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.