There has been a lot of press this week about the A-League grand final being played at Melbourne’s 30,050 seat AAMI Park as opposed to the 53,355 seat capacity Etihad Stadium.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) would prefer the game to be played at Etihad but the AFL’s deal with the stadium meant it had already booked it out for the Western Bulldogs v Fremantle game. This shows that the AFL is still the main game in town.
Aside from the debate over the location for the grand final, it is interesting to see that despite the A-League’s increasing popularity, the grand final won’t have ABC Local Radio coverage in Melbourne or Sydney. In both markets the game is being broadcast on ABC NewsRadio.
In Sydney, the NRL is being broadcast on ABC Local Radio at the time of the A-league grand final, while the AFL is on ABC Local Radio in Melbourne. This shows that while soccer has grown in popularity and crowds are strong (at least for some matches), the A-League is still a second tier sports product for the national broadcaster, given the ABC’s deals with the AFL and NRL see weekly round matches get Local Radio coverage while on the other hand the A-League grand final is only on NewsRadio and online in the markets where the teams playing are from.
If the A-League season finished earlier (it is running late this year due to the Asian Cup being held here), local radio coverage on the ABC in the two keys markets may have eventuated. However, while the two winter football codes are on and remain bigger than the soccer, the soccer will face a situation where its grand final will not receive ABC Local Radio coverage in Melbourne or Sydney.
On TV there will be live match coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 3.00pm (AEST) and delayed coverage on SBS HD & SBS One from 4.00pm (AEST).