Always keen to experiment, Football Federation Australia reportedly considered expanding the All Stars concept in 2015 by introducing two new formats: All-Star All Stars and Australia & New Zealand All-Stars.
According to leaked documents given to FMF , the organising body had spent the last twelve months brainstorming ways to make the concept more palatable to the vocal segment of the Australian football community still hesitant to embrace it.
“Without sufficient initiatives focusing on shifting traditional supporter paradigms, the All Stars franchise faces a future in which the allure of experienced football brands competing in Australia is insufficient to overcome the entrenched stereotypical viewpoint that it’s all a bit shit,” an extract reads.
Amongst the different options explored by the FFA, two received significant internal support from key stakeholders. The first, dubbed ‘All-Star All Stars’ would see the top six players from three consecutive years of All Star matches combined into one team, to play against a completely separate All Stars team. “While this one may be a tougher sell than the current All Stars concepts, we’re optimistic it could be successful if we promote it as a “Best of the Best” contest,” the documents state.
“Fans love watching the best players, and we feel this concept gives fans the ability to see as many of them on the field as possible, as well as saving costs incurred in shipping other teams to Australia. This concept would not only be a great merchandising opportunity, but it could drastically increase the level of fan engagement by giving fans the opportunity to spend more hours on our website submitting votes, not just for who they want on the All Stars team, but who they may want to see on the All-Star All Star team one day.”
The second idea put forward was, in our opinion, even more radical than the first – Australia & New Zealand All-Stars. From what FMF was able to determine, this competition would involve a whopping 10 All Star teams, scattered across Australia and New Zealand, playing weekly matches between each other. These teams would feature the best domestic players, as well as a limited number of international players who could be signed to bolster their ranks. Each team would have their own coach – who would pick the teams – as well as support staff and fan bases, and they would represent specific cities or geographic areas across both countries.
The FMF office was divided on which idea would represent the best chance for the All Stars concept to be embraced by Australian football fans, so we went onto the streets and polled fans to see what they thought.
“One All Star team is bad enough! Why would we want 10 of them play every freaking week!?” said one outraged fan.
“The All-Star All Stars is nothing but a transparent attempt to sell merchandise; the A-League clubs at least have a rich history behind the stuff they sell.” said another.
With fans still sceptical that the All Star idea will ever be successful in the long-term, it’s clear the FFA need to go back to the drawing board and figure out their next move.
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