WESTERN Sydney Wanderers success on and off the park has piqued the interest of investors across Australia and overseas.
Bankrolled by Football Federation Australia, the club has played to sell-out crowds and is close to lifting the Premiers Plate in its inaugural season.
FFA originally talked of nurturing the franchise for three years but could off-load the precocious outfit as early as next year with the club potentially pulling $20 million.
Just last week au.fourfourtwo.com revealed that Parramatta City was enjoying an economic boost on the back of the Wanderers success story.
Despite the growing interest in the western Sydney product FFA chief executive David Gallop denied there was any hurry to cash in.
“Our intention is to sell it, but there is no rush,” Gallop told the Australian Financial Review. “Yes, we have had approaches from here and abroad for the club but they have been preliminary approaches.
“We are still deciding on what [sale] model is best. It could be that we look at a hybrid model where there is some sort of fan ownership involvement.”
But he said there was no doubt the Wanderers “have been the most successful club in any Australian sport this year”.
Gallop added: “From a standing start last April they have been such a success it seems they have been part of the competition for a decade, rather than just a few months.”
The club has averted the usual travails of start-up sports clubs which often struggle to build hard core support when pitted against established rivals.
Gallop credited efforts to engage fans for the healthy home average of 12,000 at Parramatta Stadium and last weekend’s derby sell out of about 20,000.
Wanderers have helped boost the A-League’s figures overall with attendances jumping by 16 per cent on last season, Fox Sports viewing audiences up by 25 per cent and club memberships climbing 17 per cent.
And the club’s price tag is likely to get a further mark-up if they can seal the premiership on the weekend or take out the Grand Final on April 21 qualifying Tony Popovic’s men for Asia’s showpiece club tournament.
This follows the announcement by Gallop that the A-League has regained its two automatic spots for the 2014 group stages of the Asian Champions League with a third team to go through the qualifying play-offs.
Gallop told the Australian Financial Review the Wanderers had surpassed expectations with a $1 million loss anticipated, less than the expected $1.5 million to $2 million forecast.