When Wellington Phoenix host Sydney FC on Saturday, February 23 in an A-League premiership clash at Campbelltown Sports Stadium it will be a nice little test of where we’re at in terms of the popularity of soccer in Macarthur and Liverpool.
It won’t provide all of the answers but there’s no doubt it will provide some clues to those who will run Macarthur South West Sydney FC when it enters the A-League in around 18 months.
Of course there have been several A-League competition and trials played at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in recent years, not to mention three Asian Champions League (ACL) matches by the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Attendances at those ACL matches would have disappointed both the Wanderers and local football supporters, but it has to be pointed out that the weather for those evening matches was not ideal for a ground that does not offer much in the way of protection from rain or cold winds.
This Phoenix home match, which council – to its credit – was successful in securing, will be another look at how a new look stadium may need to be like to attract more fans when the weather is on the inclement side.
The match will be a celebration of football in the area with many family friendly activities being activated throughout the stadium precinct.
A “Love Leumeah” activation will also take place in the Leumeah Shopping Centre, which will be a pop up music event with some small giveaways.
This will be an opportunity to promote the community engagement forums for our very own A-League team.
This pop up will be held prior to the match between 4pm and 6pm to capture football fans and the local community on their way to the stadium.
But for some people, especially those involved in the establishment of Macarthur South West Sydney FC, their eyes will be on the numbers.
As we know numbers don’t lie and in the end bums on seats it’s what it’s all about when it comes to any football code.
It’s not just a financial imperative; the bigger the crowd the better the quality of the game as players lift a little more when playing in front of a packed stadium.
These will be two out of town teams, indeed one will be out of country.
But there’s plenty of NZ expatriates here, both Kiwi and Maori, and hopefully the marketing for this game will be aimed at them – whether they’re football followers or not.
And to me this point will be crucial in marketing Macarthur South West Sydney FC when the time comes.
Marketing should be targeted more at non football fans to grow the market; if you just market to the true believers you’re not going to get any growth into the future.
You’ve also got to remember that not all true believers – be they soccer, league or AFL fans – attend games of their preferred code.
As for Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC, they have played twice this season, and it’s one win each so far.
Saturday, February 23 will be the chance for one of them to bag bragging rights.
Gates will open from 4.30pm for a 5.35pm kick-off; tickets from $7.50 for children and $15 for adults.