The USA is the world’s largest sports market. As Kevin Sheedy, one of the true visionaries of our game has stated:
“The United States would be that excited about Australian football if we ever got it right. If we can gradually get some infrastructure there to build the leftover of a fantastic collegiate system in America that builds probably the greatest athletes in the world but at the end of their collegiate career in regard to their studies, don’t make professional gridiron or professional basketball careers. If we actually found the right group of people to actually promote Australian football in America, it’d be like rock and roll. It’d just take off. Because we have the game.”
In traditional Australian Football, regular matches are played on large cricket sized fields, featuring 18 players per team. Add another 4 reserve players per team, plus 6 umpires, and you need 50 people to play a match.
To find a space large enough for 18-per-side, many international leagues play matches in the middle of nowhere, with no facilities for players or spectators.
In the USA our focus is on growing the sport through Footy 9s, with matches being played on gridiron fields.
Footy 9s has been designed to make it much easier for Americans to enjoy playing a new game, without the difficulty of trying to find a large enough field and recruit a small army in order to play.
Footy 9s is not only fast-paced and exciting, but also allows American players and spectators to be in familiar surroundings. As a result it is more aligned to the American psyche.