01 Aug 2022
Football’s #EQUALISER campaign
Football’s #EQUALISER campaign

In PR and GR, as in football, timing is everything.

The key is in finding that opening and choosing the precise moment, in order to achieve (or score) that goal – or in the case of Football Australia – to deliver an #EQUALISER.

#EQUALISER was the name given to a successful six-week Federal Election specific campaign by Football Australia, aimed squarely at securing local level funding commitments from both major parties for Female Friendly Facilities, of which this sports-mad country of ours is in dire need.

It has been made all the more pressing by the fact that we are on the cusp of hosting (along with our Kiwi cousins) the biggest event anywhere in the world in 2023 – the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Football Australia’s report on the lack of Female Friendly Facilities raised the issue.

However, identifying a problem is often the easiest part, effectively just the first half of a long battle – providing a solution, that is what really counts most in this game.

And make no mistake, football came into this campaign with a kit bag bursting at the seams with strong arguments and big numbers.

  • More than two million participate in the beautiful game of football across Australia
  • Within the next five years, there’ll be an expected increase of 400,000 in participation and half of all those playing football in this country will be female

But here’s the kicker – less than 35% of football facilities in this country are female-friendly or gender-neutral.

No matter where they turned, that’s a problem staring policymakers squarely in the face.

Like any good manager or coach, football needed to create an easily understood but fertile narrative.

Early engagement, it cannot be stressed enough, is just as vital.

Teamwork too – absolutely pivotal to success.

Once you have your messaging right and your strategy in place, it’s crucial that everyone knows their role and plays to their strengths – you don’t see goalkeepers doing dance routines like The Wiggles now, do you? (Ok, there’s always an exception to any rule).

But the numbers which caused politicians, knee-deep in an election cycle remember, to sit bolt upright off the bench, pull up their socks, and take notice were the following:

  • More than 6000 people responded to a survey, of those, 65% said that commitments to spending on football facilities in their region, or at their club, would influence their vote.
  • When asked if football received its fair share of government funding compared to other sports, only 8% of respondents said yes.
  • And finally, it was revealed that the Australian football community has a social media following of over SIX MILLION.

And now you are in the game because, yes politics, just like football, is a numbers game (seats versus goals). In short, get more than your opponent, and you will savour the sweet taste of victory.

Just like on the pitch the success of the campaign can be measured by the scoreboard. Election commitments for the #Equaliser campaign tallied over $18 million!

By Frank Coletta

Frank is Primary’s Senior Counsel, Strategic Media & Government Relations, with extensive and trusted networks across media, government, sport, and social affairs.