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A Membership Culture

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by simon64, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. simon64

    simon64 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    +1,987 / 25
    Before I even get started, let me just say that being a member is everyone's personal decision.

    I'm not here to criticise anyone for their decision to either be or ot be a member.

    But I remember hearing that in the AFL club membership is far more entrenched. The NRL have only recently started the push to build member numbers. I, myself have only been a member for 3 years, but I love it.

    A quick search shows that membership numbers just for the Melbourne based AFL clubs is about 450,000. NRL membership in Sydney is running at about 120,000.


    Even the Swans have over 35,000 members !!

    I just wonder how the AFL developed such a culture and if there's anything the NRL can do to get similar member totals.
  2. Fluffy

    Fluffy Well-Known Member

    +3,481 / 128
    SFA else to do in Melboring
  3. AshfieldBazza

    AshfieldBazza Active Member

    +57 / 0
    The AFL has been big on club membership
    for a long time. It will take alot of years for the
    the NRL to get anywhere near the numbers the
    AFL have now. The number of people who go
    to AFL games in Melbourne would be alot more than NRL in Sydney too
  4. eagles2win

    eagles2win Well-Known Member

    +494 / 0
    It's interesting to see how the AFL clubs treat there fans (not paid up members) it basically forces them to become members.

    I'd imagine the NRL will go down the same route eventually.
  5. 6/71

    6/71 Well-Known Member

    +207 / 3
    lolwut? How?
  6. StuBoot

    StuBoot Well-Known Member Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +788 / 7
    Good thread and leads to discussion.

    My take from a personal view

    I'm 45, the youngest of three boys and have three kids - 22 (girl), 8 (girl) & 3 (boy)
    I've grown up watching & going to the footy from a young age.
    Dad - Wests, one btother - Saints, me and the eldest -The Mighty Sea Eagles so we spent Sundays watching all 3 grades at various venues around Sydney.
    BUT we all played soccer on Saturdays and Dad played bowls.

    AFL's major day was Saturday and still is somewhat.

    I still play soccer now and most of the banter amongst us is about the NRL / Fantasy Teams etc.

    In my association alone there are 23 All Age divisions, 7 of over 35 and 4 of over 45. So how many dads are playing rather than watching?

    Is this comparable to Melbourne? Don't know, don't really care.

    What I'm getting at is maybe the AFL Membership thing is more entrenched because they've grown up watching games on a Saturday as opposed to playing.

    I've only recently ( 6 years ) been a member but made made sure I took my eldest daughter to games at Brookie through the dark days so our bums on seat could be counted as part of "the criteria" post SL knowing we did our bit. We get to about 3-4 home games a year now but she goes a bit more with friends as she's grown up with it.

    I could speculate further but...
  7. MissKate

    MissKate Well-Known Member Premium Member

    +1,017 / 7
    I blame the media to a big degree, they are so negative about most things nrl, it is no wonder parents don't want their kids involved. In Melb the media love all things afl, the media defend the afl. Total opposite to the Sydney media who have mastered the art of turning anything positive about nrl into something negative
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Masked Eagle

    Masked Eagle Well-Known Member

    +976 / 0
    Membership in the AFL only really started in the 1980s, check how they were going for the rest of that decade an into the 90s. It was only really then that they picked up and have been growing ever since. If the league took that seriously in the 80s we'd be around those figures now, but unfortunately clubs didn't pay the required attention to it because they were drunk off leagues club funding and didn't think that would ever end.


    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    +1,714 / 80
    AFL membership is massive because the games are so well attended. Members get the best and preferential seating, which is not a problem in half full NRL games.

    You have to be a member to get a seat at the good games.

    The Reds rugby in QLD has 25000 members, primarily for the seating advantages.
  10. EagleBoi13

    EagleBoi13 Well-Known Member

    +135 / 0
    lived in Melbourne 10 years now; AFL is everywhere. It astounds me how Victorians embrace this mediocre game. Good on them I say but its fkn annoying when you pick up a newspaper and there is 20 pages on AFL and nothing on other sports
  11. Duff

    Duff Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +531 / 8
    I think it's the seage mentality that has worked so well on a club level for Manly that the AFL have on a whole.
    It's their game. Nobody else cares about it so they have to defend it, nobody else will. It feeds off its own insecurities. They call it Australian rules football to stir up some kind of collective feeling of ownership and responsibility. The media have bought into it.

    We don't have that attitude in Sydney. It's a more arrogant, less supportive, less inclusive city. It's not that there's less to do in Melbourne, quite the opposite. Sydney people seem to go to the beach if it's sunny and to the shops if it's raining. The minute you want to charge entry fees or put a timeslot on things, Sydney loses interest.

    It just seems that it's easier for Sydney people to watch from afar rather than get involved.
  12. Masked Eagle

    Masked Eagle Well-Known Member

    +976 / 0
    Below is the AFL membership list for the AFL club I support going back to 95. The Might Hawks! As you can see despite memberships being part of the AFL for a lot longer then the NRL it was under 13000 then. The NRL is literally 20 years behind the AFL, its unrealistic to expect clubs to reach the AFLs heights in a few years. All we should be looking is at a gradual increase each year. Priority should be making sure we keep the ones we've got happy with rewards for renewal/loyalty, then looking to build a bit each year (stating the obvious)

    Year Membership Numbers
    2014 60,610
    2013 63,353
    2012 60,841
    2011 56,224
    2010 53,978
    2009 52,496
    2008 41,436
    2007 31,064
    2006 28,003
    2005 29,261
    2004 31,255
    2003 31,500
    2002 33,319
    2001 30,140
    2000 26,879
    1999 32,120
    1998 27,649
    1997 27,005
    1996 12,484
    1995 12,728
  13. HappilyManly

    HappilyManly MWTS Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +11,498 / 254
    Interesting how it compares to the Super League era.

    Seems that whilst ARL was cannibalizing itself, the AFL bunkered down and focused on getting the Membership :cool:

    The divergence between AFL and NRL Membership and crowd numbers, is growing by the week :dodgy:
  14. MWSE Membership

    MWSE Membership Member

    +93 / 0
    Great thread guys, I think you all have valid points.

    We will be playing catch up with the AFL for a long long time. It takes time to change culture and unfortunately the NRL have taken far too long to act.

    There has been some encouraging growth this year, not only for us but game wide.

    We as a club will be somewhat restricted in growing a lot further than where we are this year due to our lack of reserved seating and the nature of Brookvale Oval.

    Our biggest focus will be communicating the value of the Sea Eagles membership compared to purchasing casual ticketing.

    Other clubs with bigger stadiums need to be more aggressive with their casual ticket prices, as someone earlier in this thread said, I feel as though clubs are going to have to make it very expensive to be a fan and not a member.

    We have focused very hard on growth and retention over the last 4 years which started with free next generation memberships, the launch of our loyalty program and cheaper pricing for renewing members.

    I would be interested to hear everyones thoughts of what they think works and does not work and where a member sees their biggest value point.
  15. simon64

    simon64 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    +1,987 / 25
    I think the club has done a great job.

    There are so many options available, you would be hard pressed to complain there wasn't one that was suitable.

    The Western Sydney Wanderers had to close membership because of Parramatta Stadium's capacity. I think we can probably cope with at least 30,000 members before this would be an issue.

    So there's plenty of growth available.

    And who knows ? One day we may even get that stadium upgrade so many political parties have promised.

    Oh look. A flying pig.
  16. SeaEagleRock8

    SeaEagleRock8 Sea Eagle Lach Staff Member Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +6,640 / 118
    Just make it cheap to be a member, and educate fans about the savings to be had.
    Also encouraging fan involvement is very important. eg through a site like this!
  17. eagles2win

    eagles2win Well-Known Member

    +494 / 0
    It'll be interesting to see when we hit around 20k membership (hopefully within the next 5 years) will our membership mean we outgrow Brookie?
  18. HappilyManly

    HappilyManly MWTS Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +11,498 / 254
    The only Memberships that count for ground capacity, are the ones that incorporate attendance at a Game.

    Manly or in fact any other Club, would have thousands of Members that are no more than say Leagues Club Members - they never attend a game and do not buy membership packages that include that price :cool:
  19. eagles2win

    eagles2win Well-Known Member

    +494 / 0
    Something I find funny is this - some people won't become members of their club because of how bad officiating or a serious injury (Alex Mckinnon - should be reason to become a Men of League member), club's being punished for salary cap infringements/drugs etc.

    Therefore the club they support suffer.
  20. eagles2win

    eagles2win Well-Known Member

    +494 / 0
    @MWSE Membership from memory our home jersey is up for renewal (design wise) next year maybe give members the chance to design it and to vote on it.

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