A-LEAGUE’S COMMERCIAL DECLINE
MELBOURNE Victory will play the Newcastle Jets in the 2017-18 A-League grand final this coming weekend but the statistics tracking the A-League’s downward trajectory this season are both disheartening and irrefutable.
Average crowds of 10,666 this season compared with 13,479 just four years ago and viewing figures that have plunged from already-concerning lows provide the hard evidence of declining interest.
It has been reported that owners of Melbourne City do not have any interest in investing money on high-profile marquee players until the A-League undergoes a major overhaul of its ownership structure.
City Football Group, owners of Manchester City FC, New York City and Melbourne Victory reportedly raked in more than $860 million in revenue last year but not even they are shopping for big-name players to Australia due to the lack of return and limited commercial revenue options available in the competition.
City Football Group Managing director Brian Marwood was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald last week “We haven’t walked away from it, we haven’t said ‘this doesn’t work and lets sell the club and move somewhere else’. Crowds are down, there’s no real big commercial revenues here.”
Little financial reward for success in the A-League, if any, hampered by centralised merchandising revenue, restrictions on sponsorships and absence of prize money all before attendances and audiences are factored in.