News Richmond has a win, off the field at least

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Richmond has a win, off the field at least

By Peter Ryan
March 31, 2020 — 5.11pm

Richmond have taken a positive step through the gloom that has surrounded football in the past month with Nillumbik Shire Council selecting the club's subsidiary, Aligned Leisure, to operate five sport and recreation facilities in the region for at least the next three years.

The decision came after a competitive tender process and further adds to the Tigers' burgeoning health and recreation business that is forecast to provide more than 20 per cent of the club's projected revenue during a normal football season.

Given the devastation that the shutdown has wreaked on the AFL, with 80 per cent of club and AFL staff stood down or made redundant last week, the news is one bright spot on an otherwise dreary football landscape.

Aligned Leisure will now operate Community Bank Stadium, Diamond Creek Outdoor Pool, Diamond Creek Community Centre, Diamond Valley Sports and Fitness Centre as well as the Eltham Leisure Centre, which it has run since 2017.

The three-year agreement with Nillumbik Shire Council has options that could see the partnership extend to 12 years.


As a non-football revenue stream the business also acts as a safeguard for the club that has reasserted itself as a competition powerhouse on the back of two premierships in three seasons and a huge, fanatical supporter base.

Although all gymnasiums are shutdown as part of the government's attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus they will eventually be re-opened once the crisis passes.

Aligned Leisure, established in 2016, has become one of the club's shrewdest decisions with several others attempting before the coronavirus shutdown to replicate its success and invest in non-football businesses; Carlton entered the education sector and Geelong purchased a local gym.

Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale said the club appreciated the opportunity to build on its work in the area.

"The most important thing is that the local community is well serviced and connected to these facilities. Bringing the five venues together under one operation will allow Aligned Leisure to deliver first class programming and efficiencies across all these sites," Gale said.

Richmond now manages 26 facilities across Nillumbik Shire Council, Cardinia Shire Council, Albury City, Wodonga City Council, Mildura Rural City Council and Caulfield Grammar School, with Mildura and Wodonga included in the club's Next Generation Academy region.

Richmond's Institute of Sports Leadership, in partnership with Swinburne University, has campuses in both Mildura and Wodonga with many course graduates becoming potential employees at Aligned Leisure venues in that region.

Richmond earned $92.6 million in revenue in 2019 after winning the flag but have had to drastically reduce costs in the past three weeks due to the game's temporary shutdown.
 

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