EXCLUSIVE | Perth Glory owner Tony Sage reveals ‘informal talks’ on Asian expansion
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has exclusively told Macquarie Sports Radio he has had “informal talks” on the possibility of A-League expansion in Asia.
The A-League is set to grow to 12 teams for the 2019/20 season, up two from the existing 10-team format.
There are six remaining candidates set to be in contention for two of those spots including bids from Canberra, Southern Expansion, Macarthur South West Sydney, Western Melbourne, South Melbourne and Team 11 from South East Melbourne.
With the FFA Board only elected on Monday, new Chairman Chris Nikou has made no secret of the fact that expansion is a priority.
But Sage said the obvious answer is to grow the competition in Asia rather than add more teams to NSW or Victoria.
“There’s four teams in New South Wales within four hours driving, so what you’re really doing is your putting another team in Sydney, you’re going to take fans away from the other two or three clubs that barrack, you’re not expanding the audience,” Sage said.
“When you’ve got to our north, it’s only believe it or not another half an hour for Perth to fly to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur than it is to Sydney or Brisbane.
“But you’ve got 300 million people in that region.
“If you have a look at those numbers, we’ve got one and a half million permanent viewers of Football in this country, two and a half million of say AFL and with those two and a half million, they managed a $2.5 billion TV deal.
“Imagine if you had 300 million people watching, so a team in Malaysia, a team in Singapore, a team in Jakarta, and maybe one in Manila or maybe one in Hong Kong.”
With the A-League often struggling for crowds and ratings, Sage’s idea to help grow the game might just be what the competition needs.
As the race to decide which teams will gain entry into the A-League comes to an end – when it expands to 12 teams ahead of the 2019/20 season – the Glory owner admits talks have taken place.
“I’ve have had informal talks,” Sage said.
“Obviously, I can’t talk on behalf of the A-League.
“We’ve done a lot of marketing and promotion of Perth Glory into Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, we’ve got very good relationships with the FA and the clubs.
“In fact, I’ve taken Perth Glory to Malaysia, Singapore and Manila in the last three or four years to expand our fan base into those areas and they all would love to have a team in an expanded A-League.
“So, yeah I have had the informal talks but the big obstacle is FIFA and the AFC.”
Sage’s Glory are currently undefeated sitting atop of the table. The club host the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday at NIB Stadium.
Listen to the full interview below: