Just before Christmas I was sent a link by the FFV to their media team's strategy email and video to NPL clubs for 2017. I was invited to pass comment and blog on the video as I pleased, which I shall now do.
Clubs filming their games is a part of the NPL license agreement, and the FFV will be looking to enforce this more strictly this year. Which is fair enough, but if points deductions ever become part of the punishment for a rules breach in this area, well that will be the end of taking the competition seriously and you won't see me at a game again.
Having been involved at an under-resourced club, it makes me wonder how I'd have gone filming the last ten minutes of the first half when it was time to go to the dressing room. That was when I'd clean up after the Under 21's, pour 30 cups of drink, top up the drinks containers, get some ice bags ready for injuries and generally get set for the half-time break.
Filming games must obviously pose issues for some clubs. Finding reliable volunteers is not easy. Finding reliable volunteers without vested interests is harder still. Would it be right to put pressure on a coach to start little Johnnie in the Under 20's because after three weeks on the bench his father is making noises about not wanting to film games anymore? Of course, you can always pay someone to do it. That only increases costs though, and we know it doesn't take much to get people whinging about that.
The erosion of volunteer culture does concern me. There is now a vicious circle, with high fees leaving people less likely to volunteer. People paying $1500-2000 a season for their children to play probably feel that amount entitles them not to have to do anything. When you start having to pay people for jobs/roles that used to be done by volunteers, the pressure to increase fees will also rise.
It was not that long ago that it was only the coaches, players and physios getting paid at a club. Now it may include team managers, videographers and bar and canteen staff. With crowds declining (and income going with it) it's a worrying trend.
One of the main points of the strategy video is to improve standards of match footage to avoid a park football-look. This includes filming from elevated areas near the half-way line, which are not behind closed windows. Drowning the highlights package in doof doof music is also a no no (YAY!). Not a lot I can disagree with in what they say, other than if they don't want a park football look what is everyone supposed to do regarding goals conceded by Nunawading City?
The FFV website will also be less of a news source and more a resources hub. Now if there are video highlights packages from every game, it does make match reports redundant. The couple of years the FFV had independent match reports from all NPL games will always be fondly recalled though, especially since they contained team line-ups and substitutions that didn't always seem to quite make it onto the Sportingpulse results service.
Amid all the talk of commercial profiles and brands, hopefully the strategy is built around getting more people to games.