Five reasons why New Zealand needs a second A-League Men’s club

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Sports leagues around the world are growing rapidly, with expansion talks hitting the A-League Men too. Two new clubs could be added as early as next season, with cities making bids right now.

Canberra and Wollongong are front-runners, but one place is being criminally left out, Auckland. It makes perfect sense to have a second club across the Tasman and here are five reasons why.

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1. It would create a fierce rivalry

One of the best things about football is the rivalries. It creates hype, something that the A-League Men could use to its advantage.

The league has some already, but this Kiwi derby between Wellington Phoenix and an Auckland side would make for must-see viewing.

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New Zealanders that don’t care for football will start watching, with supremacy between Auckland and Wellington at stake. Who wouldn’t want to see it?

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2. Auckland the largest population base without an A-League Men club

It is crazy that Auckland doesn’t already have a club in the A-League Men, with it having a population of over 1.6 million people. To put this into perspective, expansion front-runners Canberra’s population is just 450,000 and Wollongong’s is only 290,000.

The ALM is missing out on a major market that could bring a high amount of revenue.

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It may not just be Aucklanders that get on board, with surrounding towns and cities possibly hoping on the bandwagon. The Auckland and New Zealand market needs to be tapped into more by the A-League Men and a second club will allow this.

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3. Eden Park’s superior crowd numbers

In seven Phoenix games at Eden Park, the crowd attendance average is 13,800. In two games this season, the Phoenix have only averaged 7,500 at Sky Stadium.

People may say it is a small sample size, which it is, however it is proven that Aucklanders will attend A-League Men matches.

In 2019, 23,648 people attended Wellington Phoenix vs.

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Melbourne Victory at Eden Park. There is an obvious hunger for an ALM club in Auckland.

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4. The team would help grow football in New Zealand

Football in New Zealand is a popular sport, with 20,000 playing it at high school. But that still means it is only ranked fifth in popularity.

To contend with the likes of rugby, cricket and basketball, there needs to be more representation of Kiwis playing football in an elite league. Many New Zealanders follow the English Premier League, where they support a team, but a lot don’t watch the A-League Men because their only choice is the Phoenix.

Adding a team in Auckland will allow for people to get excited and play more football in New Zealand.

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5. A perfect pitstop for Aussie clubs

An issue that has surrounded the Phoenix and other New Zealand teams in Australian leagues is the travel. Teams struggle to get adjusted to the time difference and climate after a long flight and then only get a couple of days in New Zealand to prepare.

Having another club across the Tasman would allow Aussie clubs to have a week or two in New Zealand, where they play both Kiwi teams on one trip. This would majorly help Australian teams adjust to travel issues.

Feature Image Credit: Cameron McIntosh

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Joshua Dean
Joshua Dean
Aspiring sports journalist! I love sports and enjoy writing, so added my two hobbies together! Studying Journalism at Massey University, Wellington.

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