Winners and Losers in a Draw

This is truly an astonishing year. No only have we been unable to decide on who should run our country, but on Saturday, we weren’t even able to decide who the best team in our premiere sporting code was. Absolutely astonishing.

So OK, this post isn’t really about volleyball, but it is too much of an interesting phenomenon to ignore. To me, it’s more about the peculiarity of how sports, politics and business intersect.

Hung parliaments aren’t all that bad. The downside is no one can get anything done. But on the upside, no one can get anything done!

Similarly Saturday’s draw (which will now need to be replayed) had winners and losers:

The winners:

  • The Bookies
  • The MCC
  • The AFL
  • Clubs (who get to sell more ticket)
  • Channel 7

The losers:

  • The spectators at last week’s game
  • Anyone who placed a bet on either team to win
  • The Commonwealth Games
  • The SANFL Grand Final
  • The NRL Grand Final
  • Anyone who was looking forward to Channel 7’s originally scheduled broadcast of Lesley Nielsen’s spy spoof, Spy Hard next Saturday afternoon (on second thoughts, maybe i need to rephrase this and put it in the “winners” column)

there are probably more winners and losers then i’ve named. Of course they can’t let everyone who paid squillions of dollars to go see the game last week see it for free this week. You just can’t “wear” the cost of hosting an event for 100,000+ people without anyone paying for it (it’s also a valid argument that you cannot charge people hundreds or thousands of dollars for a ticket to what is promised to be a “special” event that will be cheapened by a non-result and a subsequent replay).

As someone in a “minority sport”, I can feel for the other sporting codes who rely on the fact that football should have been over last week. Having State Schools Cup Volleyball in August last year meant that we could only enter 2 teams from Willunga, and one of them had to forfeit a game because of netball commitments.

Likewise, the NRL would have been hoping that it’s own big event wasn’t “double-booked”. The SANFL and NRL grand finals are on the day after, but they would still have assumed that an AFL-free week would give them more publicity. They just aren’t enjoying the Australian public’s undivided attention this week like they would usually do. It’s a rule in filmmaking that it’s generally a bad idea to open a film around election times: 1) everybody has to go vote; 2) you can’t get any publicity; 3) all the advertising media has already been bough and whatever’s left is expensive. we can assume similar inconveniences are being experienced in the sporting world this week.

Like the prisoner’s dilemma, the best result for multiple sports is achieved when there is some level of collusion.

For the Commonwealth Games, it truly has become a case of “bad publicity is better than no publicity”. Pity, because they could really do with ANY publicity right now that isn’t to do with security issues and the quality of the infrastructure. But that probably won’t happen with 2 grand finals on this week.

On one hand, the Commonwealth Games is a really hard sell. It’s the poorer cousin to the Olympics and it has no memorable moments that are part of the national psyche. watch the ads – when athletes and commentators talk about what is good about the commonwealth games, it’s incredibly vague. there’s no iconic vision that is distinct from something that happened at the olympics. it’s just generic victories. On the other hand, it can be quite an easy sell to what the Australian public wants to see – Australian athletes pummeling other (minnow) countries in sports that most Australians are familiar with. After all, isn’t it better to be the best at a sport that nobody plays, than be pretty good at a sport that everybody plays?


7 Responses to “Winners and Losers in a Draw”

  1. Simon Phillips Says:

    Minority Sport?

  2. Hugh Nguyen Says:

    yeah, you know, the sports that provide people who work in them with minority incomes.

  3. mickmurphy Says:

    Also FYI, bookies paid 1/2 odds on the game because a draw wasn’t offered by many bookies.

  4. Alexis Says:

    I find the whole thing fascinating and, to be frank, I find the prevailing opinion (that the concept of a replay is an abomination and should be changed) puzzling.

    I disagree with your ‘Losers’ classification of the spectators who attended. Maybe I’m a bit odd, but I know that I’ll remember watching that game for the rest of my life. Unless somethings astonishing happens, I doubt I’ll say the same for next Saturday’s game.

    One of the things I love about sport is the chance that you get to watch history. If I don’t have a favourite player/team I always support the front runners. I watch golf to see Tiger win so that he can break records. I watch tennis to see Federer win so that he can break records. I support the Lakers so that I can see Phil break records.

    The 2010 Grand Final will always have a special place in history, that why I’m glad I watched it and I’m glad it was a draw.

    • Hugh Nguyen Says:

      i know someone who wasn’t happy they paid $800 to go see a draw.

      Telling him he witnessed something that has only happened twice in 100-odd years didn’t seem to provide any satisfaction. An event that is marketed as a decider with the word “final” should live up to that.

      • Alexis Says:

        it was billed as a ‘grand final’. it was a final, and it was grand. It wasn’t called a ‘final final’. the rules have always been that a draw is replayed……

        I can see the issue for a St Kilda or Collingwood fan from a financial point of view, but………….

    • mickmurphy Says:

      Without doubt, the supporters who are most hard done by are the ones who go THIS weekend…

      They will pay out the nose for tickets to a game that is second rate.

      The game was magical. I would have loved to have been there to see a siren sound, and every man on the ground fall over and not understand what they were meant to feel.

      I think extra time would have let the game down, although I still feel that this weekend will let it down too. If anything, they should be joint champions (I am kind of joking there…)

      World Cup finals decided on penalties are the stuff of legend, because they are a quirk of the game that isn’t entirely fair. A replayed final is kind of the same thing I think. The best football team might not win next week, the team who deals with the situation best will. Much like the team who deals with the penalty shootout wins.

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