The first step in creating our premiership team. How excited are you?
So. Identifying where your club is in its life-cycle. Let’s go.
The first step in creating our premiership team. How excited are you?
So. Identifying where your club is in its life-cycle. Let’s go.
I love Jobe Watson. This is no secret. My boyfriend is not a fan of this love, but what can I do? He’s Jobe. Freakin’. Watson. (PS – I loved him BEFORE the Brownlow, just saying)
Which is why I was happy when Essendon did well and beat the Adelaide Crows in the first AFL game of the 2013 season. Good for them. Although, I am secretly cursing Brendan Goddard for his less than stellar numbers in Dream Team (ughhhh – I started with Jobe Watson but chose Goddard over him when all the men had him – WHY DO I LISTEN TO MALES?!).
But I have to say… I am completely over everyone raving about Essendon. I don’t mean to belittle their triumph, because hey – a win is a win, but they won one game. There are 21 left. And frankly, I couldn’t care less about the fact that they won this game “in the face of adversity.” What adversity? No one said they couldn’t win. In fact, I expected it, especially since they now have Brendan Goddard. Look – if they did something wrong, they’ll be punished, if they didn’t, then they won’t. That’s not adversity – that’s life.
I understand that people think it’s difficult to play with something like this hanging over their heads, but why? Why is it difficult? Am I naive to think that this investigation has no physical effect on them? Or is it purely because people think there are intense mental/psychological challenges to dealing with such an experience? Psh. Please. They’re grown men – they can answer a few questions about their ex-team doctors. Not to mention, some of them weren’t even there when it happened (yea, I’m looking at you, Brendan) so why does it bother them? I don’t think it should.
So the club is in a “dark place.” Big deal. Isn’t it the job of the coaching staff, the leadership group, and every. single. professional football player to make sure that nothing interferes with their on-field performance? People go through rough personal stuff every day and many of them don’t let it affect their work and yet no one is writing about them saying they’re worthy of admiration and respect. Am I supposed to admire Essendon for f*ing up (ALLEGEDLY) and then doing well despite the fact that people found out about it? Sorry, but I don’t buy it. These guys are paid to perform and they performed. That’s not worthy of admiration and respect… that’s just them doing their job.
This post feels a bit harsh, I realise, but why should a team be glorified because they can win despite club difficulties? Doesn’t every team have difficulties?
It was a good win, but stop over reacting people.
And never fear: I still love you, Jobe.
I am going to start by saying that I LOVE GWS and I like Gold Coast (sorry, Suns – but GWS has Jeremy Cameron so there’s really no getting around it). And in no way do I think they are catastrophe, like Tim Lane does. But I do have some issues…
This is more of a question than a rant or informative post. I have ideas and thoughts, but honestly, I want to know the answer to this question.
This is not news: for many, many years the AFL has had clubs struggling financially. Often times, clubs operate at a loss with the help of funds from the league and, back in the day, revenue sharing.
There are also many clubs that struggle with attendance and membership. For several clubs, membership has been inconsistent, at best, and attendance spotty. There are the powerhouses like Collingwood and Carlton… but then there are the battlers (you know who they are – I shant name names).
Now I’m not a business gal (yet) so maybe I have no idea what I’m saying here… but I’m confused. With all these clubs who are unable to compete with the big boys, the AFL decided to expand?
I’m not saying there wasn’t a market for GWS and Gold Coast. The numbers speak for themselves – Sydney loves GWS and the Gold Coast adore their Suns. Sure, there have been some rocky parts, but that’s what happens when you expand. You try things, learn from mistakes and improve, which it seems like GC and GWS are doing. Power to them – they’re doing well.
But was expanding the right move? To me, I see sport as a business which it is (it is also many other things, but ultimately, it is a company with franchises). The difference between a sports league and another franchise company say, McDonalds, is that there are thousands of people invested in the franchises. When McDonalds sees a branch that isn’t delivering and is repeatedly losing money, it shuts it down – period. That’s why it can afford to open more and more and more stores – because they terminate the ones that aren’t bringing in any cash.
That can’t be done in sport since it’s not that easy and the AFL can’t operate under these restrictions because of the fans. Although it should – the AFL is paying to keep clubs in places where they are not supported instead of investing in clubs . To me, that seems foolish. But Australia is nothing if not traditional so, the way I see it, something else needs to happen: all clubs should have been financially stable before expansion clubs were approved… or even suggested. There were enough issues to deal with before the new clubs came in.
When it comes to improvement, there is no “right time” – that much is certain. If you always wait for the perfect time, you will always be waiting. But was it wise to expand the league when the league is in a bit of trouble (I’m referring only to money and attendance – no one could have foreseen this whole drug fiasco)?
Just a note… if I were the AFL commissioner, I would have gone with relocation instead of expansion. I know many AFL fans have issues with this, but look at how well it all worked out in the case of SMFC (aka the Sydney Swans). People are upset for a bit, but they get over it and the league is stronger because of it. I honestly do not understand why so many people are anti-relocation. Look at how great the Nets are doing since they’ve moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn!
I actually would LOVE an answer to this so if anyone has any ideas… let me know. We’ll have coffee. Or beer. You know, whatever you like.
The NAB Cup is ridiculous. Everyone knows it. The players, the clubs, the fans, and (I’m hoping) the league. No one wants to play their best players because they don’t want them to be injured and no one wants to give away their strategy and tactics. Attendance is mediocre, at best. So why does the AFL continue to have it? Are there people who are demanding it (like in the case of NBA All-Star Weekend?) because I can’t believe that would be the case…
Therefore, I think it needs to go. But wait now, you can’t just not have a pre-season. That’s the way of the world – every league needs a pre-season in one way, shape or form. Which begs the quesiton: what form should the AFL pre-season take? How fortunate… I have the answer (I actually have several answers, but here’s one of them).
First of all, you don’t need four weeks of this build up. The AFL is already the most watched sport in the country so believe me when I tell you that people will know when the season is starting. And if they don’t, then you’ve got bigger problems than how you should structure your pre-season.
Second, let’s be honest about what the NAB Cup is for. For everyone, it’s for checking out new talent. The fans want to know who’s new, the coaches want to know who they’re up against, and the Dream Team-ers want to know who to put on their team. So why not embrace this mentality? Make it a Dream Team Weekend.
More than 200, 000 people participate in AFL Dream Team, many of whom are die hard fans and just love footy. So you need to play to that. make it easy for them to want to attend an event that’s based around Dream Team (or at least caters to their needs). This would, ideally, take place three weeks before the season starts.
The Game Stuff
Part 1: Pick a location (seriously, it’s going to be Melbourne) consolidate the NAB Cup to happen over a single weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and make clubs use (primarily) newbies. Keep the structure of the NAB Cup, just tighten the schedule. Multiple games can happen at once – if Melbourne is the place of choice, use both stadiums, they’re close enough together. People can buy one ticket to see all the games over the weekend (or a one ay pass, one game pass, etc – the ticketing options are endless).
Part 2: Can you do a skills challenge for the older guys? I KNOW the AFL will never figure out the All-Star thing (and they shouldn’t – it’s a waste of money) but between games, how fun would it e to see a quick skills challenge between a couple popular players? Even better, if the young guys aren’t tired from playing, put them through the ringer. I can’t speak for all Dream Teamers, but I’d love to see these guys prove themselves.
The Fun Stuff
Put those popular players to use – people who aren’t Dream Team Fans will come for this stuff. Have popular players be signing autographs, hosting workshops, doing fun stuff (like running the concession stand). Get Dane Swan to run the merch stand that sells these stubbie holders. I have never heard of a better idea.
Put those non-play workers to use – I can about 50 people (off the top of my head) who would attend a mini-workshop (I’m thinking 30 minutes) on what an AFL player does on a normal day, in terms of workout. Now, that may be confidential information, but honestly – people would pay to go to those things and what are the trainers doing when their team isn’t playing?
Get family friendly – most clubs nowadays are targeting families (Freo, GWS are two obvious examples) and the AFL should follow that lead. Make sure there is fun stuff for kids and you’ve got gold. Photo ops with team mascots, mini-skills challenges, and, the worldwide winner: a bounce house. Kids won’t be able to say no and therefore, their parents can’t, either.
Get the DT Talk guys. GENIUS. Dream Team is a serious business and you want people who can speak to that at Dream Team Weekend, don’t you?
The Business Stuff
Sponsorship activation – not only can you get someone to sponsor the event, but this is a perfect opportunity for the league and it’s teams to get their sponsors some more exposure. Let them set up booths and create opportunities for people to try out their product. No one can say no to that.
Two weeks from the start of the season, after everyone has had a big Dream Team Weekend, each team hosts a launch party. I’m not talking about these formal affairs and I don’t necessarily mean something family friendly. I mean something where people can have a drink, have a dance, and mingle with the players, staff, etc. I’m envisioning a middle school dance, but with better lighting and at a bar because we have to admit that most of Australia’s sports watchers are also beer drinkers. Get the players to perform some karaoke song. Get a raffle going. Help a charity. Reveal your theme for the season. Just do something big that let’s people get behind the club before the season starts. Like this one, or this one, or this one. Get inspired.
You then have two weeks before the season starts.
C’mon, you’d go to those events, right? I am going to create a sample schedule and write a few posts that include more detail about what I’ve said here – is anyone interested in that?
Okay, now even though no one responds to me when I ask questions (as my boyfriend sadly pointed out) I will ask anyway: what do you think? Would you go to this?
In my first post of this series (which is looking quite long, might I add) I said that although the salary cap is instituted to ensure talent is evenly disbursed, clubs with more money are able to invest more in their players which results in improved on-field performance. You agreed with me and I told you I would give you an example. So here it is (and no one guessed correctly, by the way): Fremantle.
We’ll look at Fremantle’s record. Since 1995, they have only finished in the top eight on four occasions (’03, ’06, ’10, ’12). If the league was truly competitively balanced, and if the salary cap was the end-all-be-all of fair play, then would have finished in the top eight at least nine times, and won at least one premiership.
Interesting fact: the year following their highest (ever) finishing position of 3 (out of 16) in 2006, membership increased by nearly 22%. Considering clubs main source of revenue is membership fees, that’s quite the incentive to perform well, no?
Several years ago, the club was in debt and not performing very well their average finishing position before their first top four win was 11. In recent years, it’s membership has increased, and as a result, so has their revenue.. Fremantle’s average finishing position since that membership boost is 10. While it’s not a massive difference, it illustrates that an increase in revenue does improve on-field performance. (NOTE: These averages were not adjusted to accommodate the increase in number of club in the competition. With that adjustment, the improvement would likely be higher).
Fremantle is also one of the clubs in the AFL that is actually earning money, which is much rarer than it people think. After operating at a loss for many years, it is now one of the more financially successful clubs in the league boasting a profit of $375,000 for the 2012 season. Not surprisingly, Freo’s solvency is correlated with an improvement in on-field performance. Meaning: the more money the earn, the better they do on the field.
And now that Fremantle is financially viable and no longer in debt? They are improving their facilities. Smart guys. Because they, like me, know that better facilities give you a better team. Any questions?
NOTE: All top eight finishes also come after Pavlich was drafted, but that’s really a conversation for another day.
As of late, I have been getting into disagreements with Australian men (who shall remain nameless because I think they should be embarrassed) about the value of money in sport, particularly in the AFL. They keep saying, and I agree, that it’s not all about the money. The beauty of Australian sport is that it’s primary concern is not to be a money-making machine. Officials and fans care more about the quality and integrity of the game. People are anti-free agency and the idea that players would use performance enhancers is unthinkable because Australia believes that their sports are above that. That’s great.
But here’s what I say: how can you expect to have a quality league when the league has no money?
A club that cares more about quality than quantity cares, mainly, about one thing: winning. Therefore, a league that cares more about quality than quantity should care about one thing (in theory): competitive balance. A easy definition of competitive balance (in case you’re new here) is this: the situation in which no one business of a group of competing businesses has an unfair advantage over the others. That means that every game, every year, every team has the same chance to win. There are many different tools used to maintain competitive balance, the most prominent in the AFL being the draw, salary cap, and reverse order draft. Now I’ve written about the draw and how I think it should be organized to maximize opportunities for every team. And frankly, that has nothing to do with money, so I’ll ignore it for this post. Since I’m talking about money and how it’s essential to creating and maintaining a quality league, I’ll focus on the other two things that are associated with money.
The argument: It doesn’t matter if a team has money. The salary cap makes sure that the talent is evenly distributed.
The salary cap was implemented to make sure that clubs couldn’t buy wins and on many levels, it has worked. There is little sustained evidence to show that the more clubs spend on total player payments (TPP), the more likely they are to win. At least, in the US. TPP in Australia is very hush-hush so while the league may issue a release saying there are rich players, salaries are largely kept under wraps.