Audience growth and fan engagement for the A-League are seen as key components in driving commercial revenues with FFA Chairman Steven Lowy declared that more capital investment is necessary as the governing body aims to deliver the Whole of Football Plan, the game’s 20-year vision that was released in May 2015.
“The four-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.
“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.”
The initiatives outlined at the launch in Sydney on Tuesday by FFA CEO David Gallop 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.
In a more centralised approach than what has existed previously, FFA will invest an annual "seven-figure" sum into subsidising clubs' cost of signing high-profile international marquees. They hope to expand the pot to up to $10 million once a new broadcast deal is secured next year, which will help to fund a rebrand for the 2017-2018 season.
“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.
to read FFA Chairman Steven Lowy's Open Letter to the Football Family
FFA will continue to work at growing the game's participation rate while now improving the experience for all participants; players, coaches, referees, administrators and volunteers - with enhanced digital platforms essential.
While the World Cup qualification of the Socceroos and Matildas remains a priority the new strategy endeavours to continue the production of generations of successful teams - with the failure of the Olyroos to reach Rio 2016 a recent reminder of how important youth development is.
“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.
FFA Strategic Plan 2016-2019 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