Facebook giving footy another voice
Tuesday, October 02 2007 @ 11:39 am ACST
Contributed by: Sean Finlayson
The Internet has been a huge boon for getting the Aussie Footy message to the world (this site is testament to that), but recent social networking enhancements may be about to change the footy world. Despite advancements to web technologies, it has still traditionally costs a lot for clubs to get their own websites going, to get people to find it (search engines) and also to get an online forum to get people involved. Fans have been trying to find ways to keep in touch and sites like Yahoo groups once helped with Grand Final gettogethers and particularly with formation clubs. But there was never a central place where you could find and login to these groups as a result, they often fizzed out.
Facebook is growing rapidly among footy's demographic (at least in terms of the English speaking world), and provides a number of initiatives that let footy fans keep in touch and show their support. The difference is that Facebook offers a one-stop-shop for daily social activities, not specifically just about footy, so it is a great word of mouth tool. It also enables you to quickly get your own groups complete with discussion forums up and running by inviting people in your network.
One of the biggest struggles for many clubs is keeping past players and supporters involved. Without them, fundraising becomes difficult. Facebook's groups helps to keep these people in touch and this can give clubs a competitive advantage. There are a number of vibrant groups already helping to spread the word about Aussie Rules abroad.
While they don't offer search engine exposure like websites, social networking can be just as powerful, if not more so. The more enterprising clubs are using cleverly worded Facebook groups to lure new members. Louisville Kings, a club in the United States Australian Football League (USAFL), for example, has attracted over 200 members in just a few months with its title "Aussie Football is better than Rugby", trying to point Americans to the differences between the two games, which are commonly grouped together in the minds of the sporting public.
We decided to list just a small sample of the Facebook groups which you can join that are dedicated to Australian Rules Football (NOTE: you will need a Facebook account and login to view these groups):
Lovers of Aussie Rules Football Social Group
The History of Aussie Rules Football is not just the History of the AFL/VFL
Bring Back the AFL State of Origin
Samoa the next recruiting ground for afl stars
AFL all over the world
Aussie Rules Europe
Clubs & Leagues
Aussie Rules Sweden
Solna Axemen Aussie Rules Football Club
Cardiff Aussie Rules
North London Lions
Calgary Kookaburras Women's Aussie Rules
Edinburgh Aussie Rules Football Club
Bournemouth Demons Aussie Rules Football Club
West London Wildcats Australian Rules Football Club
Sussex & Brighton Swans Appreciation Group
Baltimore Washington Eagles
Austin Crows Australian Rules Football
Florida Redbacks Australian Football League
Philadelphia Hawks Australian Rules Football Club
Australian Football Ontario
Ottawa Australian Football Club
Broadview Hawks Australian Football Club
Burnaby Eagles Australian Rules Football Club
And finally, for those of you who want a challenge, take the Facebook International Footy Traveler IQ Challenge.
If you are starting a club or supporters' group in your area, or even if you want to get more exposure than just your website, then get a Facebook group going, it is free and easy to do. And if you have played with any of these clubs, make sure that you join and catch up with your old teammates and supporters.
And if you already have such a group that isn't listed here, leave a comment with a URL, or contact WFN and we'll add it to the list.