The National Rugby League has become a billion dollar business and Peter V’landis, chairman of the ARL Commission, has announced that there could be multiple magic rounds in the future, I ask myself, why?
Is there a need for a second or third weekend where eight games are played in one venue? Will it create the same festive atmosphere and cause huge crowds in other parts of Australia like Sydney, Melbourne or Perth?
In my view, it won’t.
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After another successful weekend in Brisbane, it’s clear that the idea works well at Suncorp Stadium and the old saying goes, “If it doesn’t break, don’t fix it.”
Queenslanders love their feet and will fill the stands, it is also an opportunity for interstate football fans to spend a weekend away with their family or their friends. Hotels are booked, bars are pumping and restaurants are bursting at the seams.
Let’s face it – it doesn’t happen in Sydney.
As a Sydney Sider, I don’t think we’ll fill the new football stadium for three days because, as we’ve proven time and time again, Harbor City sports fans refuse to attend big events – we’ve lost nine clubs to our liking and in some cases we’re lazy.
We would rather sit at home and watch it on TV because it is an attempt to enter the city or Sydney Olympic Park via public transport, we have better things than waiting in the carpark for an hour after a game and it is very expensive to take the family.
Interest rates are rising which is putting financial pressure on mortgage families and they cannot afford to spend $ 139 for a family pass in the magic round. Drop a bucket of chips and a drink for the kids, it becomes an expensive exercise for fans of a blue-collar game.
I agree with V’landys who insists that fans want comfort and a good experience, but at the same time it needs to be affordable.
I fully support the NSW government’s investment in the new SFS because Moore Park infrastructure needs an upgrade and I have no doubt that the bureaucrats will refund their money and then in full range including concerts with some ceremonies. Yes, the stadium will officially open in September when the Roosters will face South Sydney, but if you think it will acquire capacity on a weekly basis, you are making fun of yourself.
If you want to talk about “game experience” in NRL games, let’s talk about what the fans are getting and whether it’s really worth the money. Fans pay their entrance fees to see the footy, but they are often forced to sit on the stands. Shaking their thumbs to see the warmth of the referees, they get stuck listening to a ground announcer who pays for sponsor credit and a DJ stop. Blasting music via PA system – will you pay for that “game day experience”?
Fortunately some clubs are scheduling three grades at a venue, which is a throwback to the glorious day when you got there to see the rising stars and future superstars of the game – we need it even more. I often talk about the days when the late Bob Fulton sat in the broadcast box at Brookville Oval and told the ‘Bojo’ 2GB’s continuous call team, “Look at this fullback in the 20’s, he’s going to be the next big thing – Thing at Manly”. Tom Trobozevic.
It would be easy for sports administrators to be greedy and look at the financial benefits of hosting multiple magic rounds, but I thought you’d risk taking a highlight on the club calendar, when one of us should stick to Brisbane.
If the ARL Commission intends another magic round, take it to New Zealand where the league can use it as a tribute to the Kiwis who have been snatched away in the last three years due to the epidemic.
What we can do for the Warriors and their loyal supporters, who are firmly attached to their team while in Australia. Let’s not forget that the players and coaches used to stay away from home to continue the competition with 16 teams. They’re going back to Mount Smart Stadium later this year and I couldn’t think of a better place to play the Magic Round or Thanksgiving Round for Footy fans across the canyon.
Let me know your thoughts via an email on the WWOS radio show by clicking this link; https://form.jotform.co/70601482897867
Wide World of Sports Radio with Mark Levy and co-hosts Billy Slater (Monday), Paul Galen (Tuesday) and Brad Fitler (Wednesday) on 2GB 873am from 6pm AEDT.
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