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Opinion

Should Melbourne Victory worry about on-field performance?

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Roar Rookie
5th August, 2021
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For the 2020-21 season, Victory had 15000 or more members.

Membership numbers

Melbourne Victory
2019-20: 22323
2018-19: 26478
2017-18: 26095
2016-17: 25906

Melbourne City
2019-20: 7994
2018-19: 10302
2017-18: 11215
2016-17: 12113

Average attendance

Melbourne Victory
20-21: 5823
19-20: 17366
18-19: 20298
17-18: 17489

Melbourne City
20-21: 6154
19-20: 7775
18-19: 8133
17-18: 9728

So, did Melbourne Victory’s on-pitch performance affect their commercial reality? A $7 million raise is being conducted by Melbourne Victory for the recent losses.

That obviously had a hard effect on the club’s finances, the A-League’s finances and the broadcasters’ finances.

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But a loss of around $3.5 million a season is not nothing. Plus, it’s not like Victory were building a training ground or stadium.

During the 19-20 season, Victory had 22,323 members. This dropped to about 15,000 or more members in the last season.

Jake Brimmer of Melbourne Victory

(Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)

However, the average attendance dropped from 17,366 to 5823 as Victory finished with the wooden spoon. That is almost a 67 per cent drop!

This could potentially mean that 10,000 Victory members voted with their wallets and stopped coming to games. This also directly affects the broadcaster’s commercial reality as less people use the broadcaster’s platform and cancel their subscription.

This is not due to COVID, as we can look at Melbourne City, who play at the exact same stadium in the exact same season under the exact same conditions. Victory didn’t move stadiums like WSW or Sydney FC.

The only difference is the few Marvel Stadium games for Victory, which had been going on for many seasons.

City had 7994 members in the 19-20 season. We do not have the 20-21 numbers.

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However, the 19-20 numbers are similar to previous seasons. Their average attendance went from 7775 in 19-20 to 6154 in 20-21, which is around a 20 per cent drop.

So, Melbourne City’s average attendance was more than Victory’s for the first time in the two clubs’ history.

But most importantly, this shows that this has nothing to do with rugby and AFL competition. Melbourne City had the exact same NRL and AFL competition to contend with.

Both clubs’ attendance had to deal with an overlap of the AFL and rugby season. So. the on-pitch performance showed a 50 per cent drop in attendance (70 per cent-20 per cent).

This all shows that the on-pitch performance for a football club affects the crowd numbers and broadcast numbers, which in turn affects the club’s and broadcaster’s revenue, which in turns affects the commercial reality of the A-League and football in Australia.

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What is football’s product? Football.

It’s not hot dogs at the stadium. Because if it’s food. then NPL wins all day long. There isn’t any other product.

It’s just football and the core supporters bring family, friends and neutrals to the game. Getting people away from EPL streams will require higher and higher quality football on the pitch. Ideally, a winter season is a great start.

Also, I do believe the game can still grow in a summer season and obviously those in charge have crunched the numbers and see it that way.

Either way, let’s all buy a 21-22 membership and support Paramount, the APL, Football Australia and get out there for the FFA Cup games. The A-League needs everyone’s support, so I’m looking forward to the upcoming season.

There are some interesting narratives unfolding, with one being: does the City winter press work in summer?

Will there be a difference in City’s results in October compared to March? How will this adaptation affect the Olyroos and Socceroos players from City?

How will the clubs look at the end of the season and is Graham Arnold’s desire for regular A-League 40 rounds even physically possible with an October kick-off?

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For example, Western United showed that the fast turn arounds at the end of the season can drop a team from near the top to the bottom of the table.

The Olyroos showed that they couldn’t keep up with the fast turn arounds every couple of days as by the Egypt game, they were pretty tired.

The Matildas also looked pretty tired in the semis and were over-run by Sweden and their winter press system.

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