- Aug 26, 2004
- AFL Club
- Other Teams
It gives me great pleasure to let you know that today we have surpassed our all-time membership record, a record that we set in 2019.
As of 6pm this evening, we have 64,270 Carlton members signed up, which is an increase of more than 10,000 members compared to the same time last year. This keeps us on track to chase down our 2020 target of 75,000 members and we could not be more appreciative of the support the Club has received from you, our members, in helping us break this record well before Round 1.
As far as club financial recoveries go, history tells us that often they are reliant on football performance, whereby rapid and sustained on-field improvement increases revenues. They can sometimes involve a group of corporates and coteries getting together and removing huge chunks of debt on behalf of the Club, and other times financial recoveries can be heavily supported by the AFL.
Our financial recovery however, has been almost entirely led by our members. Our average home crowd increased by more than any other club in 2019, and our membership base is on track to grow by 50 per cent across three years. As a member, you should be so proud of what you have done for your football club and on behalf of our board, players, coaches and staff, again, we want to say thank you.
It was about this time last year that the Club launched The Carlton Way, our five-year strategic plan. Within that plan, we highlighted the key priorities of the Club from 2019 – 2023 and provided a scorecard of 10 key targets that we would hold ourselves accountable to. One year into the plan, I thought it was worthwhile providing members with an update on our progress.
1. Win Premierships
In year one of the plan, our AFLW team rebounded from a wooden spoon to play off in a Grand Final. We have won eight of our last 11 games and our coaches continue to refine a game plan that will provide us the best opportunity to consistently compete at the highest level. Our AFL team had a vastly improved second half of 2019, winning six of our last 11 games with two of those losses being by less than a goal. David Teague and Andrew Russell, along with their respective teams of coaches and high-performance staff, have our AFL playing group primed to kick off 2020 and build on the improvement that we saw in the back half of last season.
2. 100,000 members
Finishing 2018 with approximately 56,000 members, we had our biggest year-on-year membership growth in the Club’s 155-year history, growing by more than 8,000 members in 2019. We are currently tracking more than 10,000 members up on this time last year with an aim to sign 75,000 members by the end of 2020.
3. 250,000 active supporters on our database
Already up 40,000 from when the plan was launched, we are now approaching 175,000 active supporters on our database. Carlton was also ranked number one across the AFL in a range of digital metrics in 2019.
4. 200 Carlton IN Business members
Along with the Carlton College of Sport, CIB is the key non-traditional revenue stream that our Club has sharpened its focus on. CIB seeks to capitalise on the Carlton business network, widely regarded as the biggest in Australian sport. Growing from less than 100 members when the strategic plan was launched, we hit 125 members in 2019 and are on track for 140 members in 2020. The most recent CIB function in the week of the AFL Grand Final attracted 1,400 guests. The Club now has four full-time staff dedicated to working across CIB.
5. Australia’s sporting employer of choice
To deliver on our key objectives, we need to attract and retain the very best staff. We want staff who believe that a united football club, relentless in the pursuit of excellence who hold themselves and each other accountable, can achieve anything – that is The Carlton Way. In 2019, we adopted industry best practice software to enhance our ability to uncover crucial relationships between performance and engagement within our staff team. A full staff survey in December recorded an engagement score of 83 per cent, well above the AFL industry benchmark.
6. Average home game attendance of 50,000
Carlton recorded the highest average home crowd growth of any club in the competition in 2019, growing from 31,775 to 46,730.
7. Zero historical debt
The Club has eliminated $3.4 million of historical debt in the last six months. The Club is now on track to completely eliminate the remaining $3 million of historical debt over the next 18 months – well ahead of our initial forecast when the plan was launched. This will see the Carlton Football Club debt free for the first time since 1996.
8. Masterplan complete
In 2019, we appointed a Project Director who has now been working on this project for 12 months. Our Board provided members with a first glimpse of the designs at our recent AGM and we look forward to sharing final proposed designs with members in the near future. A total of $35 million in state and federal government funding has been sourced for the project and $5 million has already been secured through our fundraising plans. We also look forward to sharing these fundraising plans with members in the near future.
9. Carlton Respects to become the most influential gender equality program in sport
We are in the process of converting parts of our Carlton Respects Schools program into a digital format that will allow the reach of Carlton Respects to grow significantly. We are also working through a range of partnership options to amplify the work we do in the area of gender equality. Our Masterplan will also see the first fully integrated high-performance facility in the AFL, whereby facilities for our AFLW players will be identical to those of our AFL players.
10. Revenue of $75 million
A critical metric as increased revenue has direct links to on-field performance through investment, eliminating our historical debt and completing our Masterplan. Removing all government and philanthropic contributions, club revenues grew by more than $5 million in 2019. We expect a further growth of $5 million in 2020, which will take our annual revenues past the $70 million mark by the end of 2020, having increased by more than $10 million in just two years. This growth in revenue has allowed us to increase our investment into our football programs by $4.5 million annually. It should also be noted that this revenue growth has been entirely self-generated through growth of consumer, commercial and non-traditional revenue streams such as Carlton IN Business and the Carlton College of Sport.
In closing, I want to once more take the opportunity to thank our members, your unwavering support and loyalty has been instrumental in the growth of our club.
On behalf of our members I also want to wish Katie Loynes, Kerryn Harrington and all of our AFLW players, coaches and staff, the very best of luck for the remainder of the AFLW season. It’s a huge game this weekend against the Saints at Ikon Park for our annual AFLW Carlton Respects game which aims to raise awareness about the prevention of violence against women.
Good luck also to Patrick Cripps, Sam Docherty and all of our AFL players, coaches and staff in the lead up to Round 1, in what will no doubt be a great game in front of a massive crowd at the MCG. We wish all our players the best for the entire AFL season and look forward to an exciting year ahead.
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