Last night The Footy Show broke the news that North will request a home match in Perth against West Coast in 2009. Ideally, the game will be played as a stand-alone match on the split round and would reap around $650,000 to NMFC.
On face value, this goes against the information Eugene Arocca provided Roo Beauty recently. However, Arocca has clarified the issue this morning:
Rev. Shinboner: Is the request to play one home game in WA conditional on it being played as a stand alone match on the split round?
Eugene Arocca: Not necessarily – but would be a major factor in our request.
RS: According to The Footy Show, the club stands to make $650k from the match. Where is this money coming from?
EA: Essentially WC will be able to offer their members, sponsors, etc. an extra game. We would also get much better access to seating for our local supporters.
RS: Is this a short-term fix, or would the club look to establish the match for the long-term?
EA: We would like to explore the possibility of a long term fixture. Even an improved stadium return at Docklands WILL NOT match what the interstate and big Victorian clubs will generate. This will continue to be the case until at least 2025 – when Docklands reverts to the AFL.
RS: This administration has prided itself on transparency and open communication with NMFC members/supporters. However this news is in conflict with the line wheeled out by the club this year that “it is not part of our business planning to sell games interstate”. How has this come about?
EA: That is right, we are transparent and it is not part of our business planning to sell games interstate in the usual manner – this has clearly not worked in the past. Furthermore, those games have always been in non established markets. The possible change in attitude by the AFL (partly due to the stadiums) that it may consider matches in established markets adds a different perspective. That said, one of our largest interstate bases is WA so we say it is also good business to allow those long standing and loyal WA supporters better access to NMFC.
It is not necessarily common knowledge that around 10-12% of North’s small but loyal supporter-base live in WA. This is primarily due to North’s history of poaching great players from the region: Barry Cable, Ross Glendinning and the Krakouer brothers to name a few. James Brayshaw, a WA man himself, is testament to it. Corporate connections in WA are also strong, the Junkyard Dog hails from Perth, and with the likes of Daniel Wells, Andrew Swallow and little Cruize Garlett coming along nicely, there’s no shortage of WA links with the current playing list.
Also, to put the financial implications in perspective, North was paid $400k per game at the Gold Coast, entirely bankrolled by the AFL. Considering North will be lucky to break even from the 11 Melbourne-based home games this season, to get $650k from one game in WA would be a massive fillip. More importantly, it would be without a cent coming from the AFL. And with 10 home games still played in Melbourne, it seems like a no-brainer to me.