Have patience with this. There are two survival stories going on in New Zealand at the moment. One is the Wellington Phoenix and the other is Campbell Live. You may think they are totally different, but you would be wrong.
The Swinging axe
Campbell Live and the Phoenix are apparently on borrowed time. CL I under review, and the Phoenix are waiting on a license extension. The common thread amongst both institutions is “What do they bring to the table?” Sometimes things can not be measured by cold numbers, but, perhaps, that’s a bit romantic. There is a common Australian thread there too.
It is to New Zealand’s embarrassment that the biggest factor in Campbell Live’s downturn of watchers came when TV3 lost coverage of Home and Away. Obviously changing channels needs to be made easier. The Phoenix had all sorts of scheduling bad luck thrust on them this year, which reached comical levels on Sunday when a postponed rugby league test led to a clash with their play-off game.
Sporting event attendance’s biggest competitor is TV. And the Phoenix haven’t bought a treat this year. They had that run at the end of 2014, crowds started to come in, and then it was the time to go to the Hutt. Their first game back at home coincided with the Cricket World Cup Final. Then there was a Good Friday game, and a range of other bits of bad luck, culminating with Sunday.
Both Campbell Live and the Phoenix have a very loyal and vociferous bunch of loyal fans. That’s only a small part of the Numbers Game though.
The Promotional Vacuum
You know how XFactor, The Block and the Bachelor are all over ads and the back of buses yet other TV3 Current Affairs shows are ignored? You could say the same with SKY Sport and the Phoenix.
The Wider, less committed support
According to Twitter, everyone loves Campbell Live, yet the viewing figures are not ideal. Everyone loves the Phoenix, yet the crowd figures are not ideal.
Do we deserve either or both? Hopefully this is a wake-up call to supporters of both to pull finger.
For the good of the country.
The public broadcasting void in this country is massive. It’s actually not up to MediaWorks to fill that void, being privately owned, but they have found themselves in that position. The Phoenix is New Zealand’s only professional football club, and the focus for youngsters coming through. Public Service all round.
Ernie Merrick is a Scotsman. Campbell is a Scottish name. Coincidence?