Cost $ 2 million for A-League Women’s expansion

Fans are overwhelmed by the prospect of an expanded A-League Women’s (ALW) competition for 2022-23, with the club’s financial consequences becoming a major hurdle.

It is understood that bringing in a new women’s club costs an additional $ 2 million per season using the length of the current 14-round competition of the Australian Professional League (APL).

Adding the cost of broadcasting an additional ALW game to each round and the cost of the trip adds up to an additional number of clubs. If the competition has to go beyond 14 rounds, this number becomes even bigger.

All of this is eaten up by the APL dividends distributed to each club at the end of each season.

APL has confirmed that ViacomCBS will not provide additional broadcast revenue for additional ALW games. It has also been confirmed that Liberty will not contribute additional sponsorship dollars.

The net cost of $ 2 million for additional clubs per season is a major obstacle, including the wages of APL underwriting players through annual distributions to clubs.

APL CEO Danny Townsend makes it clear that any costs or net losses from the expansion are seen as an investment for the future, although this attitude should not be shared by other A-League clubs, most of which are privately owned.

Canberra United, which has only one ALW team, is the only club that is not privately owned and is managed by Capital Football.

It is unlikely that the Central Coast will come up for 2022-23, although it is not certain. The new ownership of the Mariners could dramatize late for the license.

Even Western United has not been officially ticked by Football Australia (FA), where the governing body of the game has made the final decision to expand the ALW in terms of the length of the club and the competition. The APL has confirmed that United were conceptually approved last year, but they are still working through formalities.

As the popularity of women’s football grows, especially with the success of Matildas, we have a lot of enthusiasm for increasing the competition of our main women but, as always, money will be a determining factor.

Australian players Sam Kerr (unclear) celebrates his first goal during the AFC Women's Asian Cup Group B match between the Philippines and Australia on January 24, 2022 at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai, India.  (Photo Thananuwat Srirasant / Getty Images)

(Photo Thananuwat Srirasant / Getty Images)

The numbers are getting better in terms of TV audiences, but apparently persuading ViacomCBS to pay more is not enough. Sadly, the crowds have dwindled since the previous season, with Covid being a factor, and several games have been moved to odd timeslots.

Channel Ten Bold averaged 22,000 TV viewers on Sunday afternoon – an improvement from 5,000 in Foxtel’s days. While rating statistics for Paramount are not disclosed, subscription numbers are usually the defining reason for measuring their performance.

Paramount’s subscription numbers have not yet been made public using the unique codes provided by A-League club members, although it is understood that this is far below the projected mark for 2021-22. The codes do not differentiate between men and women.

Failure to meet the target could result in a reduction of $ 32 million in annual TV dividends from ViacomCBS, although the actual value of any cash loss is kept in commercial confidence.

TV ratings for their Saturday night A-League Men’s (ALM) games for Channel Ten averaged over 80,000, excluding finals.

Perth Glory or Wellington Phoenix, who have spent most of their time playing at NSW, were not counted for an average of only 1320 for 2021-22, the crowd was lower than expected for ALW.

The struggles experienced by ALM this season have been a major concern, considering it generates the lion’s share of APL revenue.

The reality is that the men’s competition has helped fund most of the club’s women’s programs since the beginning. For Paramount with an ALM crowd average of 5595, low TV ratings and low subscription levels, there are concerns that some clubs may reduce costs. Only time will tell if this will affect the women’s programs in each club – although most clubs would hate to take such a step backwards.

Silver Lining is a 140 million equity investment from Silverlake, a large portion of which is expected to be invested next season.

ALW competitions should claim a fair share of their investment, especially until the 2023 World Cup.

As Australia and New Zealand host the World Cup, a strong argument should be made to bring in marquee female players to create expectations. This will require a significant amount of money, the best players can have decent deals in Europe or America. You have to write a big check to convince them to come to Australia and adjust.

Fan engagement is also an important practice, with a strong argument being made that ALW players should raise the minimum wage, give them more time to go to community clubs and schools.

More advertising is a no-brainer. To be fair though, Ten has done a decent job for most of last season.

Only time will tell what 2022-23 will be like, but it will be an exciting season, ending with the World Cup.

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