AFL to inject $330 million

An independent study into the impact of the Gold Coast Football Club reveals the club will bring $330 million worth of economic activity to the community over the next decade.

The independent economic report by economist Dr Chris Hunn predicts the club will bring 121,000 visitor nights and 428 jobs each year.

Hunn says the figures are based on the club’s estimates of expected visitors and would bode well for the Gold Coast’s position as a sport tourism city.

“You have to keep in mind that it keeps productive capacity with people working in accommodation, restaurants and taxis if other parts of the economy don’t fare so well, like tourism from Japan for example,” says Hunn.

“If you assume the economy is booming there could be some crowding out, but that only occurs in mature destinations and the Gold Coast is still growing.”

CEO Travis Auld says a survey from the club shows a support base of around 200,000 people on the coast that support the AFL, of which 40,000 will support GCFC.

“It’s difficult to gauge as we haven’t played a game yet but that’s a very good starting point that there’s a healthy appetite for the AFL on the Gold Coast,” says Auld.

“In terms of the economic benefits, over the next 10 years we will generate $330 million worth of economic activity of which more than $300 million will benefit Gold Coast businesses and create jobs.”

The club’s AFL entry has also led to a $130 million extension project for Carrara Stadium, which is expected to begin later this year and create construction jobs. And while the new Commonwealth Games capacity stadium will help the Gold Coast community, the sport itself will hopefully attract visitors.

“We are here for the Gold Coast community but we expect that 50 per cent of attendees at games will be away visitors and that’s a significant intake, which along with the three other national codes will bolster tourism on the Gold Coast.”

As for competing with the other codes, Auld takes the view that his young club provides entertainment rather than just another sporting product. Add to that a high profile signing in league star Karmichael Hunt and the club is set to attract attention
“The Titans have come a long way for the Gold Coast sporting market and have done very well no doubt, but from our perspective we don’t compete with other sporting products – we’re in the entertainment industry so we’re competing with all entertainment products,” he says.

“We provide a product that’s entertaining that the community likes, includes the family, and competes with other entertainment like the cinemas for instance.”

Auld’s team won’t be kicking off in the AFL until 2011 but the club already has its key sponsor Host Plus, as well as a number of significant partners and patron partner Southport Sharks.

Chairman John Witheriff, says the difficulty starting the club was proving its public support and financial viability to the AFL, but contributions from the Southport Sharks and 40 individuals helped a lot.
“We were strapped for resources but in the end we got there,” says Witheriff.

He says after gaining approval from the AFL, the club saw the opportunity to work with the government towards upgrading the Carrara Stadium, which will go a long way to support the local economy.

“The reality is that in the next five years in terms of the direct money from the private sector, there will be an injection of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.”

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