Western Bulldogs and their partnership with Ballarat a success

footscray1973

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The alternative is Cairns not Marvel FYI.
This gets lost a lot in the to and fro. Due to the financial payoff, you are absolutely correct. So the question is do we play a relocated game in Cairns/Darwin/Canberra, of which the first 2 are at a cost of player management leading up to and out of those games, or do we play in Ballarat where there is less physical cost on players? And how many members would attend interstate games vs Ballarat?
 

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fpcookie

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This gets lost a lot in the to and fro. Due to the financial payoff, you are absolutely correct. So the question is do we play a relocated game in Cairns/Darwin/Canberra, of which the first 2 are at a cost of player management leading up to and out of those games, or do we play in Ballarat where there is less physical cost on players? And how many members would attend interstate games vs Ballarat?
Not sure if it's lost or just conveniently forgotten by those whose argument it doesn't suit.
 

Mattdougie

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This gets lost a lot in the to and fro. Due to the financial payoff, you are absolutely correct. So the question is do we play a relocated game in Cairns/Darwin/Canberra, of which the first 2 are at a cost of player management leading up to and out of those games, or do we play in Ballarat where there is less physical cost on players? And how many members would attend interstate games vs Ballarat?
If it’s a pure money grab(which Ballarat clearly is) the amount of people who attend is irrelevant OR they wouldn’t agree to play in a small stadium.

We have set up a long term plan that has absolutely zero guarantee it will help us build membership and many of us think that no matter how long we stay for it won’t help.

What many fail to see is that those that argue against this dud deal don’t want to play ANY games in joints like this and if we fix the stupid deal at Marvel we won’t need to sell out.

Ps I’ve been to Darwin and Cairns, have zero interest in going to Ballarat for footy. At least the other two I get a small “holiday” and if the game is played before the bye it should effect the players
 

lachy

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Not sure if it's lost or just conveniently forgotten by those whose argument it doesn't suit.
No not lost nor forgotten.

Given our current financial position and the fact that the AFL is now the owner of Marvel we actually have a genuine opportunity to grow our membership, reserved seating and sponsorship at Marvel with less financial impediments. Unless the deal generates more than $1 million good management could generate this extra revenue from now on. All of these opportunities are actually stymied by our Ballarat deal.

This deal was signed before our biggest cash windfall of all, winning a premiership occurred.

The argument you are presenting was fine 5 years ago, but unless someone has been playing with our books, is totally unnecessary now. So no the option is not Cairns unless our financials are wrong or misleading
 

lachy

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That seems a bit unfair. Sure the club signed the deal but the AFL determine the fixture. Could’ve been played in a different round for example.
Unless there was an obligation provided by the AFL on which the reneged why are they responsible for us signing the deal
 

Mattdougie

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NEWSFLASH

AFL club does deal for money!!!!
And no one cares about that but don’t sell it like we care about Ballarat or think it’s a gold mine for membership.

It’s a pure money grab that Ballarat are happy to go song with coz it helps build them a stadium(for god knows what).

But I’d personally like our club to put all its efforts into sorting the Marvel deal out so we don’t have to play anywhere other than home.
 

Roogal

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The AFL tried to move the game from Ballarat to Marvel for CH7 knowing people might tune in more for the make up of the eight but the City of Ballarat denied them contractually . So they are stuck with 1pms due to poor lighting.

Bad luck. The AFL were dumb enough to schedule the second game in the last round that is thier fault. The second Ballarat game should have been vs Fremantle just gone by. They should be listening to schedule feedback.

I just find it funny is all.
I agree, the Ballarat game should have been swapped for the second last round.
 

maddog37

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And no one cares about that but don’t sell it like we care about Ballarat or think it’s a gold mine for membership.

It’s a pure money grab that Ballarat are happy to go song with coz it helps build them a stadium(for god knows what).

But I’d personally like our club to put all its efforts into sorting the Marvel deal out so we don’t have to play anywhere other than home.
It’s called marketing. Look it up.
 

Roogal

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Pretty sure they were scheduled on feedback that the games should either be early or late in the season, to avoid the middle of winter.
True but it could have been played on the second last round as it was in 2017. If the dogs don't have a chance of making the finals then a large number of their supporters would be denied seeing them play live on their last game of the season. Same goes with North Melbourne who are playing their last game this year in Hobart. :(
 

Mattdougie

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It’s called marketing. Look it up.
Lol ok and how has this “marketing” helped us a single scrap?

I was in Ballarat a month ago and didn’t see a single Bulldog poster or sign.

Why won’t the bulldogs release the actual exact figures of members we have gained from the area?
 

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maddog37

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Lol ok and how has this “marketing” helped us a single scrap?

I was in Ballarat a month ago and didn’t see a single Bulldog poster or sign.

Why won’t the bulldogs release the actual exact figures of members we have gained from the area?
I’m saying that the club dressed up (marketed) the idea as member growth etc when in reality it was a cash grab.

It’s the way the world is bro. Deal with it. They can’t straight up say they are only doing it for the money as it is unseemly.
 

Mattdougie

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I’m saying that the club dressed up (marketed) the idea as member growth etc when in reality it was a cash grab.

It’s the way the world is bro. Deal with it. They can’t straight up say they are only doing it for the money as it is unseemly.
I agree but they didn’t try to sell the Darwin and Cairns games as membership grabs they just let it flow and everyone knew what it was about.

Do the same with Ballarat and hopefully the club is looking at an exit strategy to dump this thing ASAP
 

Roogal

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No we and we alone are at fault. The AFL did not sign up to the deal, we did.

We agreed to sell 2 home and away games to Ballarat for money to a facility that holds 11,000 max 5,000 seating in a region known for being slightly colder just over an hour from our home ground.

Other than money or other financial kickbacks there was never going to be anything in this deal to grow our supporter base, it wont by anything significant, that would not put out the vast majority of our supporter base.
I would argue that the figures don't support your statements in the second sentence. Remember that memership for the club jumped only from winning the flag three years ago. The flag effectively boosted memberships from 38,000 in 2016 to 46,000 in 2017. Numbers subsequently dropped off again in Melbourne in 2018 and 2019, but the club highlighted recently that Ballarat memberships continued to grow in this time. A friend of mine at Ballarat's Mair Street office informed me in April that membership from Ballarat and its immediate district had grown by 4000 since 2017.

On your first point, the limitations of the ground are well known and well understood by all key stakeholders. Upgrades to address the main shortcomings of the first stage including permanent toilets for the standing areas and improved covered entrances will be included with some $6.6 million of other improvements over the next 12 months. The funding for this was provided in the State Budget. The Council have highlighted to the government that capacity, seating, lighting and PT access need to be addressed in the longer term. It won't remain an 11,000 capacity venue forever, it was always the plan to develop the ground and its surrounding infrasture (roads, parking, rail acces etc.) in stages over 10 years.
 

dogwatch

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Wait a minute. Why is a "cash grab" a bad thing? It's like when politicians listen to criticism and decide to change their policy to align better with public sentiment they are accused of "flip-flopping". The rhetoric is set up so you can't win.

Translated from rhetoric to everyday English "cash grab" (in this context) means "We have to balance the books, or better still make a profit. What's the best way we can do that without totally disenfranchising supporters? Can we actually turn a profit as part of a long term strategy instead of a short term interstate deal (a.k.a. as a cash grab)?"

Regardless of whether we like the Ballarat option or not, surely none of us want to go back to the bad old days of the 70s and 80s when we flogged off our best players to try to stay solvent. We've been doing "cash grabs" for 15 years or more. Get used to it.
 

maddog37

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Wait a minute. Why is a "cash grab" a bad thing? It's like when politicians listen to criticism and decide to change their policy to align better with public sentiment they are accused of "flip-flopping". The rhetoric is set up so you can't win.

Translated from rhetoric to everyday English "cash grab" (in this context) means "We have to balance the books, or better still make a profit. What's the best way we can do that without totally disenfranchising supporters? Can we actually turn a profit as part of a long term strategy instead of a short term interstate deal (a.k.a. as a cash grab)?"

Regardless of whether we like the Ballarat option or not, surely none of us want to go back to the bad old days of the 70s and 80s when we flogged off our best players to try to stay solvent. We've been doing "cash grabs" for 15 years or more. Get used to it.
Is what I was trying to say in a much more inelegant fashion.
 

lachy

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Wait a minute. Why is a "cash grab" a bad thing? It's like when politicians listen to criticism and decide to change their policy to align better with public sentiment they are accused of "flip-flopping". The rhetoric is set up so you can't win.

Translated from rhetoric to everyday English "cash grab" (in this context) means "We have to balance the books, or better still make a profit. What's the best way we can do that without totally disenfranchising supporters? Can we actually turn a profit as part of a long term strategy instead of a short term interstate deal (a.k.a. as a cash grab)?"

Regardless of whether we like the Ballarat option or not, surely none of us want to go back to the bad old days of the 70s and 80s when we flogged off our best players to try to stay solvent. We've been doing "cash grabs" for 15 years or more. Get used to it.
I don't disagree Dogwatch I simply don't like being fed bulltish, would never do that in my business .

It is and always was a cash grab. Reality is it was understandable in 2015 when the agreement was signed.

But are we or are we not now debt free?
Have we or have we not made profits greater than we got from the Ballarat deal?
Do.we or do we not have a better deal at Marvel?
Do we or do we not want to grow our membership and attendances ?
Do we or do we not make our home game more accessible to.majority of our members?
Do we or do we not want to significantly grow reserved seat revenue?
Do we or do we not want to grow our corporate sponsorships?

If the answer is yes well then why are we not playing our 11 home games in Melbourne?

If the answer is no then hopefully there is a heap more money from the deal as reported.

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Mattdougie

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I would argue that the figures don't support your statements in the second sentence. Remember that memership for the club jumped only from winning the flag three years ago. The flag effectively boosted memberships from 38,000 in 2016 to 46,000 in 2017. Numbers subsequently dropped off again in Melbourne in 2018 and 2019, but the club highlighted recently that Ballarat memberships continued to grow in this time. A friend of mine at Ballarat's Mair Street office informed me in April that membership from Ballarat and its immediate district had grown by 4000 since 2017.

On your first point, the limitations of the ground are well known and well understood by all key stakeholders. Upgrades to address the main shortcomings of the first stage including permanent toilets for the standing areas and improved covered entrances will be included with some $6.6 million of other improvements over the next 12 months. The funding for this was provided in the State Budget. The Council have highlighted to the government that capacity, seating, lighting and PT access need to be addressed in the longer term. It won't remain an 11,000 capacity venue forever, it was always the plan to develop the ground and its surrounding infrasture (roads, parking, rail acces etc.) in stages over 10 years.

Lol over ten percent of our membership comes from the Ballarat area does it?

Grown by MORE THAN 4000 since 2017 ?

That is an unadulterated lie
 

lachy

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The original deal was understandable given where we were financially in 2015. If it was for 1 home and away game each year against gold coast in effect replacing the Cairns game it would be sellable.

The good part is the deal has become so bad as we had the ultimate success which given the choice I will take this crappy deal anytime for a premiership.

I hope there is a massive issue and backlash in round 23, not for the told you so moment but because we can make the finals.

We are stuck with it now till at least 2022. I hope the complaints from our members is they can't get in as we are successful and not what we have had so far in attendances.

We had a chance to rise to a middling club above the likes of the Roos, Dees and Saints. My concern is this venture will be one cause of ensuring we remain in the lower rung.

We have had Darwin, Canberra and Cairns come and go as opportunities to grow our club to a.new base. I hope I am wrong with Ballarat but only time will tell

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Mattdougie

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It is 1000 not 4000 and most were 3 game memberships

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No mate She said membership in the Ballarat area has grown by over 4000 since 2017.

That would mean that nearly 15% (minimum) of our TOTAL membership comes from Ballarat.

I’d think the actual figure is closer to 1.5%.

Every single stat this lady puts on our forum is wrong and no one can her out on it. Why?
 

dogwatch

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I don't disagree Dogwatch I simply don't like being fed bulltish, would never do that in my business .

It is and always was a cash grab. Reality is it was understandable in 2015 when the agreement was signed.

But are we or are we not now debt free? MARGINAL
Have we or have we not made profits greater than we got from the Ballarat deal? IF WE HAVE IT'S ONLY MARGINAL
Do.we or do we not have a better deal at Marvel? ALMOST CERTAINLY NOT IF YOU BASE IT ONLY ON MATCH DAY RETURNS
Do we or do we not want to grow our membership and attendances ? OF COURSE WE DO
Do we or do we not make our home game more accessible to.majority of our members? YES
Do we or do we not want to significantly grow reserved seat revenue? YES
Do we or do we not want to grow our corporate sponsorships? YES

If the answer is yes well then why are we not playing our 11 home games in Melbourne?

If the answer is no then hopefully there is a heap more money from the deal as reported.

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All good questions although the last four are obviously rhetorical. My guess is above in blue.
However there are other factors to consider.

Without access to the financial strategists and the AFL commercial policy on docklands it's a bit hard to know what's best for us financially but here are some other things that may affect our venues strategy:
  • Will the AFL actually do a deal with us on docklands? (By "a deal" I mean something that's about an order of magnitude better than what we've had so far.)
  • If they do, will they be obliged to offer a comparable deal to every other tenant?
  • How would that stack up in terms of the viability of owning and paying off Docklands?
  • If such a deal (or collection of deals) is loss-making for the AFL do they then take that loss out of whatever distributions we get from them under the so-called equalisation strategy? Or is it better to find our own way with "cash-grab" venues and continue to receive benefits under the equalisation strategy?
  • In the early years nearly all cash-grabbing AFL clubs (including us) came to a new city with lots of positive PR and then left just as quickly, like a lover on a one-night stand. They knew there was very little strategic benefit, just the satisfaction of a cash grab. They all got a bad reputation for it. So Hawthorn, WB, Norf (at a minimum) have all embarked on a longer term strategy knowing that they can't continue surviving on one-night stands. The downside is you have to make a more enduring commitment. If we thought we could operate profitably over the long term at docklands I imagine we'd have done that by now. (But as we both acknowledge, we don't know the detail of negotiations in the last year or two.)
  • We may be profitable right now but what if we lapse again into a decade of unprofitability? Things can change quickly. In the last quarter century we've seen nearly all the Vic clubs in financial strife at one stage or another. Given that, is it prudent to throw out the cash cow of Ballarat/Mars on the strength of about 3 good trading years? They'd never trust us if we came back a couple of years later, cap in hand, saying I'm sorry I was unfaithful, can I climb back into bed?
  • We may be doing better out of Ballarat memberships than anyone realises, regardless of whether you believe Roogal's post above. I can't recall all the detail but there were some bullish things said at the Members Info night in June. They were intimating that it's coming along quite nicely in terms of revenues and memberships. And even if a lot of those were 3-game memberships we have no publicly available figures from clubs to compare it with. Dodgy membership figures are spruiked by most clubs most of the time.
  • There may be confidential commitments between the WB and the main players (AFL, Ballarat, State Govt etc) which result in other benefits to us (e.g. quid pro quo arrangements for sticking it out in Ballarat). I have no knowledge of it either way, so it's only hypothesising, but it's certainly possible. If so, it might help make it a much more compelling business case than it looks to us on the outside.
Anyway, if you're feeling disenfranchised I do hope you are taking it up with the club. They need to know what the membership base thinks.
 

lachy

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All good questions although the last four are obviously rhetorical. My guess is above in blue.
However there are other factors to consider.

Without access to the financial strategists and the AFL commercial policy on docklands it's a bit hard to know what's best for us financially but here are some other things that may affect our venues strategy:
  • Will the AFL actually do a deal with us on docklands? (By "a deal" I mean something that's about an order of magnitude better than what we've had so far.)
  • If they do, will they be obliged to offer a comparable deal to every other tenant?
  • How would that stack up in terms of the viability of owning and paying off Docklands?
  • If such a deal (or collection of deals) is loss-making for the AFL do they then take that loss out of whatever distributions we get from them under the so-called equalisation strategy? Or is it better to find our own way with "cash-grab" venues and continue to receive benefits under the equalisation strategy?
  • In the early years nearly all cash-grabbing AFL clubs (including us) came to a new city with lots of positive PR and then left just as quickly, like a lover on a one-night stand. They knew there was very little strategic benefit, just the satisfaction of a cash grab. They all got a bad reputation for it. So Hawthorn, WB, Norf (at a minimum) have all embarked on a longer term strategy knowing that they can't continue surviving on one-night stands. The downside is you have to make a more enduring commitment. If we thought we could operate profitably over the long term at docklands I imagine we'd have done that by now. (But as we both acknowledge, we don't know the detail of negotiations in the last year or two.)
  • We may be profitable right now but what if we lapse again into a decade of unprofitability? Things can change quickly. In the last quarter century we've seen nearly all the Vic clubs in financial strife at one stage or another. Given that, is it prudent to throw out the cash cow of Ballarat/Mars on the strength of about 3 good trading years? They'd never trust us if we came back a couple of years later, cap in hand, saying I'm sorry I was unfaithful, can I climb back into bed?
  • We may be doing better out of Ballarat memberships than anyone realises, regardless of whether you believe Roogal's post above. I can't recall all the detail but there were some bullish things said at the Members Info night in June. They were intimating that it's coming along quite nicely in terms of revenues and memberships. And even if a lot of those were 3-game memberships we have no publicly available figures from clubs to compare it with. Dodgy membership figures are spruiked by most clubs most of the time.
  • There may be confidential commitments between the WB and the main players (AFL, Ballarat, State Govt etc) which result in other benefits to us (e.g. quid pro quo arrangements for sticking it out in Ballarat). I have no knowledge of it either way, so it's only hypothesising, but it's certainly possible. If so, it might help make it a much more compelling business case than it looks to us on the outside.
Anyway, if you're feeling disenfranchised I do hope you are taking it up with the club. They need to know what the membership base thinks.
Thank you for your thoughtful and well presented post Dogwatch.

Your questions and points are all valid and most could actually be presented if the club did want to bring along the majority of its support base, you can't keep everyone happy.

Yes I have raised my concerns but our club is in an environment where spin and marketing is paramount, not integrity. It starts at the top and I have spoken with other clubs former President's, Chairman and board members so we are not unique.

I know more about the rational of decisions with supporting evidence from the team I am a member and.supporter of in the English premier league where 1 player gets paid more than our salary cap. There is more an ethos of the importance of the support base there than here which is ironic given theirs is a private ownership whereas ours is membership based.

Though this spin and marketing project annoys me due to its dishonesty I am and always will be a gold and social club member of the club, well actually pay for 4 of them as I only care as this club is an important part of my life. In general I think the the present administration particularly Peter Gordon have been the best we have ever had.


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Norm De Guerre

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All good questions although the last four are obviously rhetorical. My guess is above in blue.
However there are other factors to consider.

Without access to the financial strategists and the AFL commercial policy on docklands it's a bit hard to know what's best for us financially but here are some other things that may affect our venues strategy:
  • Will the AFL actually do a deal with us on docklands? (By "a deal" I mean something that's about an order of magnitude better than what we've had so far.)
  • If they do, will they be obliged to offer a comparable deal to every other tenant?
  • How would that stack up in terms of the viability of owning and paying off Docklands?
  • If such a deal (or collection of deals) is loss-making for the AFL do they then take that loss out of whatever distributions we get from them under the so-called equalisation strategy? Or is it better to find our own way with "cash-grab" venues and continue to receive benefits under the equalisation strategy?
  • In the early years nearly all cash-grabbing AFL clubs (including us) came to a new city with lots of positive PR and then left just as quickly, like a lover on a one-night stand. They knew there was very little strategic benefit, just the satisfaction of a cash grab. They all got a bad reputation for it. So Hawthorn, WB, Norf (at a minimum) have all embarked on a longer term strategy knowing that they can't continue surviving on one-night stands. The downside is you have to make a more enduring commitment. If we thought we could operate profitably over the long term at docklands I imagine we'd have done that by now. (But as we both acknowledge, we don't know the detail of negotiations in the last year or two.)
  • We may be profitable right now but what if we lapse again into a decade of unprofitability? Things can change quickly. In the last quarter century we've seen nearly all the Vic clubs in financial strife at one stage or another. Given that, is it prudent to throw out the cash cow of Ballarat/Mars on the strength of about 3 good trading years? They'd never trust us if we came back a couple of years later, cap in hand, saying I'm sorry I was unfaithful, can I climb back into bed?
  • We may be doing better out of Ballarat memberships than anyone realises, regardless of whether you believe Roogal's post above. I can't recall all the detail but there were some bullish things said at the Members Info night in June. They were intimating that it's coming along quite nicely in terms of revenues and memberships. And even if a lot of those were 3-game memberships we have no publicly available figures from clubs to compare it with. Dodgy membership figures are spruiked by most clubs most of the time.
  • There may be confidential commitments between the WB and the main players (AFL, Ballarat, State Govt etc) which result in other benefits to us (e.g. quid pro quo arrangements for sticking it out in Ballarat). I have no knowledge of it either way, so it's only hypothesising, but it's certainly possible. If so, it might help make it a much more compelling business case than it looks to us on the outside.
Anyway, if you're feeling disenfranchised I do hope you are taking it up with the club. They need to know what the membership base thinks.
The AFL finalised renegotiated tenant clubs deals in November 2016. Soon after they took over ownership of Etihad and just prior to it be renamed Marvel. I dont think that details of the new deals have ever publicly been released beyond a vague assertion that the clubs will be better off. With one source having it that the Saints were projected to be as much as $2million better off than the previous year under the new arrangement. Having said this, I presume that although lower the agreement still had a crowd number floor, below which clubs are still liable for any cost incurred. I don't see a scenario where the AFL is ever going to underwrite all cost for teams playing out of Marvel. Giants or Metricon Stadiums on the other hand...

To me this suggests that we may have banked the difference, added it to the bottom line and that the local and state government guaranteed returns that we have for playing games out of Ballarat to smaller crowds still far outweighs the return that we would get for playing against lower drawing interstate teams in a stadium now owned by the administrators of the game.
 
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