The ACL has based its business model on the European equivalent- commercial rights are passed over to a central authority that distributes revenue from sponsorship and TV deals.
The must 'clean up' ensure their own sponsors at their stadia cannot be seen by television cameras and ACL sponsors. This is estimated to cost around $20,000 per match and is one of many expenses that mean teams struggle to make a profit or break even. An Australian team that is knocked out in the group stages of the competition is likely to make a loss.
In December 2011 Liaoning Whowin of China opted out of the competition because it did not want to have to endure the costs of the play offs (particularly if the club failed to make the competition proper) and there’s a common consensus that the only reason Australian clubs aren’t withdrawing from the competition is because they don’t wish to jeopardise their ‘brand value’.
Attendances for the matches are also fairly unimpressive.
Will an Australian team decides to risk its brand value by opting out of the competition to avoid the drain on resources, distraction from domestic competition and player fatigue?
Does the competition need restructuring and what would be a better business model?