Will the Gold Coast Titans ever be a success?

Mark Campbell Roar Guru

By Mark Campbell, Mark Campbell is a Roar Guru

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30 Have your say

    The Gold Coast region is an area that kills sporting teams. Death it seems does not only target rugby league. Aussie rules, basketball and football teams have all suffered in the past.

    At the moment the AFL is persisting with the Suns and the NRL is persisting with the Titans.

    Since the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants rushed inclusion for the 1988 season, rugby league has struggled to take advantage of the region.

    The Giants changed to the Seagulls. The Seagulls became the Chargers. The Chargers were left hanging dead by a peace deal. Apparently, the club had $1 million in the bank when this happened.

    The sense of injustice left a bad taste in the mouths of many. Michael Searle and Paul Broughton led the push for re-entry. The Queensland Government contributed by building the Stadium at Robina. If you ever get the chance to go to the ground, do so, it’s a great place to watch rugby league.

    The Titans were admitted into the NRL as the code’s 16th team, ahead of the Central Coast Bears. The future looked promising in 2007 as the Titans attracted great crowds and brought an energy to the game.

    Many thought the new team on the Gold Coast were going to break the trend of sporting franchises; they thought the Titans would be a success.

    Although the following season they came close to making the grand final, the global financial crisis almost crippled the club. Since then, the club has been through hell. Scandal has plagued the club, the club change administration, lost its centre of excellence, and most, unfortunately, lost its standing with the local community, and finally, the club ended up being owned and run by the NRL.

    Ashley Taylor Gold Coast Titans NRL Rugby League 2017

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    The NRL was not going to let the club die. The club is too important to the game. Meanwhile, on the Central Coast you can hear the Bears supporters say “if they chose us, this nonsense would not have happened”. Be that as it may, keeping the Titans alive is vital for the game.

    The area boasts a large participation rate and junior development system for the game. It is one of the game’s heartland areas. They must not let it go to the AFL.

    It is true that there are many distractions on the Gold Coast. The beach is the major one. Why go to the football when the surf is pumping? Why go to the football when its 30 degrees and not a cloud in the sky?

    Why go to the football when there’s too many pubs, bars, restaurants and members of the opposite sex to check out? The question people on the Coast are asking themselves is “why go to the football?”

    That is what the new Titans owners need to deal with. They need to respond to that question.

    The key is simple, and it’s the same with all clubs. Community engagement is king. Attend junior clinics, schools, business meetings, community meetings – the whole lot, but for the Titans; they are lucky where others are not. The Gold Coast is a tourist hub.

    Gold Coast Titans CEO Graham Annesley looks on during a press conference at Titans Headquarters at Parkwood on the Gold Coast, Monday, August 21, 2017. Annesley announced that Neil Henry has been sacked as head coach effective immediately.

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    The club needs to branch into the tourism market. Offer deals to away fans to entice them up to the Coast for the weekend when their team is playing. If they can tap into this market, then not only are local tourist up for grabs, but they could expand their reach.

    Asia is on our doorstep. Just open the door. Offer travel packages to the millions of Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and other nationalities that come to visit the golden sands of the Gold Coast.

    You are laughing at this suggestion. I get it. Too ambitious. Why would a Korean want to go to the footy? I’ll say this, why would an Australians want to go to the baseball when in America?

    The answer is simple. You want to experience authentic Americana as much as you can. The Gold Coast Titans should be promoting themselves to foreigners “Hey come and see the game that the Aussies play”.

    Do this, and with the right deals and promotions the tourist will come. The tourist will come in bucket loads. The tourists will spend their money, and what’s more, they may find themselves enjoying and loving the game.

    Overall, the new owners of the Titans will be busy. They need to set up a centre for their operation and training that is their own and not rented. They need to bed down their roots and cement themselves with the locals. They have the lowest membership in the NRL with 10,833 members. Not nearly enough.

    The population is over 500,000 and growing. If they obtain 10 per cent of the population as active fans that is 50,000 members. That is selling out Robina Stadium every week. Big goals for the new owners to achieve. If they do, then the Gold Coast Titans will be a super club.

    Are they up to the task?

    First Season: 2007
    Titles: None.

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    The Crowd Says (30)

    • Roar Rookie

      January 2nd 2018 @ 8:11am
      3_Hats SSTID 2014 said | January 2nd 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      The tourist angle for away fans is the way to go.
      They would need financial help from the local Gold Coast Government to offer such a package.

      Discounts on both Airfares and Hotel packages with bed and breakfast is the way to go.

      Play the game on a Saturday
      Fly up on Friday after work, see the sights on Friday Night and Saturday Morning,
      Go to the Footy Saturday afternoon/Night and see the sights/dinner Saturday Night.
      Late checkout on Sunday and fly home.Sunday afternoon.

      That is how I did it when Souths played up there in 2014.
      It was a great trip.

      The Titans largest Crowd is always against the Broncos.
      Their second largest Crowd is always against the Rabbitohs!
      Their third largest Crowd is against the Warriors

    • Roar Guru

      January 2nd 2018 @ 8:22am
      BigJ said | January 2nd 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      Of course the Titans can be successful, it takes time for a team to gel and the club has already been around for ten years. I think that people need a little reminder of how long it can take to win a title. Here is a list of teams that took longer than a decade to get the job done.

      Cowboys – 20 years in second attempt
      Sea Eagles – 25 years in six attempt
      Eels – 34 years and have been winless since yet nobody is questioning thier lack of success.
      And let us not forget that the Sharks took 50 years to get thier act together.

      Now to the Bears. The bears only won two titles back in 1921/22 close to a century ago and I’ll like to remind those fans that they were given the title as they finish on top of the table after the season finish there weren’t any grand finals played back in those days so they were gimmes at best. At then they had seventy years of not much going on. So for bears fans to say that the problems that the Titans are having would never happen at the bears is BS. They happened plus more, that’s the reason the bears were booted out after 1999 they were no longer a viable team and it was coming for a longtime. Sad as it was its the truth.

      The Titans will get there eventually, they have the talent. I would like to remind everyone that of the four loses that the Storm had last year only two teams beat them a full strength, the sharks and the titans in round ten that was a top five game for my mind.

      Its only been ten years, give the Titans five years or so to really get themselves together. Plus the writters idea of using it as a tourist destination with showcasing Australia’s is brilliant but would have to be corrected marketed to ensure that its not mistaken for the AFL.

      People just need to be patient, GO THE TITANS!!!!

      • Roar Guru

        January 2nd 2018 @ 10:11am
        Nat said | January 2nd 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

        Agreed Big J (HNY mate). A bit of continuity within the club and success will follow. Only with success will the crowds come back. I like the idea of showcasing the game to the tourists (I see they shuffled the Titans out of town during the Comm Games) with all the package offers or even throw in hats, shirts etc to maintain an engagement with the Titans brand. But all that is just cream as the coast has the population that will support a successful team.

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 3:29pm
        Peter Phelps said | January 2nd 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

        The new owners should bring some new ideas with them. You need a strong management team and a good back office before you can start dreaming of premierships. Get the business side on sound footings and the rest will follow.

      • January 3rd 2018 @ 5:18am
        Jeff Morris said | January 3rd 2018 @ 5:18am | ! Report

        Titans name isn’t great IMO. Why was the name chosen instead of say the Seagulls for example?

        • January 3rd 2018 @ 6:36pm
          terrence said | January 3rd 2018 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

          Jeff, I agree, Titans is a shocker, up their with the Storm/Giants/Suns for crappy Australian team names.

          Initially on their return to the NRL, they proposed ‘Dolphins’, but Redcliffe in the QRL went all ”trademark” on them (fair enough) and with the alliance with Tweed Heads ”Seagulls” no longer, that was a non-starter full-stop! Somehow the Titans was (somewhat illegibility) conceived and then birthed.

          Personally, when you think of the Goldy, what do you think? Surf, holidays, theme parks, bogans moving from other parts of Australia/NZ increasing the IQ of both the area they have arrived and left, transient population, no heart and soul, failure, bikie gangs, party drugs, try-hards, never were’s or were never gunna-be’s, nightclubs, tackiness, developers, white shoes, sagging facelifts, botox, poor hygiene, etc.

          So maybe the Gold Coast RLFC! Just that! That’s all! They might just understand that and get behind it!

          • January 3rd 2018 @ 11:36pm
            Rob9 said | January 3rd 2018 @ 11:36pm | ! Report

            It’s ironic that the Gold Coast’s superficiality is so quick to be judged yet those judging are doing nothing more than having a superficial look. Often times basing their thoughts on what they’ve heard, seen on the news or better yet- based off a footy trip or boys/girls weekend.

            There’s plenty of negative social characteristics associated with all Australian cities. Having lived and spent a bit of time in a few, while there may be some stereotypical elements present within some small factions, they by no means define these places- as anyone who’s willing to scratch a little deeper than the surface will attest.

            The list you’ve compiled here is typical of someone who’s watched ACA during schoolies. Poor hygiene I hadn’t heard though… I’ll be sure to put down two layers of TP around the seat on my next trip to Pacific Fair now!

            • January 4th 2018 @ 12:02am
              terrence said | January 4th 2018 @ 12:02am | ! Report

              Hear what you are saying Bob, but been there a few times over the past 30 years for relo visits (old retirees), very occasionally work (a week or so at a time, very enjoyable) and have had a few friends move there from Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne (and in some cases, move back to Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne).

              Yes, I might have been a little long winded and slightly harsh in my GC analysis, but most of those points I suggested would be given a tick from those relos/friends mentioned above who reside (or resided) there. I’m sure its on the improve, slowly.

              If I was you, I’d do the (indian at a uni) squat on the seat at Pacific Fair if you need to do an urgent grogan. Getting you hands that close to a public toilet seat is never a good idea. Though I’d be inclined not to visit the public rest rooms, anywhere!.

              • January 4th 2018 @ 12:49am
                Rob9 said | January 4th 2018 @ 12:49am | ! Report

                Terry, I’d give the tick of approval to most of your points. My wife works in the plastic (not cosmetic) surgery industry here and business is good. But while it’s no lie that there’s a white shoe brigade here like there’s bearded, double shot ristretto-sipping, rollie-smoking, sailor cap-wearing hipster crowd in Melbourne, neither place is defined or exactly overrun by them.

                And bogans are everywhere. I’m from the Shire (I swear I’m not one of those bogans)! We work with a team from Melbourne and were recently at a conference with them and many international visitors. Any of those visitors we had a drink with we were very explicit in our explanations of the internal cultural differences within Australia.

                Most of the other points aren’t really just confined to the Coast either- although I agree there’s an undeniable per capita concentration when it comes to cosmetic/plastic surgery. You may have had a point about an absent ‘soul’ and transient population but there’s been a definite shift in this regard in the last 20-odd years. There’s still high levels of migration to the area but the 90’s/early naughties wave of migration has entrenched itself and established a foundation for a feeling of community which needs to be present for a professional sports team to succeed. It sounds a bit tacky and cliched but you’ll see this sense of community at the Comm Games this year which will go a long way towards establishing and defining what the ‘real’ Gold Coast is all about.

                As Dorothy said, ‘there’s no place like home’- I’m sure that was in reference to taking a deuce…

        • January 4th 2018 @ 8:46am
          PGNEWC said | January 4th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

          Previous colours and name of Gold coast

          Gold Coast Giants Silver and Black
          Gold Coast Seagulls red black and white
          Gold Coast Gladiators aquamarine (I think) and purple

          Now Titans Blue and Gold — changing colours and names won’t and didn’t work — establishing a tradition and culture might

    • January 2nd 2018 @ 8:29am
      RandyM said | January 2nd 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      here we go, another article claiming the Titans must be selling out their stadium every week to be a success but the 9 Sydney clubs can get 16k to semi finals and thats ok…

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 11:21am
        Rob9 said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        Not that this article really attempts to do this but it’s a good point. Fans tend to judge this league’s newest club by a harsher set of criteria than the other 15 clubs (one of which is my club that has seen its fair share of turmoil).

        Low attendances isn’t exactly an issue that is confined to the Titans and there are and have been plenty of clubs with lower average annual attendances than the Coast. And the list of clubs with administrative and backroom dramas isn’t a short one either, even when looking at recent history.

        Hopefully the recent changes will set the Titans on a much more stable and sustainable course. No doubt there are challenges that come with expansion but if we’re setting the bar in a position that’s over the Titan’s head, half of the comp are coming up short too and it doesn’t say a lot for our game and product if it’s stakeholders deem a presence in a heartland and market like the Coast as unsustainable.

      • January 3rd 2018 @ 3:03pm
        terrence said | January 3rd 2018 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

        Gee RandyM, 9 Sydney clubs making the semi finals, that’s impressive considering it’s only a top 8 that makes the finals.

        And I keep hearing the NRL has a problem in Sydney! Obviously it doesn’t!

    • January 2nd 2018 @ 10:56am
      Brainstrust said | January 2nd 2018 @ 10:56am | ! Report

      The big issue for the Titans is the stadium deal, Sydney teams in contrast have ANZ stadium which pays them to play there, the Titans would have the most expensive deal per stadium seat in the country. The difference is the AFL only put on a team on the Gold Coast after making sure they negotiated a very enviable stadium deal along with the building of the new stadium.
      The population projections for the Gold Coast were such that it would overtake Adelaide, so the AFL sought to put a team for that reason, however it turned out the big population increases then occured in the major cities, so then the AFL brings in GWS and gives them priority over the Suns.
      The Gold COast is not a high income area, people move there for cheaper real estate compared to coastal living in major cities, its got mostly lowly paid service industry jobs, so it needs to have matching cheap ticket prices and a low cost basis. Fix the stadium deal by threatening to move the team elsewhere then the Qld government might change their policies, otherwise the team will be constantly in financial trouble.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 3rd 2018 @ 12:13pm
        3_Hats SSTID 2014 said | January 3rd 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

        The Rabbitohs have a deal with our Qld Members that when they buy a Rabbitohs Membership they also get tickets to all games in Qld as a part of their package.
        Robina, Suncorp, Barlow Park and 1300 you know the rest Stadium.

        Of Course, Members who reside in the South can choose only the 2 games at Suncorp and Robina while…
        The Members who reside in the North can choose just the 2 games in Cains and Townsville.
        A third choice is to choose ALL 4 games.

        The Rabbitohs are the most forward thinking club in the NRL when it comes to memberships, that is why we continue to break that 30k Members mark.

        Shane Richardson was the person who approached the NRL and the ANZ Management about those ANZ Reciprocal Rights Deals and those doubleheaders deals also!

        • January 3rd 2018 @ 12:37pm
          Rob9 said | January 3rd 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

          As a former Caringbah boy living on the Gold Coast, I can only speak for the Sharks, but they offer similar Queensland membership options. Was great having 2 SEQ Sharks games to go to last year!

    • January 2nd 2018 @ 10:57am
      Rob9 said | January 2nd 2018 @ 10:57am | ! Report

      I don’t know that a basing an attendance strategy around attracting international tourists to games has legs. What percentage of say a Yankees game would be made up of the international tourist market?

      I agree with the above that more should be done to leverage the domestic tourism market- that’s why I think a BBL team could be a great success here with half of Australia being on the Gold Coast during much of their 6 week season. But any attendance strategy really has to be focused on attracting home fans to games.

      Although CBUS is a great venue to watch from, its poorly located. I’m sure if the government had its time again, we wouldn’t have a Stadium built out at Robina. Especially now that the local strategy appears to be establishing a ‘CBD’ at Southport as opposed to the early naughties push of Robina becoming the Gold Coast’s heart which by-enlarge remains quite desolate. Hopefully the gradual but slower than originally expected transformation of the area, coupled with whenever the light rail arrives (which is a big one and hopefully come sooner than later) will have a positive impact.

    • January 2nd 2018 @ 11:46am
      Luke Skywalker said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

      how desperate.

      having to rely on tourists every home game.

      comparing Yankees to the titans? too funny

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 4:27pm
        Rob9 said | January 2nd 2018 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

        You’ve hopelessly missed the point of that Yankees comment.

        • Roar Guru

          January 2nd 2018 @ 5:31pm
          Nat said | January 2nd 2018 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

          Don’t bite Rob, this is the same joker they deleted yesterday and many times before that.

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 4:59pm
        Big Daddy said | January 2nd 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

        No luke they are going to ferry them down every home game because the locals won’t turn up.
        This is pipe dream stuff.
        And when the perth team gets going all the expat poms are going to come down from the mines.
        The inks not dry on the sale and we have all these grandiose dreams.
        Asian tourists have been coming to the gold coast for years and I haven’t seen too many at titans home games.

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 7:53pm
        Maddi Still said | January 2nd 2018 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

        Cmon Skywalker dont you know everyone on the Gold Coast lives and breathes Rugby League right from when they were born?
        Just like everywhere else in the world

        • January 3rd 2018 @ 12:22pm
          Rob9 said | January 3rd 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

          Yea cause that’s exactly what the articles about and the crux of all the comments since.

          Your tangents only put you 5 or 6 planets away, yet the rest of us on earth are still able to see that bee you have in your bonnet over all things rugby league.

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