The reason “Not The Footy Show” was created was to show that there are a myriad of sports apart from AFL. That Australia has champions in these sports and that people are passionate about sports other than AFL.
People may well have been brought up with it and it may well be the number one sport in Australia, however it would be interesting to see how other sports would fare if given the same saturated media coverage. If there was a level playing field in terms of television air time, newspaper column centimetres and radio air time, other sports may well surpass AFL simply because they have international appeal.
Australia was founded on immigrants and it has a new breed of immigrants arriving every year, and to these ‘new Australians’ AFL is a minor sport, because until their arrival in the country they had never heard of it.
Western Australia’s leading newspaper, The West Australian carried a piece on their website titled “What we learned from our Cup bid, written by Ross Lewis, their on-line sports editor and a man who has spent most of his career covering AFL. So would we get a balanced review, about the naiveté of the bid itself?
Mr Lewis was correct when he stated “by receiving just one vote from the FIFA voting panel, it shows that Australia, still a relative newcomer on the World Cup stage, still has a lot of work to do to be regarded as a significant player in international soccer.” That is very true.
He went on to state “In the end, the World Cup just didn’t mean that much to the majority of Australians. Sure, there were the round ball zealots who tried to tell us our sporting lives would never have meaning unless the tournament came to our backyard, but there weren’t enough of them. Because soccer isn’t this country’s No.1 sport there just wasn’t the overall passion within the community for the event.”
There was the passion, there just wasn’t full media backing behind the bid, because those who are dedicated to AFL cannot bear the thought of another sport being in the limelight, they are not even prepared to share that limelight. This territory is guarded preciously, and these comments confirm that.
“The general consensus at a leading Perth hotel on bid night was that while it would be good to host the cup it didn’t bother West Aussies if it didn’t come either. Life will go on.” He wrote. “Much of the rest of the world view the World Cup rights as a gift from a god. It consumes a nation’s consciousness. Not here. The disappointment is there but it isn’t deep and won’t last very long at all.”
Speak for yourself Mr Lewis, there are many who are disappointed even if they always knew Australia’s chances were at best slim. There are many who are disappointed who may not be football fans but who are proud of Australia and wanted to showcase that to the World. Others simply wanted to experience the greatest sporting event in their back yard, as they know they will ever go to one elsewhere. But as long as the AFL media try and tell the people what to think they will maintain the upper hand.
The new generation of Australians will dictate which sports are the most popular in twenty years, and the new generation of media with a broader view of the sporting landscape will assist that. AFL has a place in Australia of that there is no doubt, but other sports deserve equal or reasonable coverage, not just token coverage or to be belittled.
(To be Fair Mr. Lewis has covered a lot of other sport including cricket and the Olympics, but his name is most synonomous with AFL).