Blaze shooting for sponsor

Gold Coast Blaze’s key sponsor Q Deck went into receivership in June and with the season starting in September it is yet to find a replacement, but CEO David Claxton is still upbeat going forward.

UNLIKE other sporting codes on the coast the Blaze doesn’t get any money from television distribution, but Claxton says season ticket sales have gone very well so far.

“Our season and corporate tickets had a terrific pick up rate of renewals of around 50 per cent in the first two weeks out to market,” says Claxton.

“Hopefully we can fill the 5200 seat stadium – if we can get up to 20 per cent filled with season ticket holders, that’s about $300,000.”

He anticipates growth of more than 60 per cent in terms of sponsorship and naming rights this season, albeit from a small base.

With the new codes on the Coast, Claxton sees the clash of seasons as being a key factor to competition for fans – NBL and the A-League over the summer and NRL and AFL over the winter.

After the Federal Government’s review into basketball which has led to a more unified national body, Claxton believes the NBL itself will be revitalised as a more entertaining competitive league.

“You will see now and in the future far better marketing for the competition and the sport, from the grassroots through to the Opals and the Boomers,” he says.

“It’s an excellent and competitive league and we’ve got a lot of talent in Australia – we are ranked No.2 in the world so on the international stage we are very good and with the more compact league you’ll see higher quality basketball.”

He says the Blaze sets itself apart from other teams on the Gold Coast with a world class venue and a different style of entertainment to the other codes.

“Our point of difference in the industry of sport is that our facility of the Gold Coast Convention Centre is world class and there is an appeal for basketball – it’s very exciting with the closeness of the game in terms of the fans.

“The other clear difference is that rugby league, soccer and AFL are football codes, but we are not.”

The Blaze budget this financial year is set at around $3 million in addition to large infrastructure outlays over the last two years - like a $1 million scoreboard which is the biggest scoreboard in Australasia.

While he believes there will be a new Brisbane basketball team within the next two years, for the moment Claxton has noticed a growing shift of fans from Brisbane in the wake of the Bullets collapse.

“With the unfortunate position Eddie Groves is in with ABC Learning Centres, the Bullets went down too, so we fill that void in southeast Queensland,” says Claxton.

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