A-League clubs needing inspiration? Look no further than new MLS outfit LAFC, which has successfully forged a fan-driven club at a brilliant, tech-savvy boutique home stadium.
LAFC (co-owner is SNL and movie comedian Will Ferrell) was announced in 2014. It gave LAFC four years to prepare for its MLS bow in 2018.
This allowed the fans' culture to sprout and grow well before MLS game one.
LAFC has dazzled in its first two years in the MLS before - like the A-League - COVID-19 shut down play earlier this year.
On the pitch, roared on by its “3252", LAFC from the Western Conference made it to the MLS finals in its first season in 2018.
LAFC signed YouTube TV as it’s front of shirt sponsor and the newly minted local derby against LA Galaxy has become one of the city's must-see sporting events an a major crowd drawer in the MLS.
The MLS is much bigger in size than the A-League (11 clubs currently versus a staggering 26 in the MLS with more clubs in the pipeline) with new franchises such as LAFC sparking growth on and off the park.
Atlanta United, Inter Miami, and Seattle Sounders (who joined MLS in 2009 and is owned by another celebrity comedian Drew Carey) and others including LAFC have benefited from a strong expansion policy and vision at the MLS.
Furthermore, the MLS club is part of an LA sports task force that meets weekly for all sports in the city to help improve the fan experience and address stadia operating issues.
“We’re all in the same business,” adds Lau. “So we want to collaborate and have a unified front. We have to be cohesive.”
As A-League football seeks a way forward post-COVID-19, it’s time for our league - and its current and future clubs - to grasp the fundamentals of how to run a successful A-League club within each city in Australia.
"MLS has done a great job of curating the markets that we need to be in.
"Don Garber [MLS Commissioner] has done a great job and curating is the right word," says Lau.
"All the markets the MLS are in are very logical and make a lot of sense. Inter Miami [co-owner David Beckham], we love those guys and we've collaborated with them.
"Cincinnati, Seattle, and Portland ...
"The league, the MLS, they got it dialed in, man."
For A-League clubs wanting to know how it's really done, LAFC would be a prime place to start.