What does the Wellington Phoenix bring to the A-League?

Posted on March 14, 2015 by Smithy

It's said that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Michael Lynch does his best to prove just that in a tired old piece of clickbait masquerading as serious journalism.

In it he asks, with a straight face it would seem, what the Phoenix bring to the A-League and why the FFA should continue to include them.

It's a question that's been asked before, of course. Not just about the Phoenix, but also the Kingz, the Knights and (in rugby league) the Warriors.

The answers are fairly straightforward. 

Crowds. The ever-echoing critcism of Wellington's crowds is ill-informed and misguided. The Phoenix box about their weight. And if not Wellington, then where? Take the 8,000 loyal Phoenix fans out of the mix, and where are you going to replace them from? Waggawagga? Gold Coast (that worked out well)? Darwin? Australia is hardly overflowing with major metropolitan areas with an appetite for football.

Owners. Compare the Welnix LLP group with Clive Palmer, or Nathan Tinkler, and just take stock of that contrast. Terry Serepisos (may his memory rest in peace) was a generous and enthusiastic owner, and his successors are steady and committed. The FFA can only dream of more ownership groups like Wellington's.

Credibility. Sure, the Nix have propped up the table the last two seasons. But apart from that we've done better than okay. We've weathered tough seasons both financially and in terms of crowds, something that other weaker (failed) franchises have been unable to do.

Potential. Apart from being successful as is where is, the Phoenix offer a foothold in the number three market for football in Australasia (Sydney, Melbourne, New Zealand). It's a tough nut to crack, but the evidence would suggest that the FFA want to keep nibbling away at it. For over 15 years the FFA and its predecessors have chipped away at New Zealand. Why would they give up now.

The truth is that (ironically) Lynch has fallen for exactly the sort of trolling he has authored. The FFA's vague threats to not renew the Phoenix's license are nothing more than a bit of baiting. A shakedown of Sky and New Zealand Football. Frank Lowy wants to hold the game in New Zealand by the ankles to see if any more money will fall out. 

He might get some joy. The Phoenix are certainly good for New Zealand Football (who want to hang part of their latest elite-player-pathway-nonsense around the Phoenix) and yet they contribute nothing to the pot. Sky keep losing not only content, but hearts and minds. Their bet-the-house-on-rugby strategy is finally starting to fail. They could well be convinced to part with more than the paltry current sum to keep A-League football on their air. 

But Lynch is barking up the wrong tree if he really thinks the Phoenix are at risk. The A-League does actually need the Phoenix just as much as the Phoenix need the league.

Guy Smith is an unqualified but outspoken football enthusiast. You can reach him at [email protected] or @gsmithnz

Comments

Stage Punch
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Starting XI
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Great article, I think all these articles are coming out because they are worried about how the Nix are doing as well as the fact that the license is up in the air and no clear message has come from FFA. It's been proven each time they don't actually look into the numbers, (crouds, TV ratings) and just go with the same old argument.

You can see on Twitter, more and more people agree that the Nixs should be in the league, but you are always going to have the people who are just naturally against a NZ team in an Australian league and have been since day 1.

bwtcf
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Marquee
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Why does Lynch see it as a choice between The Nix OR a tenth Australian side?

Why can't you imagine a world in which the Nix exist AND a tenth (and even an 11th) Australian side exist.

The FFA want to expand the league.

So why would you want to get rid of a finiancially sound team, at the top of the table, with home crouds in excess of some existing Australian clubs, and that is without the benefit of their crouds being boosted by local derbies and intra-state away crouds like the NSW clubs enjoy? 

And why would you piss away a market of 4.5 million extra people in an either/or choice when it clearly isn't about either/or?

Tegal
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Head Sleuth
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I have been a bit of a broken record on this lately but the whole thing about us not rating well on TV is also a myth. 

Fox viewership: 

CCM 57k

Jets 54k

Nix 52k (bearing in mind most nix fans arent with fox)

Percentage of subscribers who watch A league every weekend:

Fox 2.76%

Sky 2.08%

It's purely about trying to shake more money out of Sky/NZF/nix - as Smithy said in the above blog. 

Cock
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It's an interesting blog.

Objectively when you look at people posting here, it seems a few get the main thrust that this is about squeezing more cash out of NZ. The masses outside of this site don't see it this way, or, should I say, talk about it in public in this way.

Is there cash there though? If NZF invest in this at the expense of other items, and I guess top of the list is the rubbish that masquerades as a national league some weeks, they are going to cop it in the you-know-what and I would expect the 248 crew to be here enmasse spouting about it. John Fellet... er Sky, has showing he is too fudgeing thick to do his job and has largely sat on his chuff banking rugby money that the paying public have forked over blindly (in part because the fan experience is a bit shark) so what gives us hope that Fellet is going to pay more for something where he knows he does not have to because of lack of competition. As Tegal types, 2%... Not a compelling number and he has shown he is not smart enough to keep up with what is going on now regarding new platform.

The kicker is if the Phoenix make the final or win it. It's going to be a poor look for the FFA if they punt the Phoenix because they can't get any more money out of NZ. It makes their bargaining position weaker so I guess in a lot of respects, if the Phoenix do well, they can't punt them so Sky know they don't need to pay. If the Phoenix are crap, no one watches so they don't need to pay. I can't see how the FFA get more money out of Sky.

First Team Squad
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bwtcf wrote:

Why does Lynch see it as a choice between The Nix OR a tenth Australian side?

Why can't you imagine a world in which the Nix exist AND a tenth (and even an 11th) Australian side exist.

The FFA want to expand the league.

So why would you want to get rid of a finiancially sound team, at the top of the table, with home crouds in excess of some existing Australian clubs, and that is without the benefit of their crouds being boosted by local derbies and intra-state away crouds like the NSW clubs enjoy? 

And why would you piss away a market of 4.5 million extra people in an either/or choice when it clearly isn't about either/or?

This is the best argument.

You can talk about all the players we have brought to the league: Ifill, Bonevacia, Smeltz, Rojas and Barbarouses.

You can talk about opening up the New Zealand market. 

I think those things are true but I don't think they are why we should be in the league.

The Phoenix should be in the A-League because we are a financially stable club and we get big enough crouds to be competitive on the field. The people who want to get rid of us say that the NZ tv ratings are low. What they don't understand is that the Phoenix actually add to the Australian football rankings. If the Phoenix weren't there it would be a 9 team league, there would be one less game per week and broadcasters would pay less money for the competition. 

There just aren't that many places lining up to replace us. People talk about 2nd Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide teams but than again 2nd Melbourne can't even pull crouds. Then you are down to regional areas. The FFA should be aiming for a 12 team league. I can't see them finding 3 places in Australia who can sustain teams. 

The Phoenix add as much to the league as a team like Central Coast.

Tegal
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I don't think 2% is that terrible a number. It's on par with how many watch on fox sports (relatively speaking). 

The difference is, fox pay $40millon per season (that figure includes Socceroos and Asian cup mind you), sky pay $300k (unsure if included Asian cup - doubt it). 

Fox have 3 times the subscribers as sky. So if the % of subscribers watching the A league are the same, sky should be paying 3 times less. That is $13.3million. A discrepancy of $13million. That is getting most of the games filmed for them as well. In my opinion this shows just how much the monopoly sky has over on site broadcasting is worth to them. 

It also shows that sky don't value (possibly correctly so) games other than the nix at all. This only furthers Smithys argument that this isn't the nix/NZFs problem at all. 

What people fail to add into their equations is what the nix contribute to that $40million the FFA receive from fox per season. Based on tv ratings I have worked out that we contribute $3.02million of the value of that. Add $300k from sky and we bring more value ($3.32M) to the FFA than both the jets ($3.18M) and mariners ($3.28M). So once again, this is nothing to do with tv ratings, or the value of the phoenix to the league. It is purely a mafia style shake down by the FFA to try and get some extra coin. 

Legend
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Gorgeous football.

Individual brilliance.

Trails of destruction.

Caressing of balls.

Boom! (times lots)

Tegal
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he clearly did his research before publicising those comments.....not...

Starting XI
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Andy Harper is not very clever. Just provocative theories in pseudo smart talk. 'My own personal opinion', sure it's you own opinion that's why I don't care.

Early retirement
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By 'my own personal opinion' he means 'what de Bohun told me to say'.

Marquee
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FFA also desperately want FTA (free to air) deal. It would be great if expat kiwis in the land of oz supported Phoenix in greater numbers - viewership numbers, at games, merchandise, mini membership etc. Some may come on board the Stripey bandwagon this season but this is a much longer term issue for the club.
Chant Savant
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Dont fudgeing start me on that cod Andy sharkcod Harper...

Fudgeing hate him!

Twit!

Marquee
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Global Game wrote:
FFA also desperately want FTA (free to air) deal. It would be great if expat kiwis in the land of oz supported Phoenix in greater numbers - viewership numbers, at games, merchandise, mini membership etc. Some may come on board the Stripey bandwagon this season but this is a much longer term issue for the club.
Sounds like they're getting closer to getting that deal: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/soccer/channel-seven-confirms-interest-in-broadcasting-aleague-and-socceroos-20150318-1m21ak.html

By all accounts, Channel 7's coverage of the T20 cricket a few months ago was great too.
:

Marquee
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Global Game wrote:
FFA also desperately want FTA (free to air) deal. It would be great if expat kiwis in the land of oz supported Phoenix in greater numbers - viewership numbers, at games, merchandise, mini membership etc. Some may come on board the Stripey bandwagon this season but this is a much longer term issue for the club.
Sounds like they're getting closer to getting that deal: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/soccer/channel-seven-confirms-interest-in-broadcasting-aleague-and-socceroos-20150318-1m21ak.html

By all accounts, Channel 7's coverage of the T20 cricket a few months ago was great too.
:

SBS threaten to pull football

And now this...SBS saying if you don't want us, we don't want you! Though, knowing SBS charter there could be other machinations at work.

Surge
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Can I have some lungs please miss
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It's all posturing - the same stuff happened with NRL/AFL rights.

Marquee
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Yup, correct. And now Ten network have weighed in too. Bidding war amongst FTA networks is Gallop's dream.
Chant Savant
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We've seen this before.

Seven had the rights to the NSL and Socceroos matches and basically buried it alive so that it wouldnt affect their coverage of the AFL. Showed major Socceroos games live with ads at regular intervals during matches and only had a 1 hour highlights package of NSL which they aired at 10:30pm on a monday night.

And they will do exactly the same again if they get the chance!

Fudgeing disgrace!

Life and death
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Amongst all of this..... I heard Dome say something about the Nix looking at ways to increase the revenue from (Sky) coverage. If that is the case, why? Unless AFA are putting some pressure on.

Budgie lover
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Amongst all of this..... I heard Dome say something about the Nix looking at ways to increase the revenue from (Sky) coverage. If that is the case, why? Unless AFA are putting some pressure on.

Source?

I've heard Domey talk about increasing crouds (which makes sense as that is direct revenue) but wasn't aware at all of Nix getting a cut of the TV revenue. 

Life and death
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It was in his interview with Veitch straight after the interview with Harper. It wasnt about getting more money for the Nix, it was about the Nix helping to get more for the AFA. I thought it funny given what Harper had said about us not contributing commercially. Can someone find the clip? It was near the start of the interview as I didn't hear the end

Stage Punch
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liberty_nz wrote:

Amongst all of this..... I heard Dome say something about the Nix looking at ways to increase the revenue from (Sky) coverage. If that is the case, why? Unless AFA are putting some pressure on.

Source?

I've heard Domey talk about increasing crouds (which makes sense as that is direct revenue) but wasn't aware at all of Nix getting a cut of the TV revenue. 

 

This was discussed on Domey's last appearance on In The Zone. 

The motivation is to help the FFA drive value out of the rights, which is a hurdle to our licence extension. What's good for them is good for us in this case.

Early retirement
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Basically the Phoenix are being pushed to cover for the FFA's incompetence.

Cock
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Right I see. So if the Phoenix (and I guess all other interested parties like OFC, NZF, FFA and AFC) help pressure Sky to pay more for the rights, then the more likely it is for extension although not necessarily mutually related?

Life and death
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Blackmail, I think it's called.

Urban dictionary defines as: Blackmail refers to a situation that arises when a person threatens another person with some form of punishment if they do not offer some form of concessions.

Marquee
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Rob Morrison said on the Radio that they had nothing to do with previous negotiations, but are going to be involved from now on.

Starting XI
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For some people it is all about $$. Questioning that the Phoenix does not belong to the A-League is just wrong. Kiwi teams where always part of it and they took their share to make the competition better. Questioning the nix in Aussie competition and constantly rephrasing it by FOX journos is the cheapest way to create hate and is a simple strategy. The normal TV viewer thinks 'yes why are they in Aussie competition?'. Don't get me started on FOX and specialRupert Murdoch. These is not just some old guy doing TV, FOX using their power for all kind of politics and misinformation, destroy lives and represent the opposite of good journalism. The fish stinks from the head. And Andy Harper with 'own opinion' is part of it. Now I'm getting angry! I should go back to illegal streaming ;-)

The FFA is not helping at all, after the McGlinchey saga, this ist the next endless story. FFA extend the licence, and then take care how to make money with it afterwards, first you need a product to sell. It is not the FOXSKY - League.

The best thing would if we win the title AND the grand final, to get them really pissed. FFA have to send the second best team to the asian cup and if they kick us out, we always can say where where to good for them. Either way, total humiliation.

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Marquee
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