The final live A-League match will appear on SBS2 this Friday night, but before all you football fans dash off into a mad panic the finals will be shown on a one hour delay, just like the Socceroos Internationals. If you haven’t got Foxtel don’t panic, just stay off social media (and miss the witty FTSAUS banter) and watch the game as though it is live.
So has the ‘Free to air’ soirée into domestic football been a success? Personally I think so; it has provided the opportunity for football to be watched around the country. SBS has always been the home of football in my opinion and will continue to be, as they bring the best possible coverage of the world game to us on their strict budget.
The figures haven’t been overwhelming to support the success of the coverage, and the axing of ThursdayFC points the finger at a failure but I think the production levels and the slick coverage have once again bought domestic football into our lounge rooms, and to me that is a success. The smart team of Craig Foster, Lucy Zelic, David Zdrillic and co have found a place in our lives once again and hopefully are here to stay.
I’m still not convinced most of the population know that SBS2 exists, does Joe Public flick through all the digital channels or does he sit at home Friday night and go 2, 7, 9, 10 with his remote and the occasional flick to SBS after 10pm when his wife ducks off to the kitchen? Or does the modern person go 2, 7, 9, 10, 11, SBS, One, GEM, SBS2, ABC24, and so fourth. The point I am trying to make is that I don’t think SBS2 gets enough exposure Australia wide and I may have the solution, sure it’s a big call but if everyone works together this could increase the popularity of the A-League and help grow our great game. There is just one little catch…
Those at the FFA do a wonderful job producing the hectic 27 round fixture that is heavily slanted to the Saturday 7:30pm timeslot in order to keep major television player Foxtel happy. Which is fantastic, and for the amount of money they are willing to put into the game probably fair enough. All I’m asking is a few minor tweaks to the schedule for next season to give both subscription and free to air viewers a great month of football in February.
Why February? Next year Australia will be lucky enough to play host for the 2015 Asian Cup, the tournament runs for almost the entirety of January (9th-31st) and the A-League is expected to take a three week midseason break. We will be treated to some great International football, and hopefully some played by our Socceroos. I expect most A-League fans to be salivating by the end of January, particularly if the Socceroos have an early exit.
My proposal is ‘Fab Feb’ this will consist of four great Friday night games to be shown on the primary SBS channel and Fox Sports. I have chosen four matches to include eight of the teams; I excluded Wellington and Perth purely because of time difference factor.
Here is my schedule
- February 6thAdelaide v Victory
- February 13thCentralCoast v Newcastle (8:00pm Kick off)
- February 20thBrisbane v Western Sydney
- February 27th Heart v Sydney
I am prepared for criticism over the scheduling of a Friday night F3 derby, but I have pushed the scheduling back to 8pm in order for travelling fans (and Central Coast fans who work in Sydney), and also I wanted to include the eight clubs in the ‘Fab Feb’ schedule. Neither club has a huge fan base across the country but I think by scheduling a derby on free to air could give both clubs some needed extra exposure. I couldn’t schedule either a Melbourne or Sydney derby for a Friday night because it would impact too much on the Fox Sports schedule and the hip pocket of the clubs. I still believe our elite games should be played on a Saturday night, both to suit the television and live audiences.
Playing the matches on SBS should give the clubs extra exposure on Free to Air television, especially after hosting the Asian Cup. Starting with a passionate Adelaide and Victory game would be the perfect introduction for those who are still not on board the league just yet. I have deliberately stayed away from Friday night matches in Sydney because to me they just don’t seem to work.
Of course all this is just one idea of how to promote our game, and build on the exposure of football in this country. We need to use the Asian Cup as a clever promotional tool and work off the energy and opportunities this creates. If we can get Foxtel, SBS and the FFA working together we can increase the popularity of the A-League, particularly if we are going to lose star marquee players like Del Piero, Ono, Heskey and Flores.Google+