Cats shoot for record

Ablett’s re­turn, more home games to lure new mem­bers

Geelong Advertiser - - SPORT - NICK WADE

GEE­LONG is dar­ing to be­lieve it will crack 60,000 mem­bers for the first time next year, fu­elled by more home games and the home­com­ing of Gary Ablett.

The Cats this year posted a record mem­ber­ship for the fifth con­sec­u­tive year, fin­ish­ing the sea­son with more than 56,000 paid-up sup­port­ers.

While Ablett’s re­turn could give the Cats a spike of up to 5000 mem­bers, it is the ad­di­tional two games at GMHBA Sta­dium that could prove just as in­flu­en­tial in at­tract­ing fans.

Gee­long has in­creased its mem­ber­ship steadily from a then record 42,884 in 2013 to 43,803 (2014), 44,312 (2015) and 52,195 last year.

The Cats also plan to sell up to 300 more so­cial club tick­ets this year — up from 2000 to 2300.

“We’re try­ing to get to 60,000 (mem­bers),” Gee­long chief ex­ec­u­tive Brian Cook said. “We got to 56,000 this year and we’d be quite ec­static if we could get to that num­ber.

“It’s still too early to tell how we will go com­pared to last year.

“We’re not com­par­ing ap­ples with ap­ples.

“Once we con­firm our so­cial club re­newals, we’ll prob­a­bly be in a bet­ter po­si­tion then.”

Cook said the club ex­pected a “bit of an Ablett push” but said the club set its 60,000 tar­get be­fore Ablett was signed — and had de­cided against re­vis­ing the to­tal.

“I think the nine games at GMHBA Sta­dium (up from seven this year) will have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on sales,” Cook said. “Even though (re­served seat hold­ers) will have to pay for those two ad­di­tional games, we think it will be a pos­i­tive for our mem­ber­ship this year.”

REVVED UP: Fans are ex­pected to flock to Gee­long mem­ber­ship next sea­son, crack­ing 60,000 for the first time.

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