Early indications are that Sydney FC is on track to recoup its massive outlay to bring Juventus and Italy hero Alessandro Del Piero to Australia's shores.
The two-time A-League champion caused a sensation and set the football family's pulses racing two weeks ago when it announced the acquisition of the man who has won just about everything the game has to offer.
Players of the calibre and stature of Del Piero do not come cheaply and Sydney is understood to have forked out $4 million for the privilege of obtaining his prized signature.
Del Piero's signing has been a major publicity coup and the club is already beginning to see some return for its investment and is quietly confident of getting its money back by the time the 2006 World Cup winner leaves in two years.
Sydney had its annual fan day at its home ground Allianz Stadium on Sunday where the squad was presented with its jerseys.
Not surprisingly, it turned out to be a Del Piero day.
Judging by the turnout of about 2500 fans eager to get a piece of the Italian star, Sydney would be more than justified in expecting its average gate of 13,000 for last season to rise considerably this time around.
A conservative figure of 20,000 is being bandied about.
Already the number of memberships has risen sharply since Del Piero's arrival. It stands at just above 8000.
With adult prices ranging from $200 to $475, it is not hard to understand that a large portion of the return for the club's investment will come from season tickets and matchday gate takings.
As with any professional sporting organisation anywhere in the world, another vital slice of revenue comes from the sale of merchandise.
After ordering 15,000 replica jerseys for the season, Sydney had to ask manufacturer Adidas to alter a high proportion of the stock by adding the name 'Del Piero' and the number '10' after the player's arrival was confirmed.
Del Piero jerseys were selling like hot cakes at the Allianz Stadium's official merchandise outlet on the morning of the fan day.
Almost 150 jerseys are believed to have been sold in a matter of a few hours and by the time Sydney plays its first home match of the season against Newcastle Jets on Saturday 13 October, the club will run out of jerseys and is expected to order an additional 15,000 to meet the demand for the rest of the season.
Especially if Sydney and Del Piero have a dream home debut and become strong challengers for the championship.
At $160 a pop it is also easy to recognise the importance of the sale of jerseys although it must be said that the money does not go entirely to Sydney.
It is shared around. Even Del Piero himself gets a cut.
The money machine does not stop there.
Sydney has sealed a back-of-jersey sponsorship deal with Destination NSW which came as a direct consequence of the club becoming more appealing to foreign broadcasters after Del Piero's signing.
Ever conscious of strengthening its image and brand abroad and taking full advantage of Del Piero's drawing power in Asia, the club is believed to be planning a tour of the continent in the coming off-season.
Del Piero is an icon of Italian football – up there with Paolo Maldini, Roberto Baggio and Paolo Rossi - and spent 19 years with Juventus, winning many trophies.
Del Piero's fame in Japan, China and Korea Republic knows no bounds and Sydney would be foolish not to try to cash in on the popularity of a man who has a third of a million Twitter followers.
The A-League's off-season is long enough to allow its 10 clubs to go abroad for preparation or fine-tuning but in this particular case Sydney would also benefit financially from appearance fees by taking its team to Asia.
Who knows, Juventus might even be invited to tour Australia in the European off-season and play Sydney.
Juve almost came to Australia three months ago but a proposed tour was cancelled due to the Bianconeri's Coppa Italia commitments, where they lost the final to Napoli.
It was the last time Del Piero played for his beloved Juve.
The mouth-watering prospect of 'Il Pinturicchio' playing against Juve for the first time would be a promoter's dream.
The Del Piero coup could have wider ramifications on the game in Australia if everything goes according to plan.
An audacious exercise that reaps its reward on and off the field of play would encourage other clubs to dare to dream.
It would also show that Australia, a safe country with a stable economy, a favourable weather and a quality of life to die for, does not need to feel so cut off from the rest of the world and can consider itself an attractive proposition for any world-class player looking for a new challenge.
There are many great players off contract out there who would dearly love to follow in Del Piero's footsteps if all goes well.
So there is a lot more riding on Sydney's coup than meets the eye.
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