I know, I promised to keep this blog more updated but I ended up leaving it again for about a year. Not a lot has happened in my football fan (girl) life, but I managed to check one important thing off my bucket list, which is to watch a game at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod! It was the Philippine Azkals vs. Yemen in an AFC Asian Cup Qualifying match.
The Azkals managed to come through with a draw against the Yemeni during the September 5 match. Let me elaborate on that in another post.
What I want to tackle in this blog post was the recent Azkals Town Hall organized by the team management headed by team manager Sir Dan Palami as a dialogue between fans and those who manage the national team.
I heard of the Town Hall just a couple of hours before it commenced and hurriedly sent out an email so I could get in. Luckily, I got a reply from the organizers just a couple of minutes after I sent my initial email. I got in! I was excited to hear from fellow fans and Sir Dan, and thought that maybe I could get some of my ideas in, too.
One of the major issues that Sir Dan discussed was the challenge for the PFF to provide installed seats in time for the AFC-sanctioned match against Tajikistan. This will relegate spectators to only the grandstand as the bleachers side of the Rizal Memorial Stadium do not have permanent, installed seats. As of this posting, The Azkals’ official Facebook page has already announced that tickets are finally available via SM Tickets. The bleachers will be available to fans for the Fiji friendly on March 22. On the 27th, however, there will be no fans (even Ultras) allowed on the bleachers, as per AFC rules.
*photos grabbed from The Azkals Facebook page
Since it was already announced that there will be no more Bleacher tickets to be sold in the Tajikistan match, I guess the management wasn’t able to come up with the required seats in time for the games. I sincerely hope this won’t be too much of a blow in terms of inviting more fans to watch the matches, as empty seats don’t look well on TV or on the live stream.
I managed to get in one question and a suggestion during the town hall meeting. I asked Sir Dan if it was possible to get sponsors to sponsor free tickets for fans as I understand it can be a little expensive especially for those with little to no budget at all. I know that that the challenge is to get sponsors for game tickets that doesn’t have as much exposure as other sports but I believe this will be beneficial in the long run. Let’s say 1,000 free tickets are given away, I’m pretty sure more than a handful of those people will enjoy the game and purchase tickets for the next matches. It is a risk, but it is also an investment, that hopefully, will pay off in the long run.
Another thing I mentioned was putting up LED walls outside of the stadium (or even in public areas) just so we can get more eyeballs watching the game. Like in my analogy with the free tickets, I’m pretty sure it would get more people watching the game and hopefully enjoying it enough to purchase tickets for next time. I firmly believe that it wouldn’t affect the paying patrons, because the target demographic for this is those who cannot afford to buy tickets for the match. This will erase the preconceived notion that football is an elitist sport and thus make it more approachable and relatable to the common folk, a.k.a. the masa. More masa watching, more sponsors become interested. That’s what I think.
Here’s a quick video recap with my thoughts about what happened that night.
All in all it was a productive night with Sir Dan and some Azkals fans. I honestly thought there would be a lot more people in the meeting, but I guess the last-minute schedule was a big factor. I do hope that this won’t be the first and last Town Hall meeting with fans. I honestly can’t wait not only for the upcoming games but also the next Town Hall. See you all around!