Saturday, October 25, 2008


Local Football Association's Failing in PR

I've lost count of the number of regional cup competitions happening either now or in the very near future.

The Merdeka Cup in Malaysia has some pedigree. This year sees the 40th running of this venerable old cup but can you find any info about it? The Malaysian FA website is down meaning people have to get their info from blogs such as Bola Today or the occassional piece in The Star. Recently the Malaysian coach complained about the lack of support at the games but it's hardly surprising given the lack of publicity.

Indonesia also recently held a Merdeka Cup which was attended by crowds counted in the hundreds. An advert in local papers giving misleading information ain't going to have fans salivating at the thought of seeing the likes of Brunei or Cambodia at 10 o'clock at night!

The T&T Cup is starting next week in Vietnam and this one is being publicised but the same cannot be said about the Grand Royal Challenge in Myanmar. Grand by name, it has been easier to find out about the Dear Leader's sex life in Pyongyang than learning what''s happeneing in Yangon.

It's worth remembering that all too often the people at the FA's are appointees not exactly steeped in football. They have no marketing experience because they don't need it. Their glory comes from being associated with the glamour of football and they are rarely made accountable for any decisions they may or may not make. Football to these people is a stepping stome to something else, it's a favour, it's a photo opportunity.

So what we have is endless competitions played out in empty stadiums with little or no promotion. People turn on the TV, say oh look, there's some football on. Where is it? Who's playing? How do I get tickets? And there are no easy answers because no one really gives a shit.

At least this year's AFF Cup is showing some promise. There is a dedicated website for a start. It would be nice to see a professionaly produced magazine made available as well. The recent Asian Cup had one but boy I had a hard time tracking it down and even then only found it outside Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta. You couldn't find it in any stores.

One day perhaps these people will learn there is more to hosting a tournament than just hosting. They need bums on seats, TV needs bums on seats and viewers need bums on seats. And, whisper it, bums on seats are a source of revenue.

The T & T should be interesting.
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