The newly-independent A-League gets underway on October 11 but competition bosses have held fire on marketing the competition, so far, to avoid clashing with the AFL and NRL finals.
Fearing their promotions would be lost amid their rival codes’ biggest games of the year, an official launch won’t be held until the week of the first round of fixtures which start on October 11.
With the NRL season stretched a week longer this year due to a mid-season representative weekend, pushing the grand final back to October 6, A-League marketers are left with just a few days for pre-season promotion.
The lack of noise has drawn criticism from fans on social media but Professional Footballers Australia chief executive John Didulica can see the logic behind the approach.
“Eyeballs can get attracted to other codes’ finals series at this time of the year,” Didulica said.
“Whether it works out, we’ll all be experts in hindsight but I think it’s certainly worth considering that approach to promoting the league.
“What we need is a launch then that befits the aspirations that we have for the league.
“We certainly don’t want something that underplays the quality of players that we’ll have in the competition this season.
“And we certainly want to make sure that the fans sense the ambition that the owners will now have for the competition and their clubs now that they have the control they’ve been fighting for for so many years.”
The 2019-20 A-League season will be the first since the FFA began the process of relinquishing control of the competition to its member clubs.
It’s a similar transition to that which occurred in England in 1992 when the Premier League formed as a separate entity within the English’s FA’s football pyramid.
It is understood that the clubs have already sought advice from those who helped establish the English money-making behemoth including former Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore.
Didulica said the addition of expansion club Western United this season, long-term plans to establish a national second division and Western Sydney Wanderers moving into Bankwest Stadium were all exciting developments.
“There’s so much goodwill across each of the groups to make it work but equally we also need to hold each other accountable to make sure we’re making the right decisions,” Didulica said.
“That’s our role in this, to make sure that we’re continually vigilant, making sure that we’re challenging the clubs. Making sure that we’re fighting to make the best possible decisions.
“So far there’s no suggestion that the clubs don’t have an expansive view to where they see the league heading. That’s encouraging.”