Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brisbane's Marquee games

Building the game is not about quality. It is about capturing the imagination of the live sport watching public. The crowd chooses the marquee game, not FFA, or Fox.

FFA was surprised in season one about the rivalry that Brisbane people felt about Sydney FC. The opener and one of the best crowds for the new league was 20,000 against the doomed Auckland Knights. But later they would turn out in bigger numbers for Sydney games. The end of season games v Sydney FC where very well attended - surprising club officials with 30,000 plus crowds.

For the people of Brisbane, Sydney is the real derby, the state of origin. Further despite some poor overall seasons the Roar would lift for the Sydney game and often come away with some great goals and surprise wins (Reinaldo's half the pitch run through the whole Sydney team!).

But when Gold Coast was established, FFA took the opportunity to switch the opening game to Gold Coast and dropped the promotion of Brisbane's home games with Sydney. The switch may have worked but for Gold Coast's petulance, not turning up for the promotion of the first game - turning of fans of the sport here in Brisbane.

5 games without a win for Brisbane and then poor weather conditions further turned the crowd off. Travelling to Gold Coast on that first boxing day with 90% of the crowd Brisbane supporters and then losing 1-5 was too much.

Games against the other derby team Fury, even with Robbie Fowler, created limited interest.

This year the pitch was grand final rematch. In reality, even with the FFA highly active, that message had no 'cut through'. The people of Brisbane showed little interest in CCM. While the weather didn't help, the moment has passed for 2011-11.

Why not bring back the biff. Bring back the Sydney FC capital city derby.

In the meantime, it seems a shame that Brisbane has never experimented with a marquee player.

Oh and the other thing, ignore FIFA and replay controversial moments on the big screen - you are just encouraging people to watch from home or at a bar. It is basic for every other sport. Get real.

Building crowd numbers is about attaching sentiment to games, this happens through crowd involvement, and their 'ownership' of the team. Quality football and winning contributes to this, but it is bigger. It is about the bigger emotional hooks for the City - like Brisbane's relationship with Sydney. As Melbourne Victory fans.


Roon said...

Good call!
On the subject of big screen replays, I attended many 'home' games at Robina; of Roar, Fury (even GCU's looked like an away game...).
At many of those games, instead of the ubiquitous 'HAL' blackout screen at the stoppage, the replays were shown.
Not once did I hear any more referee abuse, or see crowd disturbance erupt as a result of seeing the action being repeated on the big screens.
If anything, it promoted better understanding of the game for the newcomers, and probably defused a bit of excess emotional energy from the more active supporters.
I've been told by many one-time and casual attendees that the lack of replays is one big reason they dislike watching the big games at the stadium. (What other code has such archaic policy?)
To hell with FIeFA, lets put more bums on these seats at the A-League!

john said...

thank you Roon

Hamish Alcorn said...

Good thinking re: 'marque games', John. I think you're right that the FFA should let the fans tell them which games are the big ones.

I don't think it much excuses Brisbane's crowds though. This Friday night should tell, but we have the product now and we're winning. If this season goes half as well as it looks like it might, we will have a very good laboratory indication of how much potential support the Roar has *in ideal conditions*.

Now that the World Eggcup has finished and the AFL season is properly forgotten, we should be able to see. Let's remember that although the GF sold out (pretty much I mean), the semi-final - the game before that - barely got 20,000 (can't remember actually, except that it wasn't that impressive given the Roar's winning ways).

So what's a realistic target, apart from Grand Finals? 30,000 would be good.

But the game speaks for itself, and it is the sheer joyful *quality* of the Roar's football which will have a much better chance of seducing bandwaggoners for the longer term than, say, Sydney's winning ways at the beginning of the competition. The recipe has to be right.

I think we should be aiming for 45,000 on New Years Eve. A 7.30 game, it's also a Saturday night, we will be expecting to win (hopefully) over MV. What a perfect way to begin a New Years' Eve!

Sorry. I start. I ramble. You can see why I've had to start blogging again. :)