Australia’s opening 2018 Russia World Cup game against France could be the Socceroos most watched match in history, according to a noted marketing expert.
Associate Professor at RMIT Dr Con Stavros, described the scheduling of the match as a "gift from God".
In previous World Cups Australians have been forced to follow the Socceroos exploits at unfriendly times but Australia’s draw for Russia 2018 is heaven sent for local supporters.
When the Socceroos defeated Uruguay in the second leg of the 2005 World Cup qualifier 6.3 million Australians tuned in to the live broadcast on SBS.
But with the Socceroos facing France at 8pm on Saturday night (AEST), Associate Professor Stavros, expects the 2005 record to be beaten.
“As a marketer you can’t control some things but sometimes you get a gift from God,” he said speaking to FourFourTwo.
“And that gift is the Socceroos draw in many ways.
"If you study that draw there is only one position that gives you an 8pm (France), a 10pm (Denmark) and a 12am game (Peru) and that is the spot the Socceroos drew.
“It was a one in 32 chance. It’s not only an 8pm game, it’s an 8pm game on a Saturday night against France and I would expect that will be close to shattering the ratings for the Uruguay game in 2005.
“The draw is sensational and it’s what you would have hand-picked if you were Australia.”
With more Australians expected to watch the Socceroos than at previous World Cups, Associate Professor Stavros said the FFA should take the opportunity to promote the more prominent members of the team.
“I would be marketing the individuals as much as I would be marketing the Socceroos brand,” he said.
“I would be going to some of the ready-made stars in that team. Aaron Mooy is a bit of a star he is playing in the English Premier League - the highest profile league in the world.
“Daniel Arzani is being talked of as being a superstar, although there have been a lot of young kids who have been talked of as superstars, so I don’t want to jinx the poor guy yet, but I do hope that it works out for him.”
While the players focus surrounding any Socceroos match is centered on the team, when it comes to marketing Associate Professor Stavros said the individual wins out over the collective.
“If you have a look at the NFL, NBA or the EPL they build up their stars,” he said.
“However, coaches want everyone to be the same, no stars, everyone is the same it’s a machine operation.
“Coaches hate marketers in some ways because as marketers we try and pick out the individuals and turn them into heroes and stories because we know that works in selling tickets and generating interest and media.
“I appreciate it’s a team game, that it’s the Australian national team and that you win and lose as a team and all that kind of stuff but like I said you have to work on individual stars.”