Sunday, February 5, 2012

What the FFA can learn from the Superbowl

By Paul Frederickson

As I watch a hilarious commercial for a new Sacha Cohen Baron movie in the first break of this year's Superbowl I can't help but think that the FFA have a free seminar on how to build our national league and the season ending grand final.

The NFL has two conference with internal divisions. The winners of each conference plays off in what we would consider the Grand Final, the Superbowl. With the distance and cost of travel for A-League teams the concept should be investigated by the FFA. Each team could play the teams in their own conference twice and then teams from outside of their conference once, thus saving the teams money as well as keeping the players fresh with less travel fatigue endured.

The NFL regular season coverage is split between different free-to-air stations and pay television providers depending on where the games are played. The Superbowl on the other hand is exclusive to free-to-air. This allows for the premier event on the NFL calendar to be seen by as many people as possible. Not only has the Superbowl grown the national game it has become an international game. This has brought unprecedented revenue to the NFL and their franchises. With the huge potential Asian audience for the A-League as well as a growing domestic audience free-to-air coverage of at least the grand final is a must.

The huge audience for the Superbowl, estimated at over 105 million people, is a massive incentive for advertisers. It is estimated that an Superbowl advertisement can cost $25,000 per second and approximately $3 million dollars per advertising segment. Whilst the A-League could never expect such numbers, a bigger Asian audience will broaden the potential advertisers and revenue streams beyond what is domestically available.

The Superbowl moniker was conceived in 1966 and in a relatively short period has become the mega-event that it is today. Initially conceived as the competition between the initial NFL and rival AFL the hyperbole from coaching luminaries including Vince Lombardi has built the event. Traditionalists may believe that the Premier's Plate decides the best team of the season but the Australian public lauds Grand Final winners. We should play the final game on a Saturday night with both contesting teams having a week off to allow for injuries to heal, players to freshen up and for the build up to encourage media participation and anticipation.

The A-League grand final may never meet the heights of the Superbowl but that is not to say that we shouldn't aim for the same high standards.

What are your thoughts on what the FFA can learn from the NFL?