[Image: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images]
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has released its Strategic Plan for 2016-19 with a sharp focus on audience growth and fan engagement for the Hyundai A-League in order to drive commercial revenues.
Speaking at the launch of the strategy in Sydney, FFA Chairman Steven Lowy AM said football needs more capital to invest in the concepts at the heart of the Whole of Football Plan, the game’s 20-year vision released in May last year.
“The 4-year strategic plan represents a significant shift in emphasis towards our showcase competition, the Hyundai A-League,” Lowy said.
“This is primarily about broadcast rights and commercial partnerships, which are the economic foundation of football around the world.
“There is impatience from all levels of the game to do more, and do it quickly. That’s good. It’s healthy.
“It shows our game is brimming with enthusiasm and that there’s a hunger for success.
“The upcoming renegotiation of our broadcast arrangements will be critical to funding our four-year strategy, but some projects can’t wait until we wrap up that new deal.
“Today, we have announced initiatives that will kick off in the first year of the strategy, but we will not divert from our disciplined approach and our commitment to sustainability.”
— Football Australia (@FFA) March 8, 2016
The initiatives outlined at the launch by FFA CEO David Gallop AM include:
- A refresh of the A-League brand to connect more fans to the competition as viewers, members, ticket buyers and consumers of digital content.
- New investment in digital platforms to improve the experience of the 2 million grassroots participants and connect more of them to the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League.
- A new centralised approach to Marquee Player Recruitment to assist Hyundai A-League clubs in attracting top class international players, including Caltex Socceroos returning home.
- Incentives for football stakeholders at all levels to collaborate and align their programs to the game’s overall national objectives.
“Having the funds to invest in the Whole of Football Plan is fundamental, but so too is the unity of purpose that comes from all football’s stakeholders working together,” Gallop said.
FFA has reaffirmed that growth in participation will always be nurtured, but under the new Strategy the focus is to improve the experience for all participants; players, coaches, referees, administrators and volunteers.
“Our state and territory member federations, their zones and associations, and the 2,300 clubs across Australia do an outstanding job, but they need more support,” Gallop said.
“Digital touchpoints will be vital to achieve this goal and we are committed to investment in new platforms.”
Having the Caltex Socceroos and Westfield Matildas qualify for every World Cup remains a key priority, but the Strategy promotes a pipeline of talent so Australia will have generations of successful teams.
“Results at youth international level matter, but not as much as finding the next generation of stars to keep the Socceroos and Matildas at the forefront of Asian and world football,” Gallop said.
“The establishment of A-League academies and the integration of the Foxtel National Youth League teams in the Sony PS4 National Premier Leagues are great steps forward in this aim.”
FFA Strategic Plan 2016-19 has four pillars with key targets:
- Connect more fans with the A-League and W-League
- Improve the experience for all participants
- Build generations of successful National Teams
- Lead towards a unity of purpose