Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stand by me, train in vain


I prefer to look at the match-by-match gate take rather than the averages. The one off spikes tend to hide the trends.

Firstly, last season the gate takes were higher before the socceroo qualification than after it. It is footballs version of buy the rumour and sell the fact.

Melbourne have a number of advantages. It is a great franchise to own. Lots of Australians from backgrounds with a football culture. The owner Geoff Lord understands risk and return and despite last year's troubles held on with the FFA support. At the moment there does not appear to be any other Victorian competition applying for a franchise.

In my view the analysis is really about sustainability. So for example, the accepted wisdom is that the Roar must attract 20,000 to make money at Lang Park. They have only done this 3 times in two seasons and that was probably supported by FFA and the Qld branch. So they are sustained by the strength of the Qld Lions club and FFA world cup payments.

No wonder the FFA held back the world cup players pay as long as they could.

Syndey is a good size franchise. It is marginally impacted by Central Coast but really should be getting a bigger crowd and this is probably the point that the journalists are trying to get at. That is to answer the question about why the Sydney franchise isn't a stronger brand. It probably shows the strength of Dwight's and really Man U's brand.

The smaller cities are lucky. The FFA rules requiring certain quality stadiums don't impact them so much in terms of cost. That is they can find a 15,000 seat stadium, while the Roar only really has the choice of 50,000 seat lang park.

The clubs complained last year that the gate take dropped when FFA stopped running the TV ads. And there something in this. There is a huge latent football watching public but they are not all going to go to a website and search for games and times. This is why all clubs are looking for the angle that gets them on the news or on the radio - be heard amoung the news noise. If you are not winning this becomes harder and harder - you change coaches, you admit failure, promise more, and then what?

1 comment:

Hamish said...

Fox is attempting to use football to get its subscriptions up. Fox ultimately can't survive in my view, but that is another thesis. Suffice to say that its future is far from secure.

For a couple of months, up to twice a week, I was getting addressed mail from Optus (who have a sort of sub-contract with Fox) trying to sign me up for a 'special deal' of Fox 1 and 2, Fox Sport and a limited number of other chanels. I was tempted because of football but just couldn't afford it.

It turned out that the deadline for the special deal was the time Fox 3 came about. I have not recieved any offer since. If I had have succumbed, I would still be without my football unless I paid up more, and went digital to boot.

Also at that time it became near impossible to watch MOST A-League games unless you had Fox because very few pubs were prepared to pay the extra either.

If you can't watch any but home games, there is no question in my mind that less people will go to home games either. People need to follow the competition, not just an odd game.

There is no question in my mind that this process has had a strangling effect on crowds at the games. Noone is really prepared to say this because of the money coming from Fox, but what is the equation? I guess if Murdoch paid FFA a billion it wouldn't matter if anyone saw any games at all. 'Football' would be secure right? What is the object here?