Tuesday, November 10, 2009

W-League visits Shepparton - why regional games are a great idea

So in last week's preview I added in a few sentences about just how excellent an idea it was to move a W-League game to Shepparton, citing the 'Canberra effect'. Which is, there isn't much else happening there over summer so why not move women's games to areas where they don't have to compete with men's for attention? So anyway, after Teo from Shepparton news emailed me last week to point out his podcast where he had some interviews with Melbourne Victory people, he kindly followed up with what he was able to write in the newspaper. As you can see, it gained a whole page and more.

So this is exactly why I think more of these games should be moved to regional areas. Yes it's great that the women in Queensland get to play on Ballymore Stadium, but what about moving a game to Cairns? which doesn't have an A-League team and in summer the biggest thing happening is the men's basketball - which is at night and indoors.
Yes, most of the clubs are linked to men's A-League clubs and its great if they can play curtain raisers o nthe big grounds. But while the league is still growing, getting the product out to as many people as possible surely is just as important as just playing the games. And making the W-League game the biggest thing on in a particular place that weekend, makes more people go along.
Hence, the Canberra effect.
In Canberra, apart from local cricket the biggest things on in summer are the Canberra Capitals playing in the WNBL and now Canberra United in the W-League. For The Canberra Times season preview this year, we did a combined eight-page lift-out with stories, player profiles and statistics. While the Sydney newspapers have had a few W-League results in, they have had hardly a fraction of the coverage Canberra United and the Newcastle Jets have, (cheers to you, Newcastle Herald!), I'm not sure about TV and radio coverage in other areas, but the girls are on WIN and ABC weekly and on both commercial and ABC radio as well. Which is why Canberra have some of the strongest crowd numbers - people know about them. So congratulations to Shepparton for turning on the welcome mat for the W-League and hopefully there are more regional visits to come in the next few seasons. Certainly something like a Canberra United game in Dubbo, taking the game to the Sykes' sisters, could work. Anywhere else you think a W-League game should go?

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear. You might be right all things considered. But I for one would hate it if Brisbane lost a home game to another city. It is the only senior soccer I go to since I've abandoned the men's team.

    For the money I really couldn't be bothered with the poor quality Suncorp experience and the cynical football often played.

    And maybe I'm being too optimistic, but I do think with just a bit of decent marketing, the Roar women, an extraordinarily successful outfit, could build up much better crowds at Ballymore.