Along with large fields and large playing numbers, the traditional name of the game has also been a barrier to attempts to expand the game internationally.
The traditional name of the sport is Australian Football. The sport is sometimes referred to by an even longer name, Australian Rules Football.
Looking at the other major codes of football, they all have short names or nicknames that serve them well.
It is important to remember that people outside Australia are not as passionate about Australia as Australians are. By way of example, an Australian approached in Melbourne to play ‘Kiwi Rules’ by a New Zealander is unlikely to receive an enthusiastic response.
Whilst the game will always have an Australian origin, when growing the game internationally it is important that locals feel a connection to the game.
As a result our strategy will be to call the game ‘Footy’ in new markets.
Using the USA as an example, it can be used effectively on a national scale (USA Footy), at State level (Texas Footy) and at city level (Dallas Footy).
Giving locals ownership of the game is crucial if we are to win their hearts and minds.