The Gold Coast Titans have ‘reined in the budget’ but aim to keep their strong brand presence and community support alive as they look for ways to grow more efficiently.
TITANS’ CEO Michael Searle says his business cannot compete with the Gold Coast Football Club, which will receive a $20 million contribution every year from the AFL.
“We had $22 million in revenues last year, so they start where we finish — we simply can’t compete with that, so it’s a long-term issue for us,” says Searle.
“We’re just a private organisation that is community driven so it isn’t about instant satisfaction and success, but about long term sustainable growth.”
He says most of the budget cutbacks have been in hospitality, as 30 out of 100 corporate boxes have been lost this season.
“Hospitality was identified last year to take the biggest hit, like it has, but that’s the nature of the beast. Rugby league is still the dominant sport in Queensland and New South Wales and it will always have a stronger attraction to hospitality than other codes.
“Staff numbers have been trimmed in the last few months as we had more in our growth phase getting into the competition. For the team we have more than 100 staff and on game day we have support staff of about 1200 people.”
Searle expects revenues to fall by about 10 per cent this year but due to cost cuts, profits are set to rise, in addition to the club’s venture into online gaming.
“We’re the first professional sporting organisation in Australia to move to online gaming, which particularly around sport betting is very much the future,” he says.
He also cites the success of the Titanium Bar which has been great for brand presence on the Gold Coast, in addition to the sponsorship deal with Jetstar.
“We had a five-year deal with Jetstar and we are now into our third year — we were offered substantially more money by rivals but the relationship with the Jetstar team down in Melbourne is huge. There was a synergy as we were both emerging players.”
When the Titans started the goal was to finish between eight and fourth in the league by the third year, but while Searle doesn’t want to speak too soon he hopes for a home semi final. The side recently lost a nine-game winning streak at home.
“If we get to have a home semi final we will have overachieved on our expectations — what that could do to the local community is a massive economic boost to the Gold Coast, but also for the fans to engage them,” says Searle.
While the Titans have been frugal cutting back their budget they have maintained brand spending.
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