Big Crowds Show Popularity Of Football In Australia Growing Quickly
A crowd of more than 40,000 at Sydney's Allianz Stadium on Saturday night "proved the round-ball game has not just arrived but is bigger than rugby union" and closing in on the Australian Football League and the National Rugby League, according to Phil Rothfield of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The "proof is at the turnstiles." The average crowd for three NRL semifinals at Allianz Stadium last month was 30,000. Who would have "thought this could possibly happen -- 40,388 fans" at a Sydney football game. Walking into the stadium with Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop, "it' like a flashback of the old days, as though we're arriving for an NRL blockbuster." People "are everywhere." Queues at the "merchandise stalls, at the mobile TAB, the bar, food outlets, everywhere." Gallop: "It's (the crowd) further evidence that football is now a boom story in this city. To have 40,000 excited and engaged fans fill a stadium that is rarely totally full is just phenomenal." FFA Chair Frank Lowy and Gallop "now believe they could just about fill ANZ Stadium if the return game is moved from Parramatta Stadium." Sydney FC pocketed close to A$500,000 ($479,000) from "gate takings and the Wanderers would get double that if it was played at Homebush" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 10/28).