No end to football’s inner turmoil despite FFA's broadcast deal

At the same time, there is cause for angst and fury that the game, not flush with cash, has agreed to the haemorrhaging of 44% of next year’s broadcast revenue and the loss of the guarantee of a further m for the following two seasons during the least favourable economic conditions in living memory. The window of supposed clear summer air has long since been occupied by the Big Bash League and more recently by AFLW, offerings that quickly garnered much greater buy-in by free-to-air TV channels and popular mastheads. Moreover, it is inconceivable to see the tide turning if the game at the highest level continues on its current path, all too often an anodyne made-for-TV schedule filler lacking narrative or jeopardy. “We’ve got to get our act together, the clubs have to invest, and we have to be hungry,” FFA CEO James Johnson told SBS. “We have to give the owners a vision and they have to buy into that.” Whatever the mechanisms may be, from a second division to FFA TV, there has to be a forthright football-first attitude driving the decision making. That requires appropriately sized venues, flexible ticketing, knowledgeable stewarding and policing, and, most challengingly, a collectiveapproach to supporter behaviour that encourages the febrile to flourish, without that given inch being taken a mile. There are many competing answers to that question of course, but for thefirst time in the league’s history, the list need not be topped by one relating to the need to satisfy the requirements of a broadcaster in exchange for revenue.