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Why an Australian football Netflix series is needed

Netflix boast just under 200 million subscribers worldwide and have released several sports documentaries over the last few years. However, we are yet to see an Australian football Netflix series – an opportunity that should be taken advantage of.

There is a market for these types of documentaries as Netflix is not the only streaming service that features sport docuseries. Amazon Prime has produced also produced documentaries on Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

One of the most popular football docuseries has been Netflix’s Sunderland ‘Til I Die. The show which provided a behind the scenes view of the club was one of the most watched programs on Netflix in the UK during the week of the release of the second season.

Sunderland has received global recognition off the back of the popularity of the show.

Stewart Donald, owner and former chairman of Sunderland told ChronicleLive that there are lots of reasons why the documentary is good for the club.

“My initial thought with it was, there aren’t many football clubs that can have a global brand, but if you’ve got a Netflix documentary and it goes right, you can get that out to the world and maybe you might get a few people who come along and get emotionally involved in Sunderland who otherwise wouldn’t have,” he said.

“If our name goes out to 20 or 30 million people on Netflix, or however many it might be, that can only be good for the club.”

There are several possibilities for an Australian football docuseries. The show could follow a single A-League club’s season, in the same vein to the Sunderland or Manchester City programs.

Other documentaries have focused on a season of a series or championship as a whole. Netflix’s Formula 1 docuseries Drive to Survive involves several different teams and features a different storyline each episode.

One million households streamed Drive to Survive within the first 28 days of season two’s release according to research agency Digital-i.

An A-League version of this could cover the biggest storylines and moments of the season.

Documentaries have also focused on the national team of a sporing organisation such as Amazon Prime’s The Test which documents the Australian cricket team’s redemption following the ball tampering scandal in 2018.

A series that follows the qualification process of an Australian team for a FIFA World Cup would be a particularly interesting documentary series given the high stakes involved.

The exposure gained from an Australian football Netflix series could be a great opportunity to either introduce people to Australian football or reinvigorate their love for the game.

Drive to Survive has seen an increase an interest for the sport in the US, which is not a traditional market for Formula 1.

Earlier this year Renault Formula 1 Driver Daniel Ricciardo appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah where he discussed the impact that Drive to Survive has had in the US.

“I definitely feel F1 is becoming much more of a thing here in the States. Drive to Survive put it on the map,” he said.

“I spend a bit of time in the States, and up until a year ago, not really anyone would say ‘Hi’ to me – not in a bad way, but they wouldn’t recognise me for being an F1 driver.

“And now it’s all: ‘We saw you on Netflix, it was great, Drive to Survive.’ We wear helmets, so not many people can see our faces a lot of the time.

Given the younger demographic of streaming service users, a docuseries could create a new generation of fans for football in Australia. Depending on the success of the series, it could even inspire more young Australians to play the world game.

At an event for 188Bet in March 2020, F1’s Managing Director of Motorsport Ross Brawn, said that the Netflix series had seen positive impacts for the sport.

“What we’ve discovered is it’s been very appealing to the non race fan: in fact it turned them into race fans,” Brawn said.

“Some of the promoters in the past season have said they’ve definitely measured the increase in interest in F1 that has come from the Netflix series.

“And while Netflix in itself wasn’t for us a hugely profitable venture, in terms of giving greater coverage for F1, it’s been fantastic.

While Football Federation Australia, the A-League and its clubs would not be able to demand the millions of dollars that other clubs and organisations are paid for their participation in a documentary, it could provide a cash boost for the organisations.

Ryan Reynolds has partnered with fellow actor Rob McElhenney to purchase Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC, who compete in the fifth tier of English football, the National League.

Part of Reynolds and McElhenney’s takeover bid involves plans for a documentary series that follows the events of the team.

Bloomberg spoke to Ampere Analysis analyst Richard Broughton, who said that it would not be unreasonable for a streaming service to pay several hundred thousand pounds per hour for the broadcast rights to a show.

An Australian football Netflix series would be extremely beneficial for the sport in this country.

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Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

FFA to be renamed as ‘Football Australia’ following AGM

FFA will be known as ‘Football Australia’ following unanimous Congress support in the 17th Annual General Meeting.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) will be known as ‘Football Australia’ following unanimous Congress support in the 17th Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The backing came after a consultation process as part of the development of the XI Principles for the future of Australian football. 

The AGM was held via video conference on Wednesday afternoon (AEDT), alongside the release of FFA’s 2020 Annual Review.

FFA’s Members voted to re-elect Mr Chris Nikou to FFA’s Board of Directors, while Mr Stefan Kamasz was elected to the Board.

FFA Members also approved Football Coaches Australia’s (FCA) application to become a Provisional Member of the FFA Congress.

Following the AGM, Nikou was installed by his fellow Directors to the position of FFA Chair – a role he has fulfilled since November 2018.

“In extremely difficult circumstances, throughout 2020 as a Board, Management, and Staff, we have continued the important work of implementing the critical structural changes to our game that were agreed in 2018,” Nikou said.

“Our Board has been focused on taking the necessary steps to ensure the protection, enhancement, and continued growth of our game, whilst empowering FFA’s administration to chart a new path forward.

“Increased collaboration with the game’s stakeholders has seen the development of a range of initiatives that will underpin the game’s future development. Significantly, we are close to finalising the unbundling of the professional leagues from FFA. This development will mark a new era for the game in Australia.

“FFA’s commitment to working hand-in-hand with all of the game’s stakeholders to grow the game has never been stronger or more necessary.

“Finally, I would like to extend a warm welcome to new FFA Director Mr Stefan Kamasz, and look forward to his contributions to a Board which meets FFA’s ‘40/40/20’ gender representation principle and boasts a diversity of skills, expertise, and experience.”

FFA Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Johnson, said that FFA, through initiatives such as the XI Principles for the future of Australian football, has been able to establish a strong platform to launch the game into its future.

“Despite the challenges of the year, 2020 has witnessed many highlights for Australian football,” he said.

“Among the headline moments, we won the right to co-host the next FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 2023, saw both Men’s and Women’s teams qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and launched the XI Principles for the future of Australian football, a new strategic agenda and 15-year vision for the sport.

“It is clear that we have already begun to change Australian football, and we are very well placed to capitalise on the opportunities before us.

“2021 will provide the opportunity to build on the momentum we have generated this year, and shapes as a year of implementation as we focus on bringing the XI Principles to life.

“Today we took another significant step on this new journey we have embarked upon when the FFA Congress unanimously resolved to change the organisation’s name from Football Federation Australia to ‘Football Australia’.

“This new name – which we will transition to over the coming months – signifies a fresh and exciting start for the game under the new strategic agenda, and a return to the roots of football in Australia.

“I firmly believe that the opportunity for further change and positive transformation in Australian football burns brighter than ever, and with the foundations that we have set in 2020 there is much to be optimistic about.”

FFA’s 2020 Annual Review includes financial and strategic updates, as well as reviews of performances and events from Australia’s national teams and competitions throughout the year. You can find it here.

World-class speakers set for Australian Coaching Conference this weekend

The Australian Coaching Conference will take place this Saturday November 28, with a range of big-name football figures set to speak at the event.

Topping the list is legendary football coach Arsene Wenger who will present at the online conference alongside other notable speakers such as Mile Jedinak, Graham Arnold and Julie Foudy.

The event will be run by Football NSW, in conjunction with the FFA, Football Coaches Australia and a number of other Member Federations including Football Victoria, Football West, Northern NSW Football and Football South Australia.

Well-known football personalities Stephanie Brantz and Adam Peacock will co-host the conference this weekend.

“It is extremely pleasing to see that this conference has received such a positive response and that we will be going out to more than 1800 participants across the state, throughout the country and indeed around the world,” Football NSW Head of Football, Peter Hugg stated.

“More significantly, it is great that we have been able to explore various technology platforms that have come to the fore during the COVID19 pandemic, and introduce both online learning and a means by which we can upload content, both now for this weekend, but also for future reference over the next 12 months or so – I can only envisage that this will increase as we develop this concept more and more.

“I think the success of this weekend’s Conference demonstrates a certain ‘build it and they will come’ approach. That is, we have been fortunate to have some of the best football people in Australia and throughout the world present across a range of relevant key areas, and as we have packaged and priced the day accordingly, pleasingly the coaching fraternity have responded.” 

Hugg explained that with the calibre of names on show, the conference is set to be a must-see event.

“To think that we have names like Arsene Wenger, two former world champions in former US players, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain, national team coaches Graham Arnold and Tom Sermanni, former Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak, Matildas Heather Garriock and Lisa DeVanna, Xavier Closas from the FC Barcelona Futsal program, representatives from FIFA’s Technical Department, and many more…it’s just a quality line up and augers well for a great day.”

 

La Liga and University of Canberra sign agreement

The La Liga Business School and the University of Canberra will sign an agreement this week to work on educational projects together.

The La Liga Business School and the University of Canberra will sign of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this week to work on educational projects together.

The collaboration agreement is being finalised and will focus on the formation and education of professional football.

La Liga and the University of Canberra said that they aim to use their knowledge and networks to “help to improve the professionalism of professional sport and football.”

An online seminar this Thursday will be the first event held by La Liga and the University of Canberra under the collaboration agreement.

La Liga’s delegate in Australia and New Zealand, Glen Rolls, will be speaking at the webinar alongside Capital Football CEO Phil Brown and Villarreal C.F Business Development Manager Mar Llaneza.

‘Beyond 2020: Professional Football Strategy – A discussion with La Liga’ will be hosted and moderated by University of Canberra Academic and former FIFA Assistant Referee Allyson Flynn.

The representatives will discuss strategy, business expansion, international development and commercial risks for sporting organisations. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session.

“We are very happy to have the opportunity to share the La Liga’s experience in Australia,” Director of La Liga Business School Jose Moya said.

“This agreement reaffirms the commitment of our organization to professionalise the sports sector and, in line with our slogan, ‘it’s not football, it’s La Liga,’ this positions us at the forefront of the industry, not only in terms of sports but also in educational standards.”

The La Liga Business School is the educational department of the Spanish league, it focuses on sport management and aims to professionalise the sports industry.

“The University of Canberra is a leader in Australian sport education and research,” University of Canberra’s, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, Michelle Lincoln said.

“We are very excited to further our commitment to sport through collaborations with La Liga on this webinar and future events.”

‘Beyond 2020: Professional Football Strategy – A discussion with La Liga’ takes place on Thursday 26th November at 6pm. Registrations for the event are open via the University of Canberra website.

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