The Roar
The Roar


Roar Rookie

Joined January 2012







Football is my saviour



As someone whose job it is to review business and turn around ailing divisions I admire your passion Stuart and you clearly know your stuff but think the article is over optimistic.

The A-league as a product is struggling without a clear value proposition.

Proof is in the the pudding with sliding attendances and ratings and interest.

There is no overarching plan. And even more dissapointing is the fact the football media have not held the new A-league owners to account regards a strategy to take the game forward. Where is it? The new owners have known for over a year they are taking over. They should be locked and loaded and their intention and value proposition made clear.

This policy to promote youth over marquees is not the result of some long term planning. Its a knee jerk reaction that is a result of a failure to create revenue streams and afford good quality marquees. So they are falling back on youth not because they want to but because they have to.

There is a reason Fox is trying to dump the league. It isn’t worth their while and although Kayo don’t release ratings the one time they did last season indicated about 6,000 people watching on Kayo. With all metrics heading south there is no miraculous viewing figures with Kayo.

You can’t blame weather. Conversely we have had very few days of rain. Its the product.

The one positive is although crowds are down and Western United will always struggle, we seem to have reached a resistance point with crowds around 9 – 10,000. These are the hard core fans cos let’s face it the league isn’t gaining new fans.

That is a good core to have. We cannot however take it for granted because if the league continues to tank this base will also start to erode.

Moving to Optus may mean more money but it will significantly limit the games reach.

If this report came across my desk Stuart I would commend you on your knowledge and see value in your skills but I would ask it to be rewritten because we cannot fix a problem by glossing over severe issues and pretend they don’t exist because the inherent structural issues will drag the game down and we are seeing this happen before our eyes.

Maligned and resilient, the A-League survives another calendar year

Great article Mike.

I have been saying for years clubs need their own boutique stadiums and was laughed at been told it’s impossible.

It’s not impossible WU have a plan in place for one and it was also a recommendation all those years ago for an Australian Premier League.

All most teams need is 15,000 seat stadiums. Your teams will go a long way to becoming self sustaining and you will also have much better atmopshere which is in tself worth millions.

Once you say “it’s impossible” then it is. You have limited yourself. We have billionaire Chinese Investors who want to park their money in Australia. You could for example incentivise them to invest in stadiums.

The high cost of A-League tickets is a problem that needs fixing

Great article well done.

The one thing I will say is that “it’s also up to the fans to turn up” is not a realistic argument.

In theory yes. In reality no. The FFA has built a culture of treating fans like customers and dollar signs. If the product is no good they won’t turn up.

Fans are disolutioned with the game and we have lost another season because of the inertia with the club owners and lack of promotion.

Where is their strategy? Why isn’t the media holding them to account.

The FFA were actually scared of active support cos they thought it would scare fans away. They didn’t realise it is an asset. That’s how out of touch they are.

The death of active support will be the death of the A-League

Very good article. The figures I would be question are the streaming ones. Fox is doesn’t usually release these but we know from the ones they have that thee are only about 6,000.

Ultimately these figures have little relevance on whether Fox maintain the A-league as they don’t generate much revenue.

The traditional Fox Sports cable views count and we are in dire straits. Fox recently walked away from the negotiating table with Union for similar reasons.

It seems Optus may be an option. They are cashed up and don’t mind using sport as a loss leader. Totally different model to Fox.

The issue here though is reach with Optus sport model having a smaller subscription base.

The A-League is on the up, but there's still room for improvement

Yes 2015. Again you miss the point. Read the context of the article.
I’m don’t think you are understanding what i am saying.
No one is saying those other things aren’t important but do you really believe the A-league can survive without Foxtel as things stand? Simple question?
Here is a fact – broadcast revenues accounted for 41% of operating revenues last year….sponsors 22%.
So if you think the A-league can plug a 40% hole if broadcasters pull the pin on short notice mate I wouldn’t want you to be my accountant.
And no I don’t want to be a sports writer. What i do for a living is turn business’ around and a part of that is dealing with perceptions like yours which are detached from reality.
How do you deal with them?address if possible then go around.
The proof of my analysis professionally is in my track record. So debating aside what happens to the A-league if they remain on this current trajectory will vindicate mine (and many other fans opinions).
So lets break this down. You dont believe the A-league is in crisis?
If not thats fine. The issue is you dont want to see the reality. And that attitude will contribute to the leagues decline.

Dear A-League fans, it's time to take off the rose-coloured glasses

Let’s be clear the A-league in its current form cannot survive without Foxtel revenue. It will either collapse or devolve into a low cost low quality league. Foxtel dictates A-league strategy. This is why we ended up with two new teams from Sydney and Melbourne. Because the FFA were desperate for cash.

Second your statement that Fox didn’t bid for the rights for the EPL are incorrect. They were one of three bidders in the tender process(along with Bein Sports) and lost out to Optus.

Dear A-League fans, it's time to take off the rose-coloured glasses

Should we ignore the problems? Your concern (and mine) Should be with the people running the game not those exposing the dire situation of the league.
Unless things change the league will either collapse or devolve in a low cost low quality model.

Dear A-League fans, it's time to take off the rose-coloured glasses

Thanks for the feedback. Marquees and youth policy is not mutually exclusive.

They are complimentary. We need marquees for a short term boost. Watch the league suffer this year and lose another year stuck in the doldrums while the clock is ticking.

Dear A-League fans, it's time to take off the rose-coloured glasses

” it is likely Foxtel will be wound up, or bankrupt, before the current A-league TV deal is completed.”
And what would that mean for the A-league in the very short term?
So we are agreeance the league is in dire straights.
Note I mentioned the Fox option as a left field play meaning unlikely and unexpected given the circumstances.

Dear A-League fans, it's time to take off the rose-coloured glasses

Incorrect. Foxtel have made streaming figures available as have other platforms on occasion and they are by no means anywhere close to making up the numbers that have been lost.

Second the ratings in the back end of the season collapsed by up to 50% on Foxtel (traditional platform).

This dynamic here is what people don’t understand. The streaming platform even if it can somehow make up for the declining ratings (which it is not for the A-league) will not be sufficient to financially cover the loss of TV audience on the traditional platform.

But let’s leave all that aside for one second assuming you don’t accept any of that.

Let me ask you this. If things are so rosy why is Foxtel so keen to offload the rights/ pay significantly less than the current deal? Shows you something is seriously wrong.

But don’t take my word for any of this. What is currently been played out is vindicsting myself and many other fans and unless there is a serious change of direction I am sure you would agree we are sin serious trouble (the latest blunder being the poor TV deal with the ABC to show 5 pm games – a significant number of Wellington Phoenix and CCM games)

The newly independent A-League failed its first test

Nemesis – Even if I did you won’t acknowledge it. Suffice to say let us agree at least the league is not gaining supporters its losing them – TV ratings have collapsed, they are not unknown your statement is incorrect. Why do you think Fox is trying to offload an extra game a week.
I have written that there is hope in a previous article but the early miss steps taken are significant and the clock is ticking.
Let me ask you this. Do you see our omission on Fox’s print media promotion as worrying?
And if I am a business analyst it doesn’t stand to reason that I must improve my sport writing skills.

The newly independent A-League failed its first test

Thank you Midfielder. Please note my reply to Chris above. I wont go into further detail suffice to say regards the points you make about the strengths of football, none of them have ever been utilised to grow the game and over the past 50 years the game has gone from crisis to crisis.

The problem with the game now is the same as the old NSL. Administration. We are asking the exact same questions now that we were asking 40 years ago. How do we translate the massive junior base to bums on seats.

The newly independent A-League failed its first test

Thanks Chris. I can tell you what I do for a living because I am perhaps a very amateur football wannabe journalist ????
I am hired by large corporations to turn around ailing divisions and grow market share. The A-league has all the red flags of a business that is tanking. People need to acknowledge the reality and take off the rose coloured glasses.
When Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury came out I commented these teams will not survive and will be lucky to pull 7,000 people. I thought every one would agree.
I was surprised at the amount of abuse I copped with about 80% of people telling me I was out of touch and no idea what I was talking about. It is then I realised that people are really not seeing the issues here or acknowledging the fundamentally negative tail spin the league has found itself in.
Unless the A-league owners quickly steer the ship off the rocks Western United will struggle to survive. Their only saviour may be their stadium which they will own. This may ultimately end up putting pressure on Melbourne City who have a raft of issues.
Or you may end up going to a low cost, low resource model post 2023 which of course is a continuation of the downward slide.

The newly independent A-League failed its first test

Good article. People need to wake up and see how serious things are here.

Foxtel’s ommision of the A-league in its print ads is a serious indication of intent. The owners have no desire to promote the A-league pre season and neither will fox.

At best Fox is saying “ship up or else” at worse the A-league is on the way out.

The owners promised to spend big and promote big. Well marquees are off the table. How you going to bring the razzle dazzle to the league to attract fans in the short term?

Ratings have crashed it is no longer worth Foxtel while to broad cast the A-league. The league is in serious trouble. If people can’t see that then there is no saving ourselves.

The newly independent A-League failed its first test

Yes very good points. We have shown in the past that a good targeted marquee is possible and lifts ratings and memberships as well as the general profile of the league. York, Honda, Del Piero, Cahill.
The concern is this. We now have A-league club owners who are running the game and who promised to put in money and resources.
But a part of their plan to promote the league is not to spend money on marquees. This seems counter intuitive. One would have thought spending money on a marquee is non negotiable if you want to promote the A-league for a short term kick before the 2023 deadline.

A-League owners have taken two significant missteps

Can we play the Benny Hill music every time we mention the FFA?

So there is an agreement in place till 2034, but they are setting up a working group to look at promotion and relegation?

But a member of the board has commented they are not aware of any sort of time line.

Some members then came forward to say Nikou should have discussed this with them before going public.

And then there are the clubs who aren’t going to support this anyway cos they want to remain in the top league.

And Mike is 100% correct…it’s all academic anyway because as things stand we cannot support a second division anyway. We should be in a position to consider it…but we aren’t cos of the bumbling of the governing body and constant infighting.

Who is paying for promotion and relegation in the A-League?

Great comments Jbinnie.

So when running a business you need to examine the detail as you mentioned but also look at overall trends. The trend no matter how you slice it is not good. It is down.

As in all business you can justify the result but it is still not acceptable. So Brisbane crowds are down. If someone does badly next season, their crowds will be down.

What’s the excuse next season when the new Melb team come on board? Averages may drop again but we will justify it with the addition of a new team?

Several teams now have had poor crowds week in week out, and we have had a significant drop from 3 season ago. Add to this the dire TV ratings and we have a major issue.

I cannot fault anything you have written regards the analysis of crowds, but in any environment, be it sports or business decreases like this simply cannot be explained away. They are concerning and unacceptable.

New football is beginning to resemble old soccer

*** Correction – 1-4-3-3 NOT 4-4-2.

Apologies Chris and readers.

It's time the FFA reconsidered its 'metrics'

Hi George – There have been a few stadiums touted for the honour. Even a rotational system proposed. Each area has its pros and cons. My personal opinion is that Parramatta Stadium is of sufficient size and geographically the most central location in Western Sydney. Offcourse it does come with its draw backs. Parking is a major issue.

West Sydney needs the people

As a further point, the cost for admission to bid for an A-league licence is approxiamtely $11,000. Offcourse there is a lot more to a bid then the admission fee, however if the fans could possibly get the money together for the admission fee – it would show some commitment, and possibly get the attention of the right people. Perhaps 110 people to commit $100 each.

West Sydney needs the people

As always some very good points and concerns raised. Firstly the idea of multiple teams in Western Sydney is offcourse more problematic then a single team. For this the FFA must change it’s current philosophies and direction and adopt such reccommendations as made in past reports. Such as a more cost affective league played in boutique smaller football stadiums. Interestingly as many would be aware there is pressure from the AFC for a league 2nd division.
I like the idea of fans contributing $50 to a trust to indicate support for the team. It will give the movement something concrete to go by. To even be a leveraging tool for those prospective investors. An organisation, a start at least.
And correct to including tradional footballing teams as Marconi and Sydney United in such a movement. In fact Marconi would be interested in such a move, I have spoken to an official from the club.
Any name I believe must have the word “West Sydney” or something to that affect. The name is worth millions, it creates an immediate identification with the area.

West Sydney needs the people