AFL report first operating loss in a decade

By Robert Grant,

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23 Have your say

    Millions spent on new clubs Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney has led to the AFL’s first operating loss in a decade. And figures released on Friday show that league boss Andrew Demetriou took a $400,000 pay cut last year.

    He banked $1.8million compared to $2.2million in 2010 when he received a long-term retention bonus.

    The AFL recorded a deficit of $23.6 million.

    AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said the rare loss would be quickly made up by anticipated profits over the next five years.

    “Our strategic focus on the long-term future of Australian football has positioned the AFL strongly for the next five years and beyond,” Fitzpatrick said.

    He said new television and digital media rights would be critical for financial growth in the near future.

    “These agreements will underpin the finances of the game from 2012-2016 which includes allocating more than $1 billion to AFL clubs under new equalisation and revenue-sharing arrangements.”

    Overall, the league recorded record revenue of $343 million – a two per cent increase – and an operating surplus of $234 million, up from $230 million.

    Clubs were provided with total funding of $159 million.

    Demetriou’s salary included a base payment of $1.4 million and a $400,000 bonus.

    In total the nine-member executive team earned $5.08 million in salaries and bonuses.

    The league also released other figures including:

    . Record participation – 791,178 from the previous mark of 751,015.

    . Record club membership- 650,373 compared to 614,251 in 2010.

    . Average attendance – 34,893 which puts the AFL in the top four in the professional sporting world.

    Last year’s total attendance for all matches from NAB Cup to the finals was 7,488,198, another new record. It also tops the 2010 figure, which was boosted by the grand final replay.

    Fitzpatrick said Demetriou’s wage package was justified by the success and growth of the game.

    “The AFL’s executive salary packages reflect this reality and reward the achievement of key targets whilst ensuring we retain our valued team,” Fitzpatrick said.

    Demetriou’s salary is still almost $1 million more than the game’s highest paid players.

    It is estimated Carlton’s Chris Judd, St Kilda’s Nick Riewoldt, Brisbane’s Jonathan Brown and Fremantle’s Matthew Pavlich were all paid between $900,000 and $1 million last year.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • February 18th 2012 @ 9:14am
      stabpass said | February 18th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Wookie will probably have more of a clue than me, but a couple of things,

      How much is in the future fund, will the AFL buy out Docklands, the new ‘cleanskin’ stadiums (Metricon, and Sydney showgrounds) how much was invested, and what sort of return will they give.

      • Roar Guru

        February 18th 2012 @ 12:48pm
        The_Wookie said | February 18th 2012 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

        Much of that wont be known until the full report is released – generally in march.

        The future fund at the end of 2010 had 59 million it. So if they’ve spent all that and still come up 23 million short, then who knows.

        Whatever information i have is on footybusiness, Its where i keep all the crap i keep looking up so I dont have to go back and find it again.

    • February 18th 2012 @ 9:24am
      stabpass said | February 18th 2012 @ 9:24am | ! Report

      Actually this article, gives a bit of info, 10 million went towards Skoda.

    • February 18th 2012 @ 10:08am
      Emric said | February 18th 2012 @ 10:08am | ! Report

      I don’t see much point in this article as nothing will change on the ground. The AFL will be flooded with cash from their new TV deal which will replace most of the losses – everything else is on the up and up – the AFL Commission has done a good job at running the game.

    • February 18th 2012 @ 12:01pm
      Cameron said | February 18th 2012 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

      The people in AFL Headquarters earn too much. If they all reduced their salaries to at least $400,000 or $500,000 a year, then I doubt very much that the AFL would have made a loss this year. Also, they would be able to help support teams that are struggling financially, like Port Adelaide, Richmond, Brisbane etc.

      • February 18th 2012 @ 12:10pm
        Jack Russell said | February 18th 2012 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

        Eh? How many executives do you think the AFL employ?

      • Roar Guru

        February 18th 2012 @ 12:12pm
        The_Wookie said | February 18th 2012 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        they already do help the teams that are struggling and manage and organise a sport with some measure of responsibility for 800,000 participants, plus employees and other hangers on, in an industry worth over a billion dollars a year. So the salary is probably in line with that to keep the top people from being stolen like Ben Buckley was to the soccer mob.

        • Roar Guru

          February 18th 2012 @ 12:14pm
          The_Wookie said | February 18th 2012 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

          Its reported in multiple outlets that the top 9 exectives earn a total of 5.03 million between them – if Demetriou earns 1.8 million, that leaves 3.3 million between the other 8…at around 412k a year. How nice of them to meet your expectation already

      • Roar Guru

        February 18th 2012 @ 8:50pm
        MyLeftFoot said | February 18th 2012 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

        Cameron –

        keep mindful, that unlike AFL players – the administrators/executive are in a global marketplace. With transferable skills.

        Keep mindful that the FFA set a standard in Australia (with Fed Govt funding for opex) and poached first John O’Neill from the ARU and then Ben Buckley (Demetriou’s number 2) from the AFL. That set the cat well and truly amongst the pigeons.

        Now, Spiro wishes us to believe that the Man Utd job was John O’Neill’s for the taking.

        What’s that tell you then of the responsibility that the AFL Commission has to pay global rates to ensure retention of performing key executives.

        Note too – how can you cancel out a $23 million loss from a reduction in pay to a group of exec’s earning collectively $5 million. The maths don’t work!!!!

    • February 18th 2012 @ 12:14pm
      Prince of B-Town said | February 18th 2012 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

      More losses to come. The next 5 years will see over $100 million lose. Hope the people of western sydney and Gold coast care because the struggling clubs won’t be happy when they are playing in VFL in front of 50,000 people and the 20,000 people from Gold Coast and Western Sydney couldn’t care about the richmonds, ports and north melbournes.

      • Roar Guru

        February 18th 2012 @ 12:31pm
        The Cattery said | February 18th 2012 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

        That’s a possible scenario, but a worst case scenario, probably the least likely of a range of possible scenarios.

      • Roar Guru

        February 18th 2012 @ 12:48pm
        The_Wookie said | February 18th 2012 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

        Not really possible, they’ve already projected an EXTRA $140 million more than they originally thought they were going to end up.

      • February 18th 2012 @ 3:05pm
        Plotter said | February 18th 2012 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

        Actually, Richmond is one of the biggest-drawing interstate clubs when they play in Queensland. Those of us living up here don’t really care who Brisbane or the Gold Coast are playing – it’s just great to have 23 opportunities to watch footy in the Sunshine State each year.

        I follow Geelong, and they are playing up here three times this year (including NAB Cup), whereas only two years ago there was no guarantee that they’d even visit Queensland in a given year. That’s great news for all footy fans here, and I’m sure footy followers in Western Sydney and Canberra feel the same way.

        • Roar Guru

          February 19th 2012 @ 9:24am
          The Cattery said | February 19th 2012 @ 9:24am | ! Report

          I was listening to SEN radio last night, and they were talking about Richmond’s huge supporter base, speculating that if Richmond ever managed two quasi-decent seasons, the MCG would be a virtual sell out every home game.

          • Roar Guru

            February 19th 2012 @ 9:37am
            The_Wookie said | February 19th 2012 @ 9:37am | ! Report

            And thats what the richmond rank and file would have you believe to. This is when we usually here about the 30 years without a premiership and still going strong crap that warps many a membership/attendance thread on football forums.

            • Roar Guru

              February 19th 2012 @ 9:48am
              The Cattery said | February 19th 2012 @ 9:48am | ! Report

              yes, but I believe there’s a bit of truth in it

              • Roar Guru

                February 19th 2012 @ 10:56am
                The_Wookie said | February 19th 2012 @ 10:56am | ! Report

                oh i believe it too…im just tired of being reminded of it lol

    • February 18th 2012 @ 3:14pm
      Republican said | February 18th 2012 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

      This current climate of expansion obsession that is perpetuated by the code cold war is fraught.

      It will all come tumbling down soon enough I believe. What i find incredulous is many supposed experts within the rank and file of the AFL, amongst others, are already talking more than prematurely, about options for the next expansion, like NZ.

      What a preposterous notion NZ is. Honestly the bankers who are responsible for the governance of our elite leagues today are of the same breed as those responsible for the GFC.

      GFC mark 2 is nigh which may well have a positive sobering effect on all these soul sucking commercial top down vandals, who’s only criteria to growing sporting ‘brands’ is the bottom line commercial one, while their agendas are along way from being altruistic, despite their rhetoric, I assure you.

      • Roar Guru

        February 19th 2012 @ 9:36am
        The_Wookie said | February 19th 2012 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        who the hell bought up NZ? You did. None of us have talked about it in this thread, the Op doesnt refer to it – Im kind of begining to believe your a troll. This was nothing more than a rant against Kiwi expansion.

        • February 19th 2012 @ 2:46pm
          Plotter said | February 19th 2012 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

          Republican has a massive issue with overseas expansion. Demetriou mentioned China yesterday as the likely first overseas premiership match. I have no problem with clubs or the league taking games off-shore. Hell, I would have loved it when I was living overseas!

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