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AFL set to increase IC promotion

International Cup 2005

The Australian Football League, organisers of the 2005 Australian Football International Cup, have revealed plans to dramatically increase promotion for the tournament compared with the inaugural Cup in 2002.

There has been a school of thought that the 2002 IC was not heavily promoted because the standard of play was an unknown quantity, given the relatively small number of players in leagues around the world. Three years on and the numbers playing the game outside of Australia has steadily increased, and the importance put on doing well this year in Melbourne has been quite high. Although the football to be played will not rival that of the professional AFL, good quality amateur footy is expected. Importantly, most countries are treating the matches very seriously and the games will bring together the colour and excitement of international competition. Many people have thus wondered whether the AFL will do more to promote the event. Happily, the answer appears to be yes.

AFL Community Development Manager Ed Biggs and Cherie Fraser, in charge of marketing for the International Cup, have told worldfootynews.com that they have allocated a similar media budget for the tournament (in addition to the costs of running the event) as to what the AFL spent promoting the round 13 AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and Carlton in Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory. Aussie Rules is popular in that area, but it doesn't have its own AFL side. Some would see such a budget as a good thing, others may say that one game deserves less than the International Cup, but of course one is a ticketed professional event and the other amateur.

The matches will have free admission and attendances are expected to vary from round to round. Round 1 on Wednesday 3rd August includes the Opening Ceremony at 12pm. Children from some local schools are expected to attend, as well local dignitaries. The Wangaratta matches, in round 4, are also expected to be well attended, with the event likely to receive more attention in a country town. As previously reported, the Souvenir Program will be included in the AFL Record the week prior to the tournament. The Record sells tens of thousands of copies each week at AFL matches, featuring the AFL teams and match previews. This alone will ensure the International Cup is brought to the attention of the footy public.

Of course at the end of the day public interest is heavily influenced by the media. To this end, the AFL will be issuing daily press releases in the two weeks leading up to the Cup, and then all through the series. They have also organised for paid newspaper advertising, and radio spots on non-English language stations. It is also hoped that some players will appear on Channel 9's top rating The Footy Show and Channel 10's Before the Game. There should also be more emphasis on the International Leagues section of the AFL website (under their Development page), in particular the International Cup section.

So it appears that everything is being put in place for a big tournament. The next major step would be to secure a major sponsor and schedule the tournament either in a break between AFL rounds or outside of the main season, but that would probably be premature, particularly as many of the players are keen to take in as many AFL matches as possible during their stay. Perhaps in 2008, or in Cups after that.

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AFL set to increase IC promotion | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
AFL set to increase IC promotion
Authored by: Bruce Parker on Monday, July 18 2005 @ 06:52 am ACST

Too little, too late. Nice gesture, however promoting it the week before really does not help teams overseas trying to secure sponsorship. Sponsors want to see build up. They want to know that they will get at the very least brand recognition out there. You ask 100 random people in Melbourne what the International Cup is and when it is being held chances are none of them will know. Ask 100 footy fans leaving a game this weekend and chance are you will get maybe 1 who knows.

AFL set to increase IC promotion
Authored by: adam.crough on Tuesday, July 19 2005 @ 06:07 pm ACST

I agree with the above comment. The amount of publicity that has been dedicated to the International Cup here in Melbourne has been disappointing. I cannot speak for any other city or country for that matter but given that the event is taking place here in Melbourne I am amazed at the lack of coverage the event has been given. Every person I have spoken too who has a genuine interest in football (this includes people who play footy competitively and those who regularly attend AFL games) and not one person is aware of the upcoming international cup. I can appreciate the amount of money the AFL provides to International Leauges around the world and the development programs they have implemented and assisted with however I believe that alot more could be done to lift the profile of this incredible opportunity to develop the greatest game in the world. I will be attending every possible International Cup game and will ensure that friends and family are aware of the event as well.

AFL set to increase IC promotion
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, July 21 2005 @ 04:13 am ACST

It is disappointing that few people know about the Cup yet, although there have been quite a few small articles and radio spots over the last few years - I suspect the message is slowly getting across. We'll just have to see whether the process accelerates in the next few weeks.

Regarding the AFL needing to do more earlier, so countries can get sponsorship, it would be good, although it's kind of the chicken or the egg argument - until the public show they want to know more it's hard to see AFL clubs wanting what they would see as their cash being spent on major promotion for overseas amateur sides. Especially when quite a few clubs are struggling financially - that is something perhaps people don't fully appreciate. And there are plenty of Aussies who do not yet embrace the international potential of footy. So I can see the AFL needs to balance all the demands. All we can do is represent well the international footy community and enlist as much support in Australia as possible through hard work, and hopefully attitudes will steadily change - I think they are.

Brett Northey - Co-founder of WFN, Chief Editor and Editor for North America and Africa