I doubt NRL in Melbourne will ever be as strong as AFL in Sydney. The AFL were able to crack Sydney relatively successfully due to:
• There already being a reasonably strong aussie rules club competition in Sydney when they moved in 1982. I’ve heard that aussie rules in the 70’s in Sydney was quite strong with local clubs drawing crowds comparable to rugby league at the time, with blokes like Sam Kekovich playing.
• When the Swans eventually became a finals side in around 1987 with effective hype marketing, that local club comp culture enabled them to achieve 25k crowds (note, my guess). This is also exactly the case in Brisbane and how it evolved successfully.
• The Swans’ boom resurgence couldn’t have chosen a better time EVER than the year 1996 which saw rugby league drop to its lowest and most unpopular point in history (for the fans) with the Super League / News Ltd war, just after rugby league had become the most popular it had ever been in 1994. This really allowed the Swans to cash in on some fans that no longer had a team or competition that they believed in. Ditto for Brisbane, they just moved back to the Gabba, which was a much more attractive venue than ANZ Stadium, and plenty of sports fans disliked the Broncos in Brisbane and needed a team to support
You will note that none of these crucial points are either present in Melbourne or have no chance of happening, therefore, until at least a senior and junior playing rugby league comp is played locally in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, an NRL club will be struggling to be commercially viable in these cities. And the NRL does not exactly have the money the AFL does to afford non-commercially viable clubs.
It is also fair to say, as Kerry Packer did when Alan Bond went bust after Bond bought Nine for a cool $1Billion back in the late eighties – “that you only get one Alan Bond in your lifetime” – applies to the AFL – “you only get one Super League war in your lifetime”.
I doubt the NRL will ever be able to say that, although the AFL could be digging themselves as their own version of News Ltd. This article by Patrick Smith today shows that the AFL could really an evil and unjust empire, is there any chance the fans will ever revolt / go on strike and demand cheaper prices on season tickets etc? Or are the fans too brainwashed with all the propaganda? I for one find it disgusting that Andrew Demetriou has given himself a pay rise – to $1million a year – if it stays the same, I will always think of where my money is going every time I buy a ticket to the AFL from now on, something I’ve never considered before when going to watch sport.
http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,86 ... 11,00.html
Forget players, make football cheaper
By Patrick Smith
August 4, 2006
LET us deal with the excuses first. Get the nonsense out of the way.
One, AFL footballers are wealthy young men with time on their hands. Two, the pressure to perform is great and sometimes suffocating. Three, the public likes nothing better than baiting a footballer. Four, they are not role models, just footballers.
We dismiss all that as bunkum.
There are lots of 25-year-old men and women, working in jobs that draw intense responsibility and scrutiny, who don't go around belting other people outside pubs. Who don't go driving drunk, who don't go fleeing from police, who don't carry weapons, who don't assault supporters never mind police, don't go speeding, don't drive without a licence.
All of those breaches of the law were detailed in The Australian last week. All of them the work of AFL footballers.
Then along came Chris Tarrant and Ben Johnson as if on cue. Footballers behaving badly? Cop this. AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou and AFL Players Association boss Brendon Gale have said player behaviour is a concern. And both have said it is no better or worse than it has been over the years. We think they are wrong.
Tables run in all papers this week show footballers have been persistently drawing headlines not for miskicks but misdemeanours. More than in 2005 and more than in 2004.
This same group of players will enjoy a split of nearly $800 million over the next five years.
Pay has gone up, marketing and promotional money has gone up, prizemoney has gone up, retirement funding has gone up, and welfare spending. Everything has gone up except the expectation of the AFL that its footballers behave themselves.
The league and the players' association bore us with details of all the education programs available to footballers.
From draft camp to club, players are warned about drugs and alcohol. They are counselled on their lifestyle, on fame and fortune. They are warned of the increased expectation that falls on a sportsman's shoulders.
For this they are rewarded handsomely. The average income for a footballer is about $200,000.
In truth, they are indulged. Spoilt brats.
For example: the AFL introduced an illicit drug code that protects the players unnecessarily and lends the league to easy criticism that it is soft on drugs.
In the next five years, the AFL will set aside $35 million for the players' retirement fund. And $25 million will be set aside to continue to fund players' education. That is $5 million a year. As one listener on Melbourne talkback radio said, that's enough to fund 100 teachers at $50,000 per annum. That's a lot of education. For that sort of money you are entitled to think one of the players might come up with a cure for cancer.
Given that Gale and Demetriou maintain player behaviour gets neither better nor worse, the education programs in the past seem to be a waste of money.
The more money clubs, the AFL and the players' association direct at educating the players, the more behaviour deteriorates.
If the average earn available to players is $200,000, they should fund their own education. Set up their own self-help groups. If it is their money at work, they might actually listen. Take something on board. Everybody has lined up for a slice of the $780 million broadcast money. The players. The clubs want $2 million a year.
The AFL administration has - correctly - been rewarded for the successful manner in which it has run football. Money will be poured into the game's development up north, especially South-East Queensland, where the AFL is locked in battle with rugby league.
Any suggestion that some of the $780 million might go to relieving the burden on spectators who must pay for admission, membership, reserved seats, parking and outrageously priced food is laughed at by the AFL.
Well, rather than spend $25 million on players to explain the bleeding obvious to them - don't stay out in nightclubs to 4am - the money should be directed towards lowering the cost of football.
Membership should be cheaper, seats cheaper, admission cheaper, merchandise cheaper. And you definitely should be able to buy two dim sims and get some change out of $50.
The public should be rewarded for their loyalty to the game. Their enthusiasm to follow the sport at venues and on television. It might be the players who put on the show but it is the fans who pay to watch it. They are the reason broadcasters shell out $780 million.
The majority of footballers do the right thing by their clubs and their supporters. But all codes must now fight for a share of a marketplace that has become much more competitive and tight with the success of the Socceroos.
And there are enough footballers behaving badly to damage the AFL brand.
Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse selected both Johnson and Tarrant for the match against Adelaide. That is his policy. Maybe that is why Sunday morning's incident was not the first in which these players have been involved.
Some players never learn. Not even if you throw $25 million at them.
Anyways, I hope Waldron stays with the Storm for a long time to come, he's doing a bloody great job.