AFL help boost Titans membership numbers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL help boost Titans membership numbers

Laine Clark 02/12/2010 07:23:56 PM Comments (0)

The emergence of AFL newcomers the Gold Coast Suns has helped boost Titans membership numbers to record levels, the NRL club's boss Michael Searle says.

And in another sign the Titans are holding their ground in the off-field battle with the Suns, Searle said it took just four days to find a new sleeve sponsor after announcing a "multi-million dollar" three-year deal on Thursday.

Armed with stars Gary Ablett and Karmichael Hunt, the Suns reportedly have a staggering $20 million a year to spend on marketing and advertising ahead of their 2011 AFL debut.

But Searle said the Titans were not feeling the pinch after unveiling Gold Coast business Coral Homes as their sleeve sponsor on a new-look jersey for 2011.

And Searle said the Titans looked forward to boasting their "largest membership ever" that he predicted would outnumber the Suns.

He said the club's ticketed membership numbers had already exceeded last year's tally, reaching 5548.

And all thanks to the Suns, according to Searle.

"One of the residual benefits of the AFL coming here is that the fans have become more aware of membership," he said on the Gold Coast on Thursday.

"A big membership drive by the rival code forces fans to become more parochial.

"The exciting thing for us is that four months off the season kicking off we have 100 per cent of our membership base renewed and that would suggest that we are well and truly on target to exceed our initial projection of eight or nine thousand."

AFL clubs measure their success by membership numbers - and the Suns are no different.

They boasted 10,000 signed foundation members by September and already have 5012 fully paid up members.

But Searle believed the Titans will finish with more members than the Suns.

"It depends on how you define members - from our point of view if you want to roll in all the membership base I am confident we will," he said.

"From our point of view we have always said fully ticketed members is what we should be benchmarked on.

"If you align all of our Facebook, Twitter and new media and ticketed members we are up to 70,000 - well, we can put that number out there but what does it really mean?

"At the end of the day it is bums on seats and it's dollars through the door."

On the rivalry with the Suns, Searle said: "It's too early to determine what the relationship is going to be like.

"I have a great respect for the guys over at the Suns, they have a big job to do.

"We will just let the national agendas be played out in Sydney and Melbourne."

Searle was flattered by AFL boss Andrew Demetriou admitting he used the Titans as a blueprint for success on the glitter strip.

"We may have been looked down upon in previous generations but to think that our city is now a benchmark for a code like the AFL is a great outcome for the Titans but also the people of this city," he said.

The Gold Coast also unveiled their new NRL 2011 strip which highlights the Titans sword on their home and away strip.

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