Where Is My Fixture List?
Any follower of Australian soccer, even a part-time one like myself, had high hopes that the new A-League and Frank Lowy's involvement would see an end to the comical reulctance to run themselves sensibly. But now I am not so sure. Lowy's plea to fans to come to games smacks of desperation, which is not the best thing to be 17 days before the first game.
It shouldn't be necessary. There are plenty of soccer supporters, both old (ethnic) and new in Australia, who would be happy to give the league support and keep it going. The problem now is the same one that plagued it several years ago when the short-lived Carlton side sank without a trace. Namely, they aren't communicating what is going on to the casual supporter to get them interested.
I don't follow the football closely, but last week a trip to the MCG was mooted while we are at the pub. We asked the publican if he had a fixture list and an inch high pile was procured in about 3 seconds. Easy. Keeping in touch with the footy in Melbourne is simple because the AFL prints several million fixture lists a year, and because the results are easily accessible.
But here we are three weeks from the kick-off of the A-League and I can't answer some basic questions about the local side because the basics haven't been covered (even while they talk up wasting $3 million in tv advertising):
Where are the Victory playing?
When is their first and subsequent home game?
How many rounds are there?
What is the finals format (if any)?
Are the games predoiminately at night? Day? Saturday? Sunday?
What television network is it on? If any?
You can't run a league if one of your major target markets can't answer these questions. And I am the league's major target market.
There is a billboard in the city, near Spencer St., that shows Melbourne's water levels. Fascinating billboard, because it is always different, so like the Nylex sign and its temperature you always check it. The A-League needs something like that, that is visible in the city, giving last week's results, the table, and the fixture list. Because unless I can find out who won without trying, I just don't care. And nor will anyone else.
9th August, 2005 12:17:36