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Hyundai A-League

Letting the Fans Choose - Every Step of the Way

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The great glory of sport is its unpredictability, and it’s been gloriously on display in this year’s thrilling and spectacular Hyundai A-League competition, unless you’re a Western Sydney Wanderers fan, of course.

After a year in which they made a thrilling run to the Hyundai A-League final and went on to win the Asian Champions League, 2015 was supposed to be the year they went all the way in the local competition, but their bubble burst with a bang and they’ve languished at the bottom of the table in 2015, eventually finishing ninth.

Yet those who confidently predicted Sydney would make the grand final this year were at least partly right. After two incredible semi-finals last weekend, including one of the goals of the season -Kosta Barbarouses’ sizzling volley for Melbourne Victory - we will witness the dream final on Sunday, with Sydney FC to take on the league-ladder-topping Victory at AAMI Park. 

It’s not just the match-up people want to see, though, it’s pitting what were clearly the two best sides of the year against one another, with Sydney FC finishing second in the regular season.

Sometimes it would be nice, as a fan, to be able to write the sporting scripts, but, as a neutral, you couldn’t write a better story than the ultimate north vs south battle in the grand final. Sure, there’s a lot of talk about the NSW and Queensland rivalry in some sports, but every Australian knows there’s no conflict more keenly felt than Sydney vs Melbourne.

Even if you didn’t manage to write your team into the final, this year Hyundai gave fans an unprecedented chance to choose the course of the Hyundai  
A-League Grand Final, in every way but the score.

Thousands of people logged on to http://www.a-league.com.au/hyundaigfvote to select which song should be performed live at the game, which track the teams should walk out to, who will sing the national anthem and what sort of food you’ll be able to buy in the stands - proving once again that the Hyundai A-League really is all about the fans.
Best of all, as part of the Letting the Fans Choose - Every Step of the Way promotion, one lucky voter will win a VIP Grand Final experience.

Top  DJs Peking Duk, the coolest things ever to come out of Canberra, will be playing live as part of the final’s awesome entertainment, and fans have chosen which songs they will perform,  with tracks like High and Take Me Over polling well.

It will be a nervous wait this week for three singers, as well as the Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory players, as they wait to find out which one of them - Bonnie Anderson, Owen Campbell or KYA - was picked by the public for the honour of singing the national anthem before kick-off.

Fans also had three choices for which song the teams will run out to this year, between Jungle, by X Ambassadors and Jamie N Commons, The Buzz, by Hermitude or The Lion The Beast The Beat by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals.

Perhaps most colourfully, though, fans logged on and voted for which George Calombaris-designed souvlaki would go on sale at the big match. The Master Chef star, and football tragic, came up with three souvlaki recipes - including a soft-shell crab, a lamb and a chicken and chips - and the lucky 30,000 who’ve got their hands on tickets will get the chance to purchase one of these on Sunday.

In another fantastic first, the fans will also be allowed to vote during the game on who gets the Joe Marston Medal, for the best player in the final by hashtagging #HyundaiGFvote and the #playersurname on Twitter.

Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop said the radical approach to getting people involved in the A League Grand Final was all about  “putting the fans first”.

“The FFA is extremely proud of what the Hyundai A-League has achieved in its first 10 years, and with Hyundai introducing this campaign, a first in Australian sport, it is just another example of how we continue to grow our game and reward our fans”, Gallop said.

Charlie Kim, Hyundai Motor Company Australia CEO, echoed Gallop’s sentiments: “Hyundai has been the proud sponsor of the Hyundai A-League since its inception and we have shared football fans’ enthusiasm for the game every step of the way,” he said.

“We know just how passionate the fans are about the business end of the year, and we are thrilled to be able to give them the opportunity to have a greater say in how the marquee game of the year is run.”