Suns fear for their fu­ture

Queens­land Gov­ern­ment sta­dium fees crip­pling clubs

NT News - - SPORT - PETER BADEL and AN­DREW HAMIL­TON

AFL’S em­bat­tled Gold Coast Suns have ad­mit­ted they will not sur­vive un­less the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment slashes the ex­or­bi­tant sta­dium fees that are crip­pling the state’s big­gest sport­ing clubs.

The Suns’ stun­ning ad­mis­sion comes as the LNP last night launched an at­tack on Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk, claim­ing fans were be­ing ripped off and la­belling La­bor’s treat­ment of AFL, NRL, A-League and rugby clubs as a “de­ba­cle”.

As re­vealed yes­ter­day, the Gold Coast Ti­tans are weigh­ing up their long-term ten­ancy at Robina due to Sta­di­ums Queens­land hir­ing fees, which soared to $1.3 mil­lion last year.

The shock­waves have been felt by the Ti­tans’ ma­jor com­peti­tor on the Gold Coast, with Suns chair­man Tony Cochrane con­ced­ing for the first time that the cost of play­ing at Met­ri­con Sta­dium could bank­rupt the club. A News­corp in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed the Suns’ per­ilous fi­nan­cial po­si­tion and Cochrane fears ex­pen­sive SQ hir­ing fees could drive the fi­nal nail into the club’s cof­fin.

“Cer­tainly we as a club take our re­spon­si­bil­ity to the com­mu­nity se­ri­ously and these (sta­dium) costs are a mas­sive bur­den to our club which are not sus­tain­able,” Cochrane said. “The Gold Coast Suns wel­comes the Premier’s ini­tia­tive to find real so­lu­tions to this on­go­ing is­sue which is the heart of prob­lems fac­ing pro­fes­sional sport in Queens­land.

“We are very pleased to hear the Premier an­nounce a ma­jor shake-up of the SQ board.”

It can be re­vealed Queens­land at­ten­dances across the ma­jor foot­ball codes last year was 3.99 mil­lion. In the LNP’s last full year in power in 2013-14, that fig­ure was 4.46 mil­lion. It means al­most halfa-mil­lion fans have col­lec­tively de­serted Queens­land sport­ing out­fits the Bron­cos, Ti­tans, Cow­boys, Lions, Suns, Reds and Roar in the past five years.

The clubs are par­tic­u­larly con­cerned at the ris­ing cost of ticket prices be­cause of the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment im­pos­ing a tick­et­ing levy for game-day pub­lic trans­port ser­vices.

Suns re­search shows al­most 50 per cent of their sup­port­ers are pay­ing a levy on a Gov­ern­ment pub­lic-trans­port ser­vice they don’t use.

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