Asian Cup Organizers Hoping World Cup Success By Australia Will Raise Interest
The Australian national team's performance in the World Cup will "not make or break the success of the upcoming Asian Cup" -- but a "strong showing would help," organizers admit, according to Michael Lynch of THE AGE. Asian Cup COO Mark Falvo said that a "positive Socceroos performance in Brazil will help build interest in what he describes as Asia's premier sporting event." The tournament is centered in New South Wales with games in Brisbane and Melbourne. Falvo: "We want to be building up to the Asian Cup off a great performance from Australia, but it's not entirely dependent on a great performance by the Socceroos. We have already sold 100,000 tickets. I think the public is very enthusiastic about the Asian Cup." He added that there have been "several useful lessons learnt from the Brazilian World Cup, but one of Australia's biggest advantages is its existing stadiums and first-world infrastructure." Falvo said, "Fortunately we don't have to build any stadiums. There are positives from what we have observed, the fan-fests have been good, the way the events have been marketed on the ground, the way the cities have been dressed, they are the sort of things we are looking for for the Asian Cup. We are looking at establishing fan parks across all our host cities" (THE AGE, 6/18). FOX SPORTS' Tom Smithies wrote the Asian Cup might have "seemed like the toughest sell since prohibition." The event will feature 16 Asian sides. With A$14M ($13M) worth of tickets to sell, "so far sales have heavily revolved around Socceroos games and the final." Falvo said that the "vast majority of their promotional budget would be spent once the World Cup was finished." So far the marketing of the tournament has concentrated on "grassroots-level engagement with specific local communities targeted." The biggest challenge for the organizers will "undoubtedly be to attract healthy attendances to games against less-fashionable sides." Falvo acknowledged that Australian games had accounted for "a good chunk" of sales so far. Falvo: "The best-selling game to date is the Australia v South Korea game in Brisbane" (FOX SPORTS, 6/18).