Sports Min­is­ter’s swipe: Why don’t you try win­ning a few more games


QUEENS­LAND footy clubs whinge­ing about a raw deal over sta­dium costs should fo­cus on win­ning games to bring back fans, says Sports Min­is­ter Mick de Brenni. He says the strug­gling Gold Coast Suns and Ti­tans are “ul­ti­mately re­spon­si­ble for their own destiny”.

SPORTS Min­is­ter Mick de Brenni has urged strug­gling Gold Coast foot­ball teams to worry more about win­ning on the field, and less about State Govern­ment fees.

In a thinly veiled swipe at the Gold Coast Suns and Ti­tans, Mr de Brenni stri­dently de­fended Sta­di­ums Queens­land, say­ing the body works “ex­tremely hard to en­sure their (clubs) on­go­ing suc­cess”. The com­ment fol­lowed rev­e­la­tions by The

Courier-Mail that the clubs were on the verge of walk­ing out on their deals with the venue man­ager. Anal­y­sis by The Courier

Mail re­veals each of the 250,000 tick­eted seats un­der the con­trol of Sta­di­ums Queens­land through­out their nine venues was used only 16 times on av­er­age last year across 174 ma­jor events.

“Ul­ti­mately each club is re­spon­si­ble for their own destiny. It is up to the clubs to de­velop a strong fol­low­ing through mar­ket­ing … and on-field per­for­mances,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Clubs with a win­ning for­mula can make a strong profit util­is­ing our sta­di­ums.”

Clubs are fed up with hir­ing costs of Queens­land venues, say­ing they are far more ex­pen­sive than in­ter­state.

Dif­fer­ent from other states how­ever, Queens­land charges only an up­front cost to venue hir­ers, al­low­ing them to take most of their ticket, cor­po­rate, food, drink and ad­ver­tis­ing sign rev­enue.

Both the Suns and Ti­tans have bat­tled de­clin­ing crowd num­bers – av­er­ag­ing just over 13,000 fans per home game last year and with nei­ther team fin­ish­ing above eighth in the past three years.

Mr de Brenni, who said he had tried to reach out to the teams in the past 12 months, said the State Govern­ment put more than $50 mil­lion into Sta­di­ums Queens­land last year alone, sav­ing venue hir­ers from sig­nif­i­cant costs. “Sta­di­ums Queens­land op­er­ates at a deficit,” he said, point­ing to the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s $28 mil­lion loss last fi­nan­cial year.

“That in­vest­ment in­cludes a sub­stan­tial operating sub­sidy each year, which is a sig­nif­i­cant offset to the costs that would oth­er­wise be met by hir­ers or spec­ta­tors.”

It is un­der­stood Sta­di­ums Queens­land will soon un­dergo a re­view with a di­rec­tion to make the nine sta­di­ums un­der its con­trol more com­mer­cial in na­ture go­ing for­ward.

The Govern­ment has also been put un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure with a $44 mil­lion wish list from ma­jor Queens­land clubs amount­ing to twothirds of the an­nual Sports and Recre­ation bud­get, which is spent pre­dom­i­nantly on chil­dren’s and grass­roots sports statewide.

Pro­pos­als for upgrades to Bal­ly­more and Al­lan Bor­der Field are be­fore the State Govern­ment, while clubs have an­nounced they are “supportive” of a new AFL fa­cil­ity in Spring­field for the Brisbane Lions.

Con­cerns have also been raised about the age­ing state of the Gabba af­ter Cricket Aus­tralia stripped a premier Test Match from the venue.

STRONG AD­VICE: Sports Min­is­ter Mick de Brenni says clubs’ on-field per­for­mance is why they are strug­gling for crowds, not govern­ment fees.

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