With many Sydney based clubs already struggling financially, the growth in memberships comes at an ideal time. The National Rugby League has also offered a $50,000 carrot to the team that can achieve the 10,000 ticketed membership figure first.
South Sydney lead the chase to the 10,000 member barrier, (Souths currently have 9160 members) and they are followed closely by St George Illawarra (9074) and the Bulldogs at (9051).
The big movers have been the Parramatta Eels who have gone close to doubling their member number this season, currently sitting at (6076). Also recording a gain the Cronulla Sharks moved to (2051) members which is a 21 percent rise on last year.
The Bunnies and Bulldogs in particular have had good marketing programs behind their memberships in the past few years. Always heavily supported, the Bulldogs have been focused on smashing the 10,000 barrier and over at Souths, since Crowe and Holmes a Court got on board they have made the 10,000 figure a priority as they like most clubs understand the importance and financial benefits strong membership rosters bring.
But in reality, these figures need to be much, much higher.
In a good move for 2010, several clubs have renamed the various membership types. While in the past there were ‘Season Ticket Holders’ and ‘Supporter Club Members’ – these are now being called ‘Ticketed Members’ and ‘Non Ticketed Members’.
A ticketed member is a member that pre-pays for seats at every home game and a non-ticketed member is a club supporter, without buying access to every game. Both memberships help the club and offer options to supporters who live long distances away and don’t need to attend every game.
When you compare the loyalty and amount of memberships the AFL clubs boast, it really makes the NRL base look decidedly puny.
Here are some club membership figures from the leading AFL teams:
Adelaide Crows: 51,000+ members
West Coast Eagles: 46,000+ members
Freemantle: 44,000+ members
Collingwood: 39,000+ members
When you compare these kind of figures, you realise that NRL fans need to seriously get on board and buy a membership to their footy club. Even if you live a long distance from your club, you don’t need to be a season ticket holder – simply purchase a membership to the Footy Club for a few bucks and help your team grow.
If you want to join, simply go NRL.COM/MEMBERSHIP and get on board with your club.