The FFA have hit pay dirt with a Suncorp Sunday afternoon final.
The pricing decision was tough and yet easy. It was probably the only choice.
While the FFA would have wanted to reward loyal fans, their financial position and that of clubs across the league meant pricing to produce the maximum total dollars.
The outcome of Central Coast v Gold Coast won't mean a lot to crowd numbers. However, it will impact the 'story' in the lead up to the Grand Final, including valuations on key players who may be eying overseas or inter-club moves. It may also affect TV audiences, although Fox Sports will be happy that, at last, the market with the biggest untapped market, Brisbane, is at last in play.
The future of Gold Coast United may well be determined or put into play by the outcome of today's preliminary final. Next week's final will determine the Roar's future ownership. The mining industry seems the answer, Vale, Xstrata, BHP or Rio Tinto. The Vale link was made 2 seasons ago but a decision was made to use Charlie Miller for a visa spot instead of the agreed offer to a club linked to the Brazilian Vale. Vale is Brazil's largest company and their Australian headquarters is here in Brisbane.
Looking at things from another angle, Brisbane Roar fans typically walk up to the game instead of buying in advance. Some seasons back they only had 500 odd season ticket holders, while crowds were up near an average of 15,000. Walkers to this game risk missing it.
Club officials and FFA struggle to regularly predict fan interest. This awareness of 'why and when' fans will buy a ticket to a game, given that TV rights are centrally managed, is critical to club success. However, this skill or the awareness of how to develop it, is in very short supply. The focus, naturally, is 'looking after our people.'