Where should the A-Leagues expand next?
Now that the ink has dried on a $ 140 million private equity deal for the A-Leagues with U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake, attention has shifted to how to spend the money.
The A-Leagues (ruled by the PLA) to receive just $ 134 million, with the FA to receive a $ 6 million (five percent) share as part of the independence deal negotiated last year .
The APL will target high profile players, a stronger digital strategy, community programs and youth football as part of their investment program.
The expansion is also seen as another top investment. The APL has already pledged to develop women’s A-League competition with Western United and Central Coast for 2022-2023, following the admission of Wellington Phoenix this season.
Macarthur FC have also indicated that they will have a women’s squad by 2023-24. This will bring the women’s A-League competition to 13 teams, and for the first time, there may be more women’s teams than men’s.
However, there is also likely to be an expansion on the male front, and some interesting alternatives have been offered.
A Canberra team is a given and will likely be the next cab in the row. However, beyond a squad in the nation’s capital, there are serious plans to move beyond Australia to expand our top competition.
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has made no secret of his desire to settle in Asia. He privately indicated Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) as immediate opportunities for expansion.
Teams in Asia are increasing the potential for a bigger TV rights deal given the population of that continent, however, it’s hard to say if clubs there would really whet the appetites of Australian fans.
There are also calls for another Auckland-based New Zealand team to compete with Wellington Phoenix. The Auckland Football Kingz and New Zealand Knights were once part of the NSL and A-League. However, both teams fell back and there has not been a presence in Auckland for the A-League since 2007.
With New Zealand now likely to feature in every World Cup once it expands to 48 teams in 2026, there will be a lot more money available for New Zealand football. This could mean more investment in any new club in New Zealand.
Auckland City is a powerhouse in the existing New Zealand soccer league. Since their formation in 2004, they have won eight New Zealand Championships and nine Oceania Football Confederation titles. They have participated in the FIFA Club World Cup nine times, finishing third in 2014 in Morocco.
Staying in Australia, a second team from Brisbane is now a tremendous chance to enter, especially with the Redcliffe Dolphins now becoming an NRL expansion club and the Olympic Games coming to Brisbane in 2032.
While the rugby league is a rival code, with co-operation, there is no reason why a new A-League club cannot settle permanently in Redcliffe. The Brisbane Roars are here now, albeit temporarily.
The Dolphins have 11 acres which lie on the Redcliffe Peninsula jutting out into Moreton Bay, and are approximately 50 minutes north of Brisbane.
The Dolphins have an 11,500-seat stadium that the Roar currently uses. A second Brisbane team would likely move the Roar south, creating a real geographic divide and rivalry.
Another option is a team based in Ipswich, an area seeking funding for a 20,500-seat stadium that is linked to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games infrastructure project.
The potential stadium received a heavy blow last year when the Brisbane Jets missed the Dolphins on joining the NRL, however, a national sports team in the burgeoning growth area of ââthe West Corridor has potential. The Jets still have hopes of entering the NRL in the future.
The Ipswich CBD is getting a $ 150 million facelift, which, in addition to the $ 5 billion in transport and service infrastructure upgrades for the Brisbane West Corridor region, means a brand new club in the A -League will be part of a flourishing landscape.
Other options are a second team in Perth and a new club in Hobart, while Townsville and Gold Coast are also seen as potential points for the A-Leagues to review.
There are rumors that two Perth NPL clubs are joining forces to bid for a new Perth-based A-League club. Glory have indicated in the past that they agree with a rival which could bring Western Australia football to life.
Queensland clubs NPL, Gold Coast United and Gold Coast Knights, have apparently had discussions proposing a joint bid for a new A-League license.
The Wollongong Wolves made noise to join the A-Leagues but kept their cards relatively close to their chest. Wolves may not be ready to join the A-League with hard-to-find corporate support and dramas with local governing body Football South Coast likely to make it difficult for a candidacy in the region to trust the community. soccer.
Many believe that a National Second Division (NSD) is a better option ahead of A-League expansion, but that’s the domain of the FA, not the PLA. There is of course a link, with any future promotion and relegation that requires the FA and the PLA to work hand in hand.
A report commissioned by the Australian Association of Football Clubs (AAFC) last year estimated the cost for a club to compete in second tier competition would be $ 2.5 million per year. This figure is considered unrealistic, the PFA (players’ union) estimating that it would cost more than 5.4 million dollars, in a “White Paper” published in June 2019.
A number of potential NSD clubs have indicated that the PFA figure is unattainable. With the NSD now on offer to start next year, surprisingly a number of potential clubs claim they don’t know what a second tier will look like and the cost of participating.
This is astounding considering that the proposed competition was drafted last July for January to May of this year, but there has been no word from the AAC other than to claim that a ‘final report’ will be sent. at the FA later this month.
Having $ 140 million to play is a lot of money, but expansion is surely the best bet.