Nix to take four games on the road

Wellington Phoenix will play up to four A-League games outside the New Zealand capital in the 2016-17 season including two matches in Auckland.

The 2016-17 A-League fixtures will be released early this month, with Phoenix general manager David Dome confirming they’d look to build the club’s national presence.

Wellington played 11 home games at Westpac Stadium last season, with one game in Auckland and Christchurch each.

Phoenix had the lowest average attendance with 8,042 in 2015-16, dropping from 8,583 the previous season. 

Crowds need to improve as part of the club’s 10-year licence extension benchmarks and building a national presence is seen as a way of doing that.

“We’ll be playing two games in Auckland this year and potentially two games in other centres outside Auckland,” Dome told FourFourTwo. 

“We’re just working on that now and trying to tidy it up. That’s been a strategy of the club to take it on the road and go around the country and build the profile.”

Phoenix has previously announced it will play Central Coast in a pre-season fixture in September in Nelson too.

Wellington have requested a home-away home-away structured fixture for the 2016-17 draw, although they will encounter challenges given they don’t own Westpac Stadium.

Meanwhile, Dome said the changing landscape of football broadcast rights in Australia, with Optus’ move to claim the English Premier League, offered options in New Zealand where TV money has been weak.

Wellington needs to work with the FFA to improve the broadcast rights situation in New Zealand as another benchmark in their 10-year licence extension.

“There’s all sorts of parties coming into play in the Australian market and the same is happening here in New Zealand, with third parties coming in, so who knows where it’s going to end up,” Dome said.