Let’s face it, the A-League Men is back at square one

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The A-League Men is gradually becoming less popular as time goes by. While it may be a hard pill to swallow, it’s a truth that many die-hard football fans need to swallow.

Football has a long history in the image of Australian sports and has arguably consolidated itself as one of the most popular sports in the nation.

Despite this fact, the majority of A-League Men fans have to had to face the harsh reality that it has never resembled the popularity or attention that NRL and AFL receive.

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The creation of the A-League Men in 2005 was exciting. After Australia theatrically beat Uruguay to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, the league and the sport gained huge traction.

Fans increased, viewership boomed, and sponsors came knocking on the doors of teams.

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Football as a sport looked promising, and the potential was there for the A-League Men to be recognised as one of the most popular sporting leagues in Australia.

The days where football was nationally classified as a game for “sheilas, wogs and poofters” seemed to be fading.

Fast forward less than 16 years and we’re back at square one. Football is fading again.

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The decline of the A-League Men has been slow and steady, but is definitely apparent.

The start of the 2021/22 season displays the downfall.

Melbourne City’s first game attracted less than 7,500 fans despite being the defending champions.

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Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets in round one saw less than 7,000 people attend that fixture, and Macarthur vs Melbourne Victory in the same round attracted just over 1,000 people.

According to the SBS, last season’s A-League Men television ratings were down 29% than the previous season and the average crowd attendance of the 2020/21 campaign was 5,500 people.

In hopes of bringing some flare and change to the league, attempts were made in the form of creating new teams and relocating sides to better home stadiums.

However, this had an adverse effect and it’s no surprise that Newcastle Jets vs Western United in the 2020/21 season, recorded the league’s worst attendance figure in history with less than 1,000 people.

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Studies shows by The Conversation displays that A-League Men attendance has stagnated since 2014.

With the AFL and NRL competitions gaining more traction and fans as years go by, the A-League Men seems to be going backwards and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better anytime soon.

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Min-Gyu Shim
Bachelor of Journalism student at UQ, and a full time football fanatic. Covering Brisbane Roar for the 2020/21 season.

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