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Hawks post club-record AFL profit

12/11/2008 06:31:52 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn's year of living famously continued when the AFL premiers announced a record profit - but the news came with a warning from president Jeff Kennett.

Hawthorn ended the year with a profit of $4 million, up 12.5 per cent or more than $450,000 on last year.

Kennett said the record figures came from improvements in the club's business across the board as well as the impact of the premiership - but he cautioned of difficult times ahead.

"While this is our largest profit ever and while we'll continue to aim to make profits, in the environment in which we're all living at the moment, 2009 is going to be a tougher year, he said.

"I think next year, for sport generally, it's going to be a challenging year and probably the year after.

"You all know what's happening out in the market. You have a look at some other sporting codes where revenue is being lost.

"Even some of our colleague clubs don't have major sponsors at this stage."

Kennett said that for Hawthorn 2009 would be "a year of no waste."

"We're going to be a lot more rigorous in 2009 in terms of spending the money than we were in 2008.

"We are certainly not complacent in terms of the administration, in terms of the challenges in winning another final."

Kennett, though, said football would be "a lifeline" next year for many people in difficult circumstances.

"It's going to be a place where they can go to forget their woes and problems and challenges."

The Hawks plan to reinvest their profit in the club's future, in a variety of areas from buying property such as the gymnasium at their Waverley headquarters to keeping some funds in liquid accounts.

The Hawthorn Football Club Foundation has also been launched, aimed at securing donations to keep the club financially viable in the long term.

Hawthorn is also on track to achieve its goal of 50,000 members. This year the club signed 41,686 members, an increase of 34 per cent over 2007.

The Hawks' focus on its football department last year was instrumental in its premiership success, but Kennett said that expenditure would have to be scaled down.

He said that last year the club spent $14.6 million on football-related matters, including player and coaching salaries, representing 36 per cent of its total turnover.

The football department had received an increase of around $2 million a year over the past three years - but the club had virtually reached its limit in that area.

"You can't keep growing it, but it was only three or four years ago we were at the other end of the premiership ladder at the end of the home-and-away season," Kennett said.

"There is a limit, but we've found it necessary to build up. It's going to be hard simply to continually finance that increase," Kennett said.

He also praised the AFL for its "good management" and lucrative television deal through to 2011 which he said would ensure the success of the game, even in economically troubled times.

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