The A-Leagues are struggling with a big adjustment. Although many fans understand these changes will need time, I thought it would be fun to list a few ways I think the APL can improve the A-League product.
Minor expansion of Network 10 broadcasts
Early ratings have been the highest in recent years for the A-League, but at 80k per game are still too low. This will be a long investment but Channel 10 need to maintain routine and invest in the game.
ALW games should be elevated to the 7pm Prime Time slot in the Men’s International breaks to ensure continuity of routine for football fans on Saturday nights. Similarly, ALM games should take up ALW broadcast slots in the women’s international breaks.
The FTA A-League Women’s game should not be Sunday afternoon on 10Bold, but rather 3pm Saturday on the main 10 channel, this way football fans can enjoy A-League every Saturday on one channel. This elevates the A-League Women’s off the multi-channel, builds a stronger routine, and clearer brand partnership. If 10 also adds a ‘Before the Game style entertainment show after the news Saturdays will offer an excellent product for fans:
- 3pm ALW
- 5pm News
- 6pm A-Leagues Entertainment show
- 7pm ALM
A Sam Santo and Ed style show in the this slot will allow for greater crossover appeal for the code and serve a great lead in for the Saturday night match, delivering not only interest but a platform for the League’s characters to have a bit of fun!
Adjust KeepUp website strategy
I have already written about KeepUp’s issues but there are a couple of content points I’d like to make.
The ALM and ALW should have their own dedicated websites with essential basic content, i.e. Ladders, fixtures, match previews and reviews. As it stands KeepUp is not drawing Football Fans to A-League content, but rather it is hiding A-League content in a flood of football content.
KeepUp required not just a redesign that focuses of functionality over style but needs to differentiate itself by providing a regular schedule of content, more consistent podcasts, regular featured writers, consistent video content. The APL essentially needs a studio in the office and start pumping out content that creates a conversation about A-League and gives a reason for all football fans to go to the website.
Expand and align the competition structure
Expansion of the ALM and ALW is a must. The ALM should expand to Canberra and Wollongong/Gold Coast as soon as possible, and the ALW should mimic this.
Secondly the competitions should both become simple home and away fixtures of 26 rounds, they should start and end at the same time to align stories, and empower the joint club competition the APL is pushing.
Bonus – the National second division should look to mimic this format of 14 teams and 26 rounds to further strengthen this competition flow to fans.
Controversial one – but with the exception of finals, I think all ALM and ALW games should be double headers. This will increase the sense of one club, reduce cost, increase standards of ALW facilities, increase crowds and increase bargaining power of the clubs.
Minor one, but I think Mens A-League and Womens A-League sounds better and will differentiate the products clearer. People tend to drop the MEN and WOMEN past of A-League MEN and A-League WOMEN in conversation… sponsor differences aren’t enough for me!
Finally… eliminate all other issues. I am not a crackpot.