The NRL has announced their marketing campaigns have paid off and the competition has accumulated over 100,000 club members this year. This equates to an average of over 6,000 ticketed members per club, quite a number when you consider that many clubs were getting not much more in total through the gates around a decade ago.
So in a time where many are cutting back on unnecessary spending, why is the concept of club membership so appealing? Well, as David Gallop was pushing earlier in the year, being a member of your club is a relatively cost effective and quite valuable way to spend your entertainment dollar.
While a family could easily spend a couple of thousand dollars on a week long annual holiday, club memberships generally cost between $400 and $700 and provide 12 weekends of entertainment. On top of this most clubs offer members only events, adding more value to your original investment.
So membership packages can be perceived as good value for the fans, but why are they so important to clubs. Well for one they provide clubs with cash at a time when they are receiving very little- at the start of the season.
They also provide an opportunity for clubs to use this cash in clever ways. For instance, clubs can place the money they would usually get on game day into interest bearing accounts or use it to pay off debt, therefore reducing their financial burden. Membership is also the insurance policy against poor weather all clubs yearn for.
The NRL and some clubs have dropped the ball when it comes to attracting and retaining members in the past. I have a mate who was once a member of the Tigers just so he could get a decent seat in the grandstand at both Campbelltown Stadium and Leichhardt Oval. Once the Tigers moved games to ANZ he lost interest knowing he get a good enough walk up seat on most weekends.
The NRL also knows not having a fixed round by round schedule has also harmed clubs ability to secure members. If fans can