AFL financial reports highlight wealth divide

The_Wookie Roar Guru

By The_Wookie, The_Wookie is a Roar Guru

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    Its finance reporting season for AFL clubs and the annual reports are in for all but St Kilda, and so we gain an excellent snap shot of the current economic climate amongst Victorian clubs.

    We can’t produce the same across non-Victorian clubs due to the way those clubs are operated. Adelaide, Port and Brisbane (and I believe Sydney) do produce individual annual reports, but the WA clubs, and the new boys on the Gold Coast certainly dont at this time. Further, St Kilda haven’t supplied an annual report yet.

    Memberships were up across Melbourne, with 25,000 members added to the 2010 tally taking numbers to 425,756. Seven out of ten Victorian clubs recorded increases, with Collingwood taking out top spot with an increase of more than 17,000.

    At the bottom of the ladder, the Saints dropped more than 6,000 members. Collingwood, Hawthorn, Carlton, Essendon and Richmond round out the top five clubs for membership – all with more than 40,000 members.

    To attendances, and these were also up across Melbourne with 25,000 more people going through the gates than in 2010 and total attendances in Melbourne and Geelong exceeding 4.3 million.

    The big movers in 2011 were Richmond, Carlton and Essendon recording net gate increase of more than 50,000 attendees.

    Collingwood still reigned supreme almost 90,000 clear of the Blues in second place. Bringing up the rear Melbourne dropped 70,000 at home, but the spoon goes to the Bulldogs and North, both under 300,000 attendees.

    To revenue, and its Collingwood and daylight. The Pies turning over 75 million this year, more than 24 million clear of the second-placed Bombers. Hawthorn and Geelong round out the top 4 there.

    North Melbourne haplessly bring up the rear on 26 million, 12 million below the league average (38 million for vic clubs). Victorian clubs raised more than $400 million in revenue in 2011.

    Its been widely reported than nine AFL clubs have made a loss this year, but in terms of operations only two Melbourne clubs (North and St Kilda lost money). Four clubs made profits of more than a million dollars. (Collingwood made more than $2 million).

    When write offs and depreciation are factored in, three clubs made a loss, including Hawthorn (albeit narrowly). The addition of AFL and Australian Sporting Foundation Grants almost certainly means two more clubs made a loss when these are taken out.

    Total profit for the Melbourne clubs is more than $7 million, and more than $12 million after consolidation.

    In marketing and sponsorship revenue, Collingwood remain top earning $22 million, Richmond, Essendon and Geelong on around $15 million.

    Melbourne, North Melbourne and the Bulldogs fall way down on $8 million each. More than $123 million in sponsorship was raised in Melbourne across 10 clubs with an average of more than 12 million.

    Revenue from Membership and gate receipts topped $100 million, Collingwood clear winners as expected with more than $16 million from members alone. Geelong, Richmond, Carlton and Essendon rounding out the top end, while North struggled with less than $6 million. The league average in Melbourne was over 10 million.

    Gaming revenue is a tricky one, and most clubs include this with their social club takings – including hospitality and beverages. Most clubs in Melbourne average $3-4 million in gaming revenue.

    Ironically, the biggest gaming beneficiary is Brisbane taking more than $12 million from pokies in 2011. North has no gaming revenue at all.

    Melbourne clubs spent more than 170 million on their football departments in 2011, and even North managed to spend 15 million on theirs in 2011. Collingwood way out in front at 19 million, Geelong, Essendon and Carlton not far behind.

    Theres a lot of positives in the annual reports for clubs. Some have debts, but they appear to be entirely manageable, and for the foreseeable future the clubs finances are backed by the AFL.

    North and the Bulldogs remain causes for concern, they just appear to have no strong support either in the crowd or corporate sectors. As long as this remains the case, their future will be called into question by the waiting vultures, equalisation fund be damned.

    On the flip side, that Collingwood benefits from the fixture more than any other club cannot really be a question any more.

    Not that it’s Collingwoods fault – every club wants to play them and theres only a certain number of AFL games that melbourne clubs can play interstate, for which the Pies generally do meet the average.

    Hawthorn continues to be a financial powerhouse, with a reported $20 million sitting in the bank, developments in Tasmania and New Zealand, and a feisty board.

    I don’t think theres any coincidence that guys like Eddie McGuire and Jeff Kennett are – or were in Jeff’s case – at the helms of two of Australias most prosperous football clubs.

    Carlton, Essendon and Richmond are begining to perk up again, and this is reflected in their memberships and astonishing increases in crowds.

    Essendon and Carlton in particular will be wondering if they can the MCG for home matches when their current deals expire. Carlton are already selling out Docklands for matches against non victorian clubs.

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    The Crowd Says (97)

    • Roar Guru

      January 13th 2012 @ 7:36am
      The_Wookie said | January 13th 2012 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      I should note that theres a more complete list breakdown and links to the annual reports at:

    • January 13th 2012 @ 8:25am
      Tony said | January 13th 2012 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      Cue the AFL-haters………..

      • January 13th 2012 @ 7:24pm
        Titus said | January 13th 2012 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

        Good thing they weren’t paying Tax I guess, other wise there would be a few more losses.

        • Roar Guru

          January 13th 2012 @ 8:25pm
          The Cattery said | January 13th 2012 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

          You don’t pay tax on losses!!

    • Roar Guru

      January 13th 2012 @ 8:39am
      Redb said | January 13th 2012 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      Watch Essendon climb to the top of the financial pile within the next 3 years. Back to where we belong.

    • January 13th 2012 @ 8:50am
      LK said | January 13th 2012 @ 8:50am | ! Report

      Hang about, don’t North have “Roobet” or whatever it is called? They don’t make any money from that? Not a cracker? Interesting…

      • Roar Guru

        January 13th 2012 @ 9:01am
        The_Wookie said | January 13th 2012 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        can only go by whats listed in the reporting. Its possibly listed under sponsorship income. Gaming income is typically pokie machine related

      • January 13th 2012 @ 9:40am
        stabpass said | January 13th 2012 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        ‘Norf’ do not have a single poker machine. and do not intend to get any.

        • Roar Guru

          January 13th 2012 @ 10:26am
          The_Wookie said | January 13th 2012 @ 10:26am | ! Report

          they did have up to a few years ago, but sold them to Etihad Stadium apparently

    • Roar Rookie

      January 13th 2012 @ 9:26am
      Neotraveler said | January 13th 2012 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      I wonder if you would classify the Roos as a straggler or a battler on those numbers? Either way they have a massive amount of ground to make up. I suppose they’re safe until the end of the current TV rights deal. But surely if they haven’t made significant steps forward by then I’d be cranking up the ‘Tassie it’s time’ campaign again if I lived down south. When does the Hawks deal run out down there?

    • Roar Guru

      January 13th 2012 @ 9:31am
      The Cattery said | January 13th 2012 @ 9:31am | ! Report

      Nice summary Wookie.

      It’s no secret that Collingwood is now a financial powerhouse, but the gap between them and clubs like North and the dogs is truly astonishing.

      It’s worth noting that North and the dogs were two of three clubs that joined in 1925. It took North 50 years to win their first premiership (winning another 3 since), while the dogs are stuck on a solitary premiership, and this history is central to where the two clubs are at now. In the case of North, they hail from a tiny inner-city suburb sandwiched between clubs like Essendon and Carlton, it’s inevitable that they would struggle for support.

      Hawthorn was the 3rd club to join in 1925, won thier first premiership in 1961, then won a further 8 between 1971 and 1991, and have thus been able to break out of the late-comers category into the powerhouse category.

      They are cashed up, and are the first club to ever have invested some money overseas in the pursuit of playing talent – it will be interesting to see where that ends up.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 13th 2012 @ 9:50am
        Neotraveler said | January 13th 2012 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        After all that success weren’t the Hawks still shot financially at the end of ’96? They nearly merged…

        • Roar Guru

          January 13th 2012 @ 10:01am
          The_Wookie said | January 13th 2012 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          Yes, and had to be rescued by Don Scott and his followers in those dark days. The Hawks have come a long way since then.

          They’ve shown how to deploy interstate, with development and media all over Tasmania. If North had done the same thing on the Gold Coast or Canberra or Sydney, then odds are that they’d be in a similar position. They havent lacked for opportunity.
          The Bulldogs have been saddled with one of the lowest income zones in Melbourne, with a very high foreign population – I lived in Footscray when I was younger – and have been beset with home ground issues for a while.

          • January 13th 2012 @ 10:36am
            Australian Rules said | January 13th 2012 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            Hawthorn’s resurgence to powerhouse is genuinely impressive.

            They have captured Tasmania beautifully and must be the only sporting team in the world who has a State Government as their major sponsor. Not bad.

            I feel for them a bit because they have been cruelled by the 2012 fixture. Despite their on and off-field success, they have been given only 2 Friday night games (Geel, Coll) and the rest of their Melb homes games are on a Sunday against interstate teams. This massively affects gate-takings and thus revenue. Compare that to Collingwood’s home games against Geel, Carl, Ess, Haw, Rich, St K and Melb… $$$.

            • Roar Guru

              January 13th 2012 @ 10:52am
              The_Wookie said | January 13th 2012 @ 10:52am | ! Report

              a lot of that has to do with broadcaster demands too. hawthorn are more and more getting the same treatment Adelaide and Perth fans have had for some time.

        • Roar Guru

          January 13th 2012 @ 4:18pm
          Redb said | January 13th 2012 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

          Poor management by Hawthorn to not capitalise on that sustained period of success. These days most clubs are far better at making hay whilst the Sun shines. They have a big base. North aren’t so lucky.

          • January 27th 2012 @ 11:21am
            Beny Iniesta said | January 27th 2012 @ 11:21am | ! Report

            Their sustained period of success has (as it does for all clubs) translated into increased adult memberships 10-20 years down the line.

            Its no surprise that Hawthorn has experienced a resurgence since the dark days of 1996, a young army of Hawks fans is now buying adult memberships in droves that they weren’t before.

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