How important are the members

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How important are the members Empty How important are the members

Post by Bobbafet on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:00 am

I wasn't sure where to post this so if it is in the wrong place apologies and mods please feel free to remove it.

I was checking out the annual returns of the NAFC and noticed the annual income from members was $161k. Compared to the $7m revenue from Gaming even when you add in the matchday revenue it seems a paltry amount and beggars the question, how important are the members and walk on supporters to any club?

Most members / fans see themselves as the heart of the club, but in these financial driven times do the accountants take the same view?

The over riding factor for the board is to ensure the club is profitable. Many fans see it in a different light and judge the board as "only in it for themselves". Many forget that for the board to make money the club has to make money, effectively securing the future of both.

With sponsorship, membership and matchday revenue making up such a small percent of the total income, the football and on field success almost become incidental.

The loyal fan yearns for on field success, driven by passion for their club. The accountant, unfortunately, doesn't necessarily share that view.

Would North Adelaide cease as  an entity if it had no fans or members? The financial statement suggests not and there lies the dilemma for the everyday fan.

Is it possible that it also explains why North haven't won a premiership in more than 20 years?

Off field success and on field success, unfortunately, don't necessarily go hand in hand.

The members of course have the right to express their feelings and flex their muscles at the AGM where directors are offered up for re-election and new candidates can throw their hat into the ring. But whoever is elected their prime objective must be the ongoing survival and future of the club.

Whether the club could survive without the income from gaming is doubtful and that un itself ensures the fan will always feel unappreciated.
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Post by oldfella on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:36 am

Well written and provides a view point difficult to argue with - is sad but true sign of the times?
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Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:56 am

Clubs like the sanfl and most community based sporting and other clubs (like surf lifesaving etc) are about the people who support them. The most obvious level of support is the member.

I think it is about finding a balance between the commercial realities and accommodating the people. Without both in reasonable balance you can have a prosperous club without any culture or soul, or one with a lot of the latter but suffering financially.

The Blues plight in this respect has been well documented. We still run on the smell of an oily rag in many respects, but to a reasonable degree it is the people who have stepped in to fill the breach in volunteering to do many of the menial tasks that some clubs my not have to do (eg: erecting fences and sponsors signs on match day as one example).

That is just something specific to Sturt, but all clubs grapple with this in one way or another. Sometimes the balance is a little off and sometimes a lot.

However, all community based clubs don't have the huge corporate dollar that AFL, Cricket Australia, NSL etc as national comps can command. They of course have their own financial issues, but their isn't a hell of a lot of "community" about them either. Fans come from all over the place and I imagine their is proportionately less reliance on volunteers.

It would make an interesting thesis looking at the balance between 'Community Club' aspects v 'Corporate Dollar' pressures.
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Post by Ben W on Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:46 pm

Very good topic and one that probably raises more questions than answers!

I have been a member of the Penrith Panthers Leagues Club, I usually renew the membership when I planning a holiday to NSW. The cost of the membership is some trifling amount and each year a free drinks card to the value of the membership was given to members. I was told there are 200 000 Poker Machines in Australia and over 90 000 of them are in NSW. For those that have not been across to NSW, the law is that in order to play a local machine you have to be a "member" of the club. Residents in Penrith or local suburbs cant attend the Penrith club if they are not members. People who live on the other side of town or interstate can however and must sign in at the reception with proof of address.

Essentially Penrith need members because by law the number of Poker Machines that they have - 800 at last count, is dependant on the number of members that they have. Members get half price meals, drinks, cheap accomodation, invites to shows like Jerry Lewis and stuff all the time to keep them interested. What the average punter thinks of the actual NRL side of the club is anyones guess.

In the case of the SANFL, if the clubs did not have members then the club cant legally exist as its "not for profit" and has a constitution and so on. I am not sure of how few members a club has to have to become insolvent, yet its my guess that its largely in this area alone that the club relies on members toward profit. The other area being the fact that the members run the club and billet junior players and every other thing that goes on outside of what happens outside of just game time! - Even then its largley the members that make sure the stewards positions and statistics positions are filled and so on!
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Post by Lee on Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:19 pm

Great discussion and perfect for this forum.

A really good analysis so far, with different issues at North and Sturt.

I'll post more as soon as I can.
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Post by Bobbafet on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:10 pm

COTWWG, totally agree, many clubs rely heavily on volunteers to maintain the matchday experience for the fan.

But this argument only reinforces the point I made. Without volunteers the club would be forced to employ staff, which in turn would simply add cost to the football element of the profit and loss.

Having said all of that, there is a paradox with North, having invested a substantial amount of the profit generated from gaming revenue into a football facility
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Post by Captain Centrals on Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:49 pm

Clubs are built on memberships and a healthy base of volunteers. There also needs to be some connection and identification with the local community. This is my basic philosophical view.

But club success is measured in premierships.

So it might be interesting to see if there is any correlation with membership/volunteer figures and premierships.

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Post by Bobbafet on Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:56 pm

The last 10 years would suggest not CC. Norwood, Port, Glenelg all get better match attendances than Centrals and without checking I would think they all have a bigger membership base.
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Post by countrycousin on Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:32 pm

I guess if you look at any SANFL club's Profit and Loss Statement today. Particularly if, like me, you come from an earlier era. The thing that strikes you is the way in which gaming venues have distorted the way clubs function. I look at the enormous gap in revenue, between what gaming machines contribute and what members do and shake my head. Just from the figures at one club. (I doubt that it varies much across the competition) Gaming venues account for 83% of Gross Revenue, while membership fees are 2%. Does this reflect the true value of members? Of course not. Members provide the volunteers. Members buy the clubs' merchandise, sell their raffle tickets, join coterie groups, become board members and so on. Members have sons who may go on and become players. Poker machines just sit there, swallowing and regurgitating money. Without members you don't actually have a club as such. Just another money-making (Sometimes money-losing) business. This is the reason that (In my own peculiarly idiosyncratic way) I refuse to call outfits like the GWS Giants and the Gold Coast Whatevers clubs. To me they lack the essential elements of clubs as I've always known them. They're just business franchises like Subway or McDonalds. And, of course for me, the defining difference is members. There, I've had my little rant. I feel better now. How important are the members 2343124779
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Post by testy on Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:54 pm



Countrycousin would you regard the Adelaide Crows as the same as GWS or the Gold Coast. (ie similar to a franchise) ?

To me they are no different than these 2 clubs, they lack the essential elements of clubs also. They count there 40,000 season ticket holders as members, there not members, they don't have voting rights that members of traditional clubs have.
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Post by countrycousin on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:51 pm

testy1 wrote:

Countrycousin would you regard the Adelaide Crows as the same as GWS or the Gold Coast. (ie similar to a franchise) ?

To me they are no different than these 2 clubs, they lack the essential elements of clubs also. They count there 40,000 season ticket holders as members, there not members, they don't have voting rights that members of traditional clubs have.
Good question and I admit that I picked on GWS and Gold Coast, mainly because they're soft targets and I'm not likely to upset too many people here. Wink But also because they are Limited Companies under the Australian Corporations Act 2001 and thus different legal entities from SANFL domestic clubs, which are incorporated under the S.A. Associations Incorporation Act. But you're right, from a practical standpoint Adelaide Football Club members are in basically the same situation ie. they have no say. The whole situation with AFL "clubs" generally (Even the original ones like Collingwood, Carlton etc) has become rather confused over the past few years. Here's an article I found which sheds a bit of light on this. I can't vouch for its accuracy, but the author is a lawyer, so he should be better informed than an old retired accountant like me. Laughing
http://www.backpagelead.com.au/afl/3609-afl-club-members-who-fares-best
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