Do you know what I want? A place where I can go to watch GWS or Swans games with other GWS or Swans fans. Yes, it’s Sydney, but that doesn’t mean I know very many GWS and Swans fans. And if I get my way and end up in Melbourne in a few years (working for the AFL, of course) I’m going to know even fewer GWS and Swans fans. There are a few bars that say they play all the Swans games but should be easier than it is to find them (if anyone wants to know, Dick’s in Balmain is my new favourite place to watch games – can’t wait until the season starts again). Even harder is finding other NBL and ABL fans. Other than the people I know who work for NBL and ABL teams and leagues, I don’t know very many people who are keen to watch the game. So why not partner with a venue? Since it’s Australia, it should probably be a bar (have you ever told Aussies they can’t drink while watching sport? Yea – you probably don’t want to) although you’d want to have an alternate venue for families… more on that later. Continue Reading
Yesterday, boyfriend and I got into a heated (heated is an understatement – I almost drove away and left him at the park) discussion.
You see, he seems to think that you should pay players based on performance. He was talking about Melbourne and the hot mess that makes up their club (I mean honestly – losing to the Gold Coast by 60 points AT THE MCG? You have got to be kidding). I will write a post about what I think Melbourne needs to do to get back on track (spoiler alert: A LOT) but in the meantime, I am going to address boyfriend’s concern. Because if he thinks this is a possibility, he can’t be the only one.
Now, I’m not saying it’s not a good idea. I’m saying it is too difficult to implement. There are too many issues… as you will see (and honestly, I shortened this post because I care about your eyes).
NOTE: It wasn’t until after I wrote this post that I realised I wrote it about AFL. But if you take out the stuff about the CBA, it’s applicable about to any sport.
It won’t change things anyway
Studies show that performance based pay makes no difference when employees are committed to the company. Therefore, you can already say that it won’t work, because we know that players are dedicated to their club. “But Kayla!” you say, “what about players who aren’t dedicated to their club?” Well, anonymous reader, that’s a great point. You show me a professional athlete who doesn’t want to win games and a Grand Final… and I’ll show you a player who shouldn’t be a professional anyway. Don’t worry about those idiots – drop ’em. There are 1,000 more ready to take his place.
It’s (almost) not quantifiable
People get payed based on performance all the time, right? That’s what sales is – there are entire industries built like this. In those instances, however, it’s easy to see who is performing best. You typically get a percentage of your sales/billables as a bonus, or everyone at each level gets the same amount (i.e., seniors get $x, juniors get $y, and so on and so forth). Obviously, the latter is not what we’re talking about here. The problem is: how do you quantify contribution? It may be easy for one game. Let’s say you have Ryan Crowley tagging Gary Ablett (sound familiar?) and because of him, Ablett only gets three touches (this was the example my boyfriend gave). Okay, sure, he had an impact on the game. But let’s say in that same game, Fremantle wins by ten goals and Nathan Fyfe scored six. Who was more valuable to the team? Who do you pay more? And if you pay them both the same because of their contribution, then what about the rest of the team?
Not only is it hard to quantify it each game, but how do you quantify it over an entire season? If someone dominates at the start of the season, but gets injured and can’t play in the last games, are they less valuable? Or what if you have a player that dominates when it doesn’t matter (like Tom Lynch scoring 10 goals against GWS yesterday) but crumbles under the pressure of playing a top-of-the-ladder team? Are they effective… or not?
Of course, you can always take the Dream Team approach and play them per goal, or per touch, but as we all know… that doesn’t tell you how valuable a person is to a team and those taggers who dominate their opponent? Well, don’t expect them to be noticed or paid more.
Boyfriend says you can just have the coach decide. But then, how much room does that leave for favouritism? LOTS.
There’s already a bonus in place for this
Clubs are allowed to award bonuses to players who are in the top ten best and fairest of the club. This is not part of the salary cap (at least, I don’t think it is). The best players – taggers, scorers, defenders… – will likely find themselves in the top ten, anyway. What’s the point of doing it twice?
They may not reach TPP
The CBA says that clubs must spend at least 92.5% of the salary cap on salaries. If you plan on usig bonuses as part of salaries, there is no way that you can start the season having spent that much. You’d have to spend more like… 50% (at the most). But what if you go through the season and everyone does terribly? You’ll probably have money left over which means that you’ll have to divide it – equitably – amongst the players. That’s all well and good, but it also defeats the purpose of this idea: don’t pay players that don’t perform.
Requirements will be unclear
If you want merit pay to work, requirements have to be made clear to the employee (the player) by the employer (the coach). In sales jobs, for instance, it’s easy: you get 5% commission of what you sell. But if you implement this system, you can’t say to a player, “You’ll get money based on how much you impact each game in relation to your teammates.” You will literally be able to see question marks forming over their heads.
Players will compete against each other
As we know, each club has a limited amount of funds (duh, we call it the salary cap). This means that, like it or not, in this system players would be paid relative to his teammates. Therefore, you can expect that they will try and outperform their competition – their teammates. This makes for terrible play, and even worse club culture. Players will be selfish with the ball, try and hit ridiculous shots and it will give the club a generally negative vibe.
Not to mention, although the AFL does not release player salaries, eventually estimates get out. If you think you did better than your teammate and he gets paid more at the end of the year… well. I can’t imagine you’ll be handing him that ball so readily next season, will you?
It’s against the CBA
This may be the most important one. The CBA basically dictates everything about money in the AFL and it lays out what can be a ‘bonus’ and performance isn’t one of them. According to the CBA, bonuses can be awarded for the number of senior matches played, for being in the club’s top ten best and fairest, and for competing in the grand final. Bonuses based on performance are not included and therefore, (at least until 2017 when the CBA is renegotiated) is not allowed. The end.
Not to mention, there are caps on how much you can pay each player (usually based on the number of years they’ve played or the list they’re on) and it’s not fair for a rookie, say, if he’s killing it every week, to be paid less than a senior player who does a mediocre job, just because he’s a rookie. That would happen in this case.
My last point. Buddy is MIND-NUMBINGLY amazing. Everyone knows that. But how do you pay someone like him based on their performance? It’s an impossibility.
Like I said… it can’t actually be done. Agree?
Although, I think this might be a fun assignment for me for the end of the year… Anyone interested in seeing what I’d pay players based on their performance at the end of the season? I’ll keep that one in the pipeline.
Want to know more? Read this.
My friends give me such amazing ideas and they don’t even know it. No, no, I don’t steal ideas – they say things like, ‘I wonder how he gets fit,’ and I think AFL WORKOUT WEB SERIES. They really are geniuses. I also think that’s what marketing is about – giving people what they don’t know need want by listening to what they want.
So this idea came from couple friends of mine – shout out to Sammy and Liam!
Sammy got Liam a Swans Membership for Christmas. I reprimanded my boyfriend for not getting me the one (although, I do live two hours away so maybe he was just being smart). But then I thought about it… and THAT’S who you need to call to sell memberships – the partners.
If someone had put the idea in my head that my boyfriend would LOVE a footy membership for Christmas/his birthday, I would of bought one for him (he’s also a North Melbourne fan and we don’t live anywhere near North Melbourne so there’s that issue). I don’t think I’m the only girl who thinks that way. It’s HARD to buy presents for guys, especially if they don’t have a lot of hobbies or they have hobbies you can’t contribute to. My boyfriend, for instance, is in the process of building a bike. I know nothing about bikes so even if I wanted to, I couldn’t get him something for it because odds are, it’ll end up being wrong. So it really is difficult to get guys a present unless you already know what they want. And we hardly ever know what they want. Footy tends to be the national language so getting your partner a membership for a team, even if it’s the cheapest option possible, is a great (and safe!) idea. Guys tend to be big sport fans all around, so you could even get him a membership to teams he may like but hasn’t gotten around to seeing. The Sydney Blue Sox and other ABL clubs, for instance, have really cheap memberships so it’d be fun!
I’m not sure how you would do this, but the best way would be to figure out people who bought tickets and aren’t members – Liam wasn’t a member before this and that’s why I thought of this idea – reaching a new market is key.
Furthermore, if you can’t aim to sell to the partners… aim to sell partner memberships to the members.
Stay with me here.
Envision this: you’re a guy (most of my readers won’t have to envision this because they are, in fact, guys) and your girlfriend/wife/partner doesn’t like footy (GASP!). This means that they want to pull you away from the TV on weekends and have no desire to go to games and their eyes glaze over when you talk about stats and the ladder. Now imagine they become a fan. How much better would life be?! Let me tell you, my life got exponentially better once I convinced my boyfriend that old movies can actually be enjoyable (don’t tell anyone, but he liked The Wizard of Oz). Sharing interests is great – and it can be a moneymaker for clubs. If you can convince your members to buy an additional membership for their significant other, you will make the big bucks… FAST. Plus, if you can just get them to games consistently, you can turn them into fans so if/when their relationships end (and odds are they probably will – not a pessimist, just trying to help the clubs out) those two members will bring their new partners to games.
How genius would this be?
If a club can figure out how to get to these key people… they could sell so many extra memberships.
PS – I have a mind-blowingly amazing commercial idea to go with the second half of this post… but I can’t share it online (lest it be stolen!). UGH.
(Sorry if this post seems scattered – my mind is racing about this!)
Now that I’m volunteering with the Wollongong Hawks, I almost don’t want to write this post. The team is great and I love working with them, but while watching the games the past few weeks, I noticed something that I had to speak up about: Americans don’t fit in the NBL.
I know this is a very general statement and there are some Americans who do make great NBL players, but there are so many differences that it makes it hard.
What really drove this point home for me was watching Adris Deleon, the Wollongong Hawks point guard, play this past Friday. Yes, I am aware that he was born in the Dominican Republic, but he was raised in the US and that’s where he learned to play basketball, therefore, I’d consider him a American basketball player, at least in terms of style, and that’s what I’m talking about.
Americans Play Faster
Deleon is a good player, yes. But his playing style doesn’t suit his team because he’s playing as though he’s in the NBA, and he’s not. No two ways about it, the NBA is better quality than the NBL (they have about $10 katrillion more than the NBL, so they better be). The NBA is known for being fast and crazy and chock full of showboats (Dwight Howard ring any bells?). Even teams that are known for their calculated, organized style of play, like the Boston Celtics circa 2008, or teams that are at the bottom of the laddder still rack up the three point shots and fast breaks on a good night. They can do that, in part, because of their abilities. The NBL can’t do things like that – they’re still playing basketball in it’s most basic form.
Watching Deleon on Friday was… hard. He’s the point guard which means he’s shorter than most of the other guys on the court and faster. That’s just how basketball is, but it was magnified because he was playing like an American. He was pretty much running circles around the Perth Wildcats, which was great, but it also looked like his teammates were confused, which was not so great. I don’t think he’s acknowledging where he is. DELEON: YOU ARE IN THE NBL NOT THE NBA. PLAY ACCORDINGLY.
While there’s nothing wrong with the playing style in the NBL and there are so, so many talented NBL players, they point I’m trying to make is that the leagues are different. The men play differently. You only need to look at the scores of an NBL game to see the difference. A low scoring game in the NBA has points in the 80s – in the NBL, that’s a high scoring game (the highest score from a team so far this season is 97 points).
Americans Are Selfish
The other big difference is that basketball is still a team sport in Australia (just like in Europe). For better or worse, basketball in the US is more of an individual sport now. Yea, you play as a team, but most guys are more concerned about making themselves look good. That’s where that showboating comes in. Everyone wants to stand out. Every good player does make the sacrifice and hands the ball off to their teammate but not before they show what they can do. For Deleon, it was his constant between legs cross over. I saw the shot clock run out a couple times because he wasted time screwing around. Maybe he thinks that his teammates are just as fast as he is?
Americans Are… Americans
And that’s why American basketball players don’t really make a good fit. As much as I love the US and the NBA (and I LOVE the NBA) I can’t say that we like conforming. We like to think that our way is the best way and whether or not that’s true doesn’t matter – if Americans are going to succeed in the NBL then they need to learn to play with Australian players. They need to stop thinking they are in the NBA. They need to adjust their playing style. They might get here quickly, but without adapting they’re going to go just as fast.
Check out the post on Babes Dig Balls! Hot name, hotter staff.
(Photo Credit: Herald Sun)
I officially have to write a disclaimer and let me tell you, I couldn’t be happier about it. Because I am now a volunteer with the Wollongong Hawks. YAY. I have been waiting for over a year to start volunteering with a pro team (don’t get me started on the dozens of unreturned emails and even more badly timed opportunities) and it’s finally here! So for the record, while I do have a bit of involvement with the Hawks, it by no means makes me biased, as you’ll soon see.
So last Friday, I told you why you should go to a Hawks game (I stand by all those reasons, by the way) and now I want to tell you how it went. It just seems fair. This was my first NBL game, ever, and I’ve got a lot to say. You should know that I don’t compare to the NBA. Okay, maybe that’s a lie – I compare a little. But I don’t expect the same things from the NBL as I do from the NBA. Seriously – the NBA is ridiculous and completely over-the-top and wonderful, but has about 100xs the amount of money that the NBL has so I know it won’t be the same experience. Here are some things I loved and some things I didn’t love as much.
What I Loved
Membership Sales. This is where I was most of the time. While people were waiting in a long line outside, we walked up an down that line and offered memberships. It’s funny – there were a few of us and each of us did well with a certain type of person (I did best with younger guys and couples). The membership is cheaper than the individual tickets, as long as you’re not getting floor seats or anything, and those who bought got to skip the (ridiculously long) line. Genius. Over 50 were sold – that’s pretty awesome.
Easy Navigation. Everything was so easy to find. The signs were clear and they were everywhere. I was never confused and neither was anyone else – at least, no one looked lost.
Cheerleaders. The half time cheerleaders were really good! They’re technically a dance squad from somewhere in Wollongong, not associated with the Hawks, and they tore it up. They were younger – none of them could be high school graduates yet – but they did a great job. It was good half time entertainment before running to the hot food stand and snacking.
The Win. Well… duh. I volunteer with the Hawks now. Even though they played the Sydney Kings, I was rooting for them. And they won! Close game, good win.
And now, for what you really wanted to read about…
What I Didn’t Love
Ticketing. The Ticketek line was OUTRAGEOUS. At one point, there had to have been 100 people in it – no joke. That’s a ridiculous amount of time to make someone wait to buy/pick up a ticket. I’ve heard it’s never been that long before, but still, there’s gotta be a better way. It also doesn’t really make much sense for Ticketek to have people buying and people picking up in the same line – people who had already paid were FUMING that they had to wait. It was also a bit confusing. There were three places tickets could be picked up: the Ticketek line, the Hawks ticket pick up, and the Hawks membership tent. And it wasn’t always clear which one you were supposed to go to. There also wasn’t a sign for the membership tent (don’t worry, I’m pretty sure they’re working on that). Buy your tickets from the Hawks – it’ll make your life easier.
Music. Maybe Australia just does things differently… but I’m confused about the music. For some reason, the music was being played DURING game time. In the NBA (sorry for the comparison) music plays during timeouts or breaks so people can sing along and stay pumped up. During regulation time, don’t people want to see the game without distractions? Just me? Oh. Okay then…
Cheerleaders. I loved the halftime cheerleaders. The Hawks cheerleaders? Not so much. For starters, there were only 6 of them – that doesn’t make a good show (trust me, I used to be on a squad with 6 of us). They also couldn’t dance very well. Maybe half of them could, but the others… it was almost embarrassing. During one performance, one of them fell. During another, I saw a lady in the stands laughing so hard at them that she was crying. I realize that in part, they’re chosen because they can talk to media but they couldn’t even talk to game attendees. When they were out in front of the stadium before the game, they were just talking to friends and each other. C’mon guys. Sort it out.
Since this was the first game, I know for a fact that the Hawks will be ironing out some of the kinks (for example, the merchandise will be there at the next home game). Not everything can run perfect from the get-go! I’m seriously looking forward to the strides they’ll make this season. They employees are so incredibly dedicated to bringing a good game day experience to the fans that I’m sure it will happen, and be amazing. Maybe I’ll tweet this article at them (and then hide my face so they don’t think I’m rude)?
The next game is Sunday, 21st October at 4:00 pm vs Townsville Crocodiles. I’ll be selling memberships again – let me know if you’ll be there! And that’s Pink Night in support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation! Another great reason to attend!
A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post complaining about the Sydney Kings lack of updates and media usage. It was pretty harsh, if I’m being honest. I felt bad about it, but at the same time, I want to know about the Kings! I want to be a fan! And I can’t be a fan of a team I know nothing about.
After that post, the Kings followed me on Twitter and there were a few discussions revolving around what I had posted. I loved it! It was nice to know someone was reading and since they defended the Kings, so it was also nice to know there were some fans out there!
Maybe I can write it up to a coincidence, but within the next week there were several posts to the website and their Twitter account was more frequently updated and they added videos to their Youtube channel. Remarkably, lots of their updates were related to my suggestions including seat/premium advertising, profiles and charity work. Not bad, Sydney Kings, not bad. I feel much better about the situation. Almost.
Here is my only concern: will they keep it up? One comment I got was saying that the NBL was off-season and that’s why there weren’t more frequent updates, and I think that’s my major concern. It’s easy to have lots to write about during the season but for teams like the Kings, and even leagues like the NBL, radio silence for six months out of the year is a luxury they don’t have. They’re already leaps and bounds ahead of other sports because of their new digital deal, but in terms of attendance and viewership, they’re still behind. The off-season is a great time to connect with fans. They don’t have to pay attention to that right now, but it should certainly be a focus come April.
Be sure to check out the awesome new updates on all the Sydney Kings media outlets! Here’s their website, Twitter page and Youtube channel. And, if you’re interested (which you should be!) their 2012/2013 schedule.
Australian sports are finally catching up! After following every Celtics game online since I’ve become a basketball fan (oh, 2007, you were such a great year) I have always wondered why no Australian sport has decent online coverage. You can barely get live scores on the league and club websites, for crying out loud! But now, the NBL has sorted it out and I am ecstatic. Mostly…
PERFORM Media has partnered with the NBL to broadcast all games on NBL.tv. That’s right – ALL GAMES, NO DELAYS – which viewers can watch on any digital platform (tv, PC, tablet, phone… you get the picture) for $79 per season… or $59 if you catch the early bird special… or $19 per month, if that’s more your speed. There will be more available On Demand, so people can watch delayed if they want, and Boomers and Opals home games will also be available. It’s pretty great.
Why It’s Groundbreaking
Amazingly, this has never been done in Australia. Before this season, if you wanted to watch a game that wasn’t on free-to-air, you had to get a ridiculous sports package for your TV, try to convince a bartender to put the game on (good luck with that!) or stream it online… which is illegal and terrible quality. At least, that’s what I hear.
Part of the reason this hasn’t happened before is because the AFL and the NRL can make more money by selling the TV rights to delayed games, than they would by offering an online subscription. The fact that the NBL has chosen to do it this way may mean their TV rights are not that valuable – at least not as valuable as the AFL or NRL – but I’m going to remain positive and say they care about the fans.
Why It’s Good For The League
1. It’s great for current fans. They can now watch more games on more platforms and that can increase brand loyalty. Not only that, but check out how this helps number three…
2. Another revenue stream. People are paying for access to this, which means more income and like I’ve said countless times before… we all want more income. Sports leagues are no exception.
3. Increased sponsorships. The league has already been approached by potential sponsors now that they’ve gone digital. Why? Because now that they’re online, sponsors can do more individual, tailored marketing (you know, it’s like how Facebook shows you certain ads depending on where you are, who you talk to and the stuff you do online?).
4. The NBL keeps the broadcasting rights. Unlike many sports agreements where revenue generated by broadcasting goes to the rights holder (in this case, it’s PERFORM), NBL.tv will be league-operated so the league keeps the revenue. This deal is a cash cow!
5. It means Australia is catching up! Most overseas leagues already have hugely successful deals like this. NBA LeaguePass? That’s gold, right there. If it’s proven that this can be a success… why wait?
Why It’s Bad
It’s not. I just needed a place to complain that the commercial terms aren’t available to the public. How am I supposed to evaluate the league and know what it’s worth if you won’t show my your commercial agreement?!
What I’d Do Differently
Although I think that overall, this is great and all the Australian leagues should have some form of this (although not too soon, or the NBL will lose it’s edge) the problem involves the new fans. New fans are not going to want to pay for this service, yet. It’s true that this service makes NBL games available to more Australians than ever before, but what does that matter if no one purchases it? I think there are two solutions: offer a free trial of NBA.tv or offer live streaming of some games.
New fans might like the idea of this deal but if this is their first season watching? Eh, probably not going to pay the 80 bucks. But if the NBL offered a one-time trial for a week or month or round… they might be more likely to subscribe and keep subscribing. With all the busy schedules these days, they don’t want to sit in front of the TV – they’ll appreciate the vote of confidence given to them by a free trial. Another option would be to give everyone a free preview with free streaming. By offering free live streaming of some games – maybe one per round? – fans, especially new fans, could see how awesome it is and watch more games, get involved and purchase a subscription for next season.
I might also give a bit of a discount to club members, regardless of early bird or not, to reward them for their loyalty. It’s just a nice thing to do. Plus, it would likely increase the number of users in the first year, at least.
What do you think about the new deal? Will people be keen to watch NBL games online? Will it be a success? Will it get new fans? How will it affect sponsors?