So the Asian Cup is on in earnest. Australia despite its loss to South Korea is in the quarters. But more importantly it seems that other contests are also being attended quite well, causing some sort of relief that matches between North Korea and Saudi Arabia were going to attract the sort of attendance that you could fit confortably in a outer suburban lower grade ground.
But as it seems that once football gets a ‘win’ some of us become like the daggy kid in class that managed to get a date with the attractive girl st school, becoming a casanova overnight and embarissingly telling everyone that yes he is going out with that girl.
Case in point is an article by Micheal Cockerill in The Age of Saturday 17 January 2015. It is titled ‘Cup Success puts pressure on cricket’ Really? Why would that be the case? Where this ‘pressure is coming from?
I’m loath to make comparisons but it will be fascinating to see how next month’s Cricket World Cup stacks up (with the Asian Cup). Will for instance, the crowd for the International Cricket Council match between Bangladesh and Afghanistan at Manuka eclipse Sunday’s Asian Football Confederation match between China and North Korea, also to be played in the national capital?
Well….who cares? Apart from some journalists that are hyping up this contest to increase the clicks for their articles and social media banter and regrettably some CEOs of their respective sports that indulge in these dick size competition exercises.
Inevitably these articles attract a swag of twitter exchanges between the fans of the two sports. Foremost amongst them is Malcolm Conn, a cricket senior manager, who the main activity in the summer seems to be tweeting about how much cricket matches (especially the Big Bash League) is killing football in the ratings.
Why we have this ‘war’ baffles me. For a number of reasons. Of course different sports will try to show that they have higher ratings to get more sponsors, that is obvious. But comparing a short form of cricket designed mainly for TV especially when is in the desert of the the summer non ratings period, with a full competition that stretches for six months doesn’t make sense. As a football person who doesn’t follow cricket I am happy to state that cricket holds a special place in Australian culture that football does not yet has. Having said that the progress the A-League and football in general has made in Australia has been staggering, but does it really matter it doesn’t match the overall ratings of cricket?
When talking about the Cricket World Cup I expect that overall the ratings and overall attendances will be more that the Asian Cup. The Sri Lankan and Indian community in Melbourne alone is considerable. I would expect an England vs. India match to be pretty close to a sell out. I am sure after the Cockerill article the likes of Malcolm Conn will be out in force on twitter telling us about it.
But most importantly of all that is that comparing ourselves to other sports show that we still feel a sense of inferiority to other sports. Rarely I see the AFL and Rugby League comparing themselves to other codes, football should do the same. By highlighting any success in attendances or ratings with hubris only shows that we feel inferior. We are not, and we should not feel that way.
Football has made great progress in the last decade. Inevitably there will be setbacks and advancements but this progress will continue. Let’s stop forget about other sports. Let’s run our own race.