The reporting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup saw football treated as a mainstream sport for the first time in Australia. Reporting was balanced and many negative stories were ignored when they could have been highlighted.
Still, I doubt the World Cup converted many to the A-League cause.
However it has helped the A-League be accepted as a reasonable domestic competition, given how many players came from the A-League.
Before the A-League’s inaugural season, Les Murray asked Frank Lowy what he hoped to achieve. Frank said he want to develop a national domestic competition accepted as a mainstream Australian sport along with league, union and AFL.
This World Cup has added creditability and acceptance to football in Australia it has never had before, hopefully assisting in the perception of the A-League as a mainstream competition of worth.
To quote Martin Flanagan, a rusted-on AFL journalist, “The sense of drama that imbues a World Cup final comes precisely from the fact that it is a world title. It’s a distinction, a sense of honour, that boxing shared in the days when there were undisputed world champions.”
Clearly people outside football in Australia understand the game’s size and this is an impressive achievement.
I don’t expect crowds to double or ratings to soar, but I do expect a steady growth in both. Furthermore I expect better media coverage in both quantity and far less negative articles. My understanding is David Gallop invited the who’s who of the Australian media to Brazil and it blew them away. This will ensure better coverage.