SUNS ROAR AT LYON
Suns boss hits back over claims to shut down Coast
GOLD COAST CEO Mark Evans has hit back at former Fremantle coach Ross Lyon for suggesting the AFL should axe the Suns saying “no-one in their right mind” would think one less game for broadcasters per weekend is a good thing.
Lyon said the competition should be reduced to 17 teams with the Suns – who received $27.5 million and an assistance package with extra draft picks and recruiting zones from the AFL last year – to get the chop to take financial pressure off traditional clubs.
But Evans is having none of that talk.
GOLD Coast CEO Mark Evans has hit back at former Fremantle coach Ross Lyon for suggesting the AFL should axe the Suns, saying “no one in their right mind” would think one less game for broadcasters each weekend is a good thing.
Lyon said the league should be cut to 17 teams with the Suns – who received $27.5 million and an assistance package with extra draft picks and recruiting zones off the AFL last year – dumped to take financial pressure off traditional clubs.
“If we look at the expansion teams, and I admire what has been done with Gold Coast and GWS, but I think it might be – if we just drill into Gold Coast – are they, for what we’ve pumped in, are we getting return on investment there?’’ Lyon said on Channel 9’s Footy Classified.
“And are foundation clubs maybe missing out and under real pressure now?
“With one less club you could have a 32-game season (with every team playing each other twice).
“And then you could put marquee games up and service southeast Queensland and really establish it and then maybe bring it (the Suns) out of hibernation and go again.”
Evans (pictured), who announced the club would stand down up to 80 per cent of its staff during the competition lockdown, said cutting teams would cost the AFL money.
“I know the ninth game (due to having 18 teams) and the broadcast value that brings. Right now, with people not coming to the football and spending money, the broadcast revenue is even more important,’’ Evans said. “There’s no one in their right mind who would suggest that we want to reduce the content for broadcast, given our reliance on that to get through this period of time.
“No one in this world would suggest reducing TV content for right now.
“No one is this world would who has an eye to economics would talk about reducing the market where there are 13 million Australians in NSW and
Queensland. Why would you walk away from that?”
Evans said the AFL’s investment into Queensland was working, with the state having 280,000 participants in the code compared to the 100,000 when the Suns were founded.
“I know all of the things that we need to do to stabilise the ship but I also say into the future, Queensland and NSW possibly become more important than they were 12 months ago,’’ he said.
Evans said it was the Gold Coast’s intention to bring back all the stood-down staff once the competition resumed but it did not make the task easier.
“It’s been a difficult time for everybody here as it has been in the community,” he said.
“Very strange and surreal to tell staff and players that the season was on hold and for most of those staff to be temporarily stood down.
“We have to be incredibly nimble and agile to get back to full speed as soon as possible.’’
He said some Sus players had told him they would “play for nothing” until the competition got back on its feet.