The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement

The improvements needed to bring the A-Leagues back to prominence

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
Roar Rookie
22nd March, 2024
49
1420 Reads

While football is a popular one of the main codes in Australia, I don’t believe that it has lived up to its potential.

So, I feel that the A-League Men and Women competitions need to implement numerous changes to live up to the expectations of football fans in Australia and New Zealand.

In relation to promoting the overall product, here are my suggestions for three ways to improve the A-Leagues in the 2024-25 season.

Capitalise on prime time TV

While the A-Leagues must continue to focus on digital and streaming platforms, they cannot afford to continue the current minimalist coverage on Network 10.

A substantial imprint is required on all platforms to attract more viewers, including traditional broadcast TV.

In 2024-25, when the A-League Men expands to seven games a round, simultaneous games will become more of a necessity.

Advertisement

The Sunday game on 10 should be replaced by two simultaneous prime time Friday night games.

Each state and territory would receive whichever of the two games is more relevant to its audience, as the AFL and NRL do each weekend, to ensure local communities see more of their own teams.

Keeping the sole “match of the week” men’s game on 10 on Saturday nights, three women’s games should air on 10 at 5.30pm Saturday, with each state and territory again receiving the most appropriate game.

While free access to all A-League Women’s games via 10 Play is great, a permanent slot on broadcast TV as well provides more structure and greater viewer access.

Use free-to-air TV more strategically

As with games on the weekend, the A-Leagues should take advantage of being on a “secondary” channel like 10 Bold to dominate more prime time hours during the week.

A consistent 7.30pm one-hour time slot for football content would be an easy and smart way to maintain exposure.

Advertisement

Monday night should be a highlights show covering the most relevant football to an Australian audience from around the world, featuring the A-Leagues, the best European leagues, and A-League alumni competing overseas.

It would be an ideal snapshot for the casual fan and a handy summary for the fan who, no matter how obsessed with football, can find it hard to properly track the countless leagues of interest week in, week out.

Western Sydney Wanderers players celebrate with the crowd. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

Tuesday and Wednesday nights would suit filmed versions of official podcasts for the A-League Men and Women that are also available on podcast apps.

Thursday night could be a magazine-style program featuring content that already exists, such as ‘All Access’, goals of the week, and the best coach and player interviews.

Added to that could be low-budget segments such as analysis of a team’s tactics, club-initiated footage of its community work, goal celebration of the week, fan of the week, player quizzes, and fan competitions.

All of this content would deliver A-Leagues coverage across six nights of the week on Network 10 that can also be chopped up and distributed in smaller forms on Paramount+ and the A-Leagues website and social media. Most of the content already exists. It is just a matter of packaging it and selling it better.

Advertisement

Enhance Unite Round

In fulfilling the third and final year of its contract with the New South Wales Government, the A-Leagues can improve Unite Round.

First, holding Unite Round in November would enable a greater spread of games across the weekend than another January weekend, which falls during the A-Leagues self-imposed (and responsible) summer ban on games before 5pm.

A November round allows for up to nine time slots compared to January’s six, and avoids poorly-attended Sunday night games.

Second, the expansion to 14 men’s teams presumably means the first season of 26 games involving only home and away fixtures, rather than three games against some teams.

As a result, Unite Round provides an opportunity for an “all-away” 27th round that is the only weekend of third games between teams. This means Unite Round can predominantly feature popular derbies and rivalries.

Sports opinion delivered daily 

   

Advertisement

Forward Steps

These three ideas are not ground-breaking, but they are advancements on the existing product.

Improvements such as these will help to solidify and grow the game, and keep it moving in the right direction.

close