A-League fans prepare for feast
The A-League believes it can cash in on the nation's lingering holiday mood when it plays a full round of five matches back-to-back for the first time on Wednesday.
Should the marathon 12 hours of football be as well supported as hoped, A-League boss Lyall Gorman says it's set to become a regular holiday season feature.
He says the signs for Big Wednesday are promising in the wake of bumper crowds which flocked to various matches over the holiday period, with Sydney FC (16,007) and the Central Coast (14,838) recording season-high figures.
"Obviously, the timing of it was intentional, with everyone in a festive mood right on the back of Christmas and New Year and with many on holidays," Gorman said.
"So I think they will embrace it."
Wellington Phoenix dish up the entree to the football feast when they host Sydney FC at 1pm (AEDT) before action switches to Melbourne where the Heart play Adelaide.
Then Newcastle are home to Gold Coast before table-toppers Central Coast provide the main course at 7.45pm in a Bluetongue Stadium clash with Harry Kewell's Melbourne Victory.
Perth Glory round out the day when they host premiers Brisbane at 10pm (AEDT).
"I can't think of another top-flight competition in world football that in a single day can span two nations, cities 5000 kilometres apart, three time zones and an array of daytime, twilight and evening kick-off times," said Gorman.
"The logistics are huge."
The success of the day will be judged on figures for stadium and television audiences but Gorman said there were other factors involved.
"It's not just driven by numbers," Gorman emphasised.
"We're also measuring it in terms of (knowing) we had a lot of mid-week games last season and they were a cost drain on clubs and we couldn't quite get the crowds that we wanted.
"So this an aggregation of five mid-week games into one day and at a different time of the year where we think people will get out and enjoy themselves.
"We've tried a few new things this season, like reducing mid-week games, changing the season window and we're very determined to continue the work to take the league to new levels.
"We think this will be a winner but we'll have to evaluate it and see and, if it meets our expectations, it will be an ongoing part of what we do."