, with people looking for entertainment and fun.

Let’s take advantage and use football to give them what they want.

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