FFA CEO David Gallop says the 2016/17 Hyundai A-League season has started with a bang and is exceeding expectations on all fronts after a blockbuster opening two rounds.
Almost 200,000 fans have turned up to watch the opening two rounds of the league – which included a record attendance of 61,880 for the round one Sydney Derby at ANZ Stadium.
Overall, crowds are up 33% with an impressive 20,000 average through the turnstiles after the opening two rounds.
And TV ratings are up an impressive 44% compared to the same time last season up to 120,000 viewers.
Club memberships have spiked too, up 6% with 100,000 members now signed up and following a team in the A-League with a membership.
Fans have been treated to an avalanche of goals with 18 in Round 2 and 15 in the opening round to total 33, which is up by five goals on the same time last year.
Included in those goals was an outrageous strike by Melbourne City marquee man Tim Cahill in Saturday’s Melbourne Derby, in front of over 43,000 fans, including Gallop who watched the match alongside Caltex Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.
Little wonder Gallop was wearing a big smile on Monday as he addressed reporters.
“Our headline act [Tim Cahill], well he produced a headline,” Gallop said when asked about Cahill’s incredible long-range goal, which has since gone viral.
“The guy’s got so much talent and obviously we’re delighted that the decisions we took with him and Melbourne City to come into the A-League have paid off with a wonderful goal and a wonderful night at the Melbourne Derby.”
The FFA CEO also revealed what Postecoglou said to him after the Cahill goal hit the net. “Ange said, ‘He’s a freak. I knew he’d do something’.”
Gallop added that across the league the entertainment value of the competition has gone through the roof.
“We’ve got more goals at this point than we’ve seen before and right across the league clubs must be excited about what’s ahead.
“Crowds are up 33% our ratings are up 44% from this time of the year.
“Obviously it’s early days and we have months of football to go, but the exciting thing is when you look across the competition, we’re seeing wonderful football being played. Australian players, imports and the headline act getting a wonderful goal. There’s a lot to look forward to.”
Gallop added football as a sport was also booming.
“The future of the game is that it’s going to get bigger and bigger,” he said.
“We know that it has a massive participation base, and we need to grow that into fans of our clubs and demonstrate to media companies that making that investment will not only pay dividends now but pay dividends into the future as this sport, the world game, gets bigger and bigger in Australia.”