Sunday’s A-League match between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory was a marvellous advertisement for the league, as a sold out crowd gathered at Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah.
19,081 fans packed into the ground and despite the result, the home fans left largely pleased. The match had sold out the day before, highlighting that the fans were eager to witness the historic clash.
The decision to play at Jubilee Stadium was made due to the unavailability of Sydney FC’s regular stadium – Allianz Stadium will be demolished and rebuilt over the next few years. Matches will be split between Jubilee Stadium, the SCG and Leichhardt Oval.
Fears about a drop off of fans from Sydney FC home matches because of the stadium ‘roadshow’ were raised, however it seems that it could be a success. The club has had issues with poor attendances throughout its history, but Sunday’s sell-out provided an excellent feel.
The new Sydney Football Stadium will be built at a similar capacity to the current one, however a smaller capacity would not hurt Sydney FC. A packed out 20,000 crowd is much more ideal than playing in a half-empty stadium.
The Western Sydney Wanderers playing at the old Parramatta Stadium, where a buzzing atmosphere was created, is a fantastic example. Due to the construction of their new stadium, the Wanderers have been playing at Spotless Stadium and ANZ Stadium and frequently there have been more empty seats than spectators. However, their new stadium will recreate a similar experience to the old Parramatta Stadium.
Sydney FC currently have six more A-League matches to play this season at Jubilee Stadium and it is very possible that similar crowds can be replicated. While they may not be sell-outs, very few seats would be empty.
Other clubs in the league can learn from this and potentially move towards playing at smaller venues, in order to prevent the likelihood of a dull match-day experience.