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FFA looks to introduce new A-League fan engagement initiatives
With the A-League having faced declining attendances and lower television audiences over recent seasons, Football Federation Australia (FFA) is set to introduce a number of new game-day initiatives to try and drive fan engagement in the competition.
With the 2018/19 A-League season set to get underway in mid-October, FFA is looking to capitalise on interest in the sport following the recent FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Pointing to cricket’s Big Bash League as a model to try and emulate, A-League officials are aiming to deliver a different atmosphere on match days, with the FFA’s Head of A-League Greg O’Rourke advising “we’re fully aware of what the Big Bash entertainment product is and how it attracts young families.
“We need to make sure we’re not closed off to that. But equally we need to make sure the things in our game that we hold unique will be maintained. We’ll be treading carefully towards this to get the best of both worlds.”
One of the initiatives set to be introduced is ‘safe smoke’, with the Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix having agreed to a trial run of controlled flare releases at their stadia. Other plans include music and video during goal kicks, corners and substitutions
O’Rourke told the Australian Associated Press news agency “we want to see the return and growth of active fans that have a large boisterous entertaining, standing, singing, chanting culture.
“We’ve been doing a significant amount of work with the clubs, the police and also the active fan representatives about what would be important to them to attract them back and to allow them to grow.
“The plan is based on what fans felt were missing out of an end of season review. Fans wanted more pre-game entertainment, more in-game entertainment and more at half time.
“Football globally has about 30 minutes when the ball is stopped or out of play. Some of those gaps can be filled. But not in the big derbies when you’ve got big active fans because the natural rhythm of the supporters is the strength of the game. When we’re at smaller stadiums or bigger stadiums with smaller crowds, we’ll use them.”
Image: Western Sydney Wanderers' Red and Black Bloc fan group have previously been sanctioned for lighting flares at games. Courtesy of Damian Briggs Photography.
5th September 2018 - FFA to review policy governing ethnic heritage of clubs
19th July 2018 - FFA management restructure sees two senior staff cut
21st February 2018 - A-League clubs warn of competition collapse
30th September 2017 - New FFA websites aim to engage football fans and players
13th January 2017 - Australian Open to feature new fan engagement initiatives
28th April 2016 - A-League Grand Final set to generate record gate receipts
10th December 2015 - A-League supporter groups suspend game boycotts after FFA agreement
30th October 2015 - FFA announces major changes in Digital and Fan Engagement
26th September 2015 - Western Sydney Wanderers reject ‘excessive’ police proposals for fan behaviour
8th October 2013 - Victoria Police to crack-down on anti-social behaviour at A-League games
22nd November 2012 - Conference explores football’s power to drive Asian engagement
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