Footie site will cast a wide net all year round

AS the events of recent weeks demonstrate, news in the world of AFL football often becomes most interesting after the home-and-away season has ended, when contracts are up for renewal and end-of-season trips taken.

A new interactive website will be launched this week to fill the void left by mainstream media’s flight to the nation’s summer sports. is the brain-child of former 6PR sports broadcaster Russell Dower, who is aiming to hook footy punters with the breaking news during the off-season.

“The next three months there is plenty of news. There is the trading, listings, national draft, pre-season draft, rookie draft, industry news both AFL and WAFL,” Mr Dower said.

“You get virtually no news during October, November and December. This will be the only place you can get it. We’ll win over a lot of visitors because of the media focus on the summer sports.”

Mr Dower said recent market analysis had reinforced his long-held recognition of a market for an interactive AFL news site.

“I always had the concept of putting together a news site dedicated to AFL football,” he said.

“I left 6PR in March and did a lot of market testing and feasibility and got an overwhelming response and decided to launch the project.

“There is definitely a market for a news service to be located on the Internet.”

Mr Downer said that, when the footy season returns in 2003, the site would continue to perform a competitive news role.

“It’s all about breaking the news first. Why read it in the paper the next day or on the evening news,” he said.

Mr Dower said the journalists who would be supplying information to the site would remain anonymous.

While the core of the website centres on the latest AFL and WAFL news, it will be complemented with a string of interactive components that, according to Mr Dower, will have people logging on two or three times a day.

“During the five months of market research it was evident that an enormous amount of people were visiting generic chat boards because they crave news and want to know what’s going on,” he said.

“We have put in, footy chat, a chat board to focus on topical issues.

“It’s a good gel.

“We will get daily repetitive use because they not only have the news but they have competitions to enter, public polls, and weekly prizes.”

Mr Dower said he was looking to add more value to the site, including the feasibility of live WAFL coverage, selling tickets to football games and rock concerts, and is currently negotiating a major football competition.

“We are currently negotiating the biggest football competition in WA. There are very generous prizes,” he said.

“I will say that the main prize would spark interest in the community.”

Mr Dower said would become commercially viable after 12 months.

The website will be officially launched at the WAFL grand final this Sunday at Subiaco Oval, however for the eager punters, WA Business News understands the site will go live on Friday evening.

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