3 min read

APL faces financial turmoil, mass redundancies and organisational restructure after Unite Round no-show


The Australian Professional Leagues, which oversees the A-League men’s and women’s competitions, is reportedly grappling with financial challenges, leading to an extensive “organisational restructure” and a wave of mass redundancies.

In response to dismal attendance figures during last weekend’s Unite Round in Sydney, the APL has initiated staff cuts amounting to up to 50 percent of its workforce.

As part of the cost-cutting measures, KeepUp, the APL’s digital and content arm, previously a $40 million investment, will be dissolved. The A-League’s separate competition website, originally under the broader KeepUp umbrella this season, will continue in some capacity.

In an official statement, the APL, though unattributed to A-League commissioner Nick Garcia, acknowledged the need to ‘create efficiencies through consolidation’ in light of persistently low attendance figures plaguing both men’s and women’s competitions.

‘In the three years since unbundling (with Football Australia), APL has implemented a strategy that has seen a period of rapid growth across our business,’ an APL statement read.

‘With the original three-year strategy coming to an end, a planned full strategic and commercial review has taken place over the last several months.

‘The review has identified significant opportunities to create efficiencies through consolidation and this necessitates an organisational restructure that is now underway.

‘APL’s priorities remain the same – to deliver commercial growth and sustainability by creating the most exciting competitions possible for our fans – with strong teams producing great young players across Australia and New Zealand.’

The recent Unite Round, featuring all 12 A-League men’s and women’s matches in Sydney, drew a cumulative attendance of less than 48,000, raising concerns about the league’s financial viability. Despite football’s popularity in Australia in the wake of the Matildas’ World Cup semi-final run, only one A-League women’s match attracted over 2,000 spectators, with a total attendance of just over 11,000 for all women’s games.

Questions have arisen regarding the broadcast deal with Network 10/Paramount+, as sagging ratings fall short of required targets for the full broadcast deal sum to be paid to the APL. Additionally, fan backlash ensued over the decision to sell the grand final to the New South Wales government, prompting a reversal after just one year and the introduction of the Unite Round.

The APL finds itself financially supporting struggling teams like Perth Glory, while the Newcastle Jets have required financial assistance from other club owners to remain solvent. Plans for the men’s league to expand next season, incorporating a second New Zealand team in Auckland and a new Canberra-based club, may face challenges amidst the league’s current financial uncertainties.

It's free to join the team!

Join the most engaged community in the Sports Business World.

Get all the latest news, insights, data, education and event updates.