What tangible onfield benefit do big rich clubs get from being big and rich these days?

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SimpkinByTheDockOfTheBay

Seasoned Football Analyst
Aug 21, 2018
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Essendon's planned upgrade to Windy Hill uses the same model as the Dogs and North have used/are using to get the Western Oval and Arden Street upgraded.

Leverage community links/access and the AFLW team for a major injection of taxpayer funds.

Which begs the question as to what real competitive advantage big rich clubs have over the smaller clubs now.

The days of Essendon/West Coast/Hawthorn being able to afford world class training facilities while smaller clubs had portables or used uni gyms and the like are long gone.

The footy department soft cap brought the heat out of the arms race there and the AFL used COVID spending cuts to cement in the equalisation.

It looks like the real competitive advantages are with clubs that can offer lifestyle and cultural benefits.

Geelong benefits massively from its location and the associated lifestyle. Brisbane has done very well in building a culture that players want to come to and/or not leave. GWS have rapidly built a strong culture that allows them to keep players they want and attract talent too.

Has footy's equalisation mechanism - and associated political/cultural factors like teams working out they can use W to squeeze taxpayers for cash - finally reached its goal where richer clubs don't actually get any tangible onfield advantage from their cash?
 

owen87

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Apr 23, 2016
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Essendon's planned upgrade to Windy Hill uses the same model as the Dogs and North have used/are using to get the Western Oval and Arden Street upgraded.

Leverage community links/access and the AFLW team for a major injection of taxpayer funds.

Which begs the question as to what real competitive advantage big rich clubs have over the smaller clubs now.

The days of Essendon/West Coast/Hawthorn being able to afford world class training facilities while smaller clubs had portables or used uni gyms and the like are long gone.

The footy department soft cap brought the heat out of the arms race there and the AFL used COVID spending cuts to cement in the equalisation.

It looks like the real competitive advantages are with clubs that can offer lifestyle and cultural benefits.

Geelong benefits massively from its location and the associated lifestyle. Brisbane has done very well in building a culture that players want to come to and/or not leave. GWS have rapidly built a strong culture that allows them to keep players they want and attract talent too.

Has footy's equalisation mechanism - and associated political/cultural factors like teams working out they can use W to squeeze taxpayers for cash - finally reached its goal where richer clubs don't actually get any tangible onfield advantage from their cash?
We get to offer cushy part-time jobs at wealthy coterie members businesses.


 

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SimpkinByTheDockOfTheBay

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We get to offer cushy part-time jobs at wealth coterie members businesses.


I was thinking that, but surely folks understand that ALL clubs have wealthy supporters, that's actually got nothing to do with the point.

The point is more clubs themselves. Like, what's the point of piling up cash these days when the league is structured in such a way that you can't actually spend it for any tangible benefit (I can see).
 

owen87

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
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I was thinking that, but surely folks understand that ALL clubs have wealthy supporters, that's actually got nothing to do with the point.

The point is more clubs themselves. Like, what's the point of piling up cash these days when the league is structured in such a way that you can't actually spend it for any tangible benefit (I can see).
Bigger clubs have more of them though, along with (generally) better connections for post-career opportunities.

That was one of the reasons Dusty gave for staying at Richmond, was that even though North was offering more cash now, Richmond's coterie groups had better scope for extra-curricular earnings.
 

owen87

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Certainly being able to offer playing in front of big crowds in marquee match ups is a drawcard for some players.

Was interesting though that Bobby Hill said he wanted to play in the Dreamtime game itself, rather than the big crowds.

Again, cultural stuff coming to the fore.
Yes, that too, you often hear players mention ANZAC Day & Dreamtime games when talking about why they want to play for Essendon.

Whether that's media fluff or truth, who knows.
 

SimpkinByTheDockOfTheBay

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Bigger clubs have more of them though, along with (generally) better connections for post-career opportunities.

That was one of the reasons Dusty gave for staying at Richmond, was that even though North was offering more cash now, Richmond's coterie groups had better scope for extra-curricular earnings.
Yeah, it is a totally legit point, but if it was the be all and end all he never would have considered leaving, and CCJ would never have left.

I reckon your example re the property development stuff at Essendon is quite interesting.

It is almost like the Bombers are establishing a market niche in that ... like, if you want to do property stuff post footy, they're your best bet.
 

SimpkinByTheDockOfTheBay

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Yes, that too, you often hear players mention ANZAC Day & Dreamtime games when talking about why they want to play for Essendon.

Whether that's media fluff or truth, who knows.
Is interesting how Essendon have been able to leverage that more than say Collingwood.

Richmond tend to play the big crowds at the G in general factor.

But the Dees also get Queen's Birthday, North and the Dogs should be able to turn Good Friday into something big.

In many ways, the blockbuster thing is a legacy of pre-equalisation when bigger clubs could throw their weight around more too.
 

SimpkinByTheDockOfTheBay

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Carlton have no problem being a destination club in recent years despite being rather disappointing on it.
That's just a function of the salary cap though - Carlton have had space to pay players.

Indeed Carlton are a great example of how money doesn't equal big club any more.

Not that long ago Bruce Mathieson and the Pratt's money would simply have bought Carlton success onfield.

Now it can't.

Proves my point.
 

owen87

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
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Yeah, it is a totally legit point, but if it was the be all and end all he never would have considered leaving, and CCJ would never have left.

I reckon your example re the property development stuff at Essendon is quite interesting.

It is almost like the Bombers are establishing a market niche in that ... like, if you want to do property stuff post footy, they're your best bet.
You also have to be a big enough name for it to work, the coterie groups aren't going to give the cushy part-time roles to relatively no name players. They're always a way to entice a big name across, the guys in the bottom half of the best-22 don't necessarily have a long list of suitors to choose between.
 

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SimpkinByTheDockOfTheBay

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You are able to get your rather dumb full forward a well paid job on The Footy Show to supplement his salary outside of the cap.
Yeah but smaller non Vic clubs get various community ambassador allowances and the like to help pay stars to stay.

I know what you mean and you're not wrong, but I think that advantage is nowhere near as big as it once was.

A lot of the things being brought up are legacies from the pre-equalisation age that still exist, but their impact has been dramatically reduced.
 

Back2Back2Back

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while smaller clubs had portables or used uni gyms and the like are long gone.
Brisbane says hi from the basement in the Gabba. Some of them, anyway. There's not enough physical space for the entire team in there so the other guys are training over at Coorparoo AFLQ when it's not flooded, which is a nearly annual pre-season feature of that oval in our wet summers.

I honestly forget how many years and iterations and election promises from state government we have gone through to get a dedicated training facility. We now finally have one under construction, and the driving factor wasn't the men's team - it's mostly come about after the introduction of AFLW. And even then, it's not in Brisbane - it's in Springfield, 30km out of town. I can't hardly imagine "big and rich" clubs would have these types of problems, if not funding their own facilities then striking up the supporting finance.

Meanwhile didn't StKilda move their training facilities and then decide to renovate the old one and move back again not too long ago?
 

SimpkinByTheDockOfTheBay

Seasoned Football Analyst
Aug 21, 2018
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Brisbane says hi from the basement in the Gabba. Some of them, anyway. There's not enough physical space for the entire team in there so the other guys are training over at Coorparoo AFLQ when it's not flooded, which is a nearly annual pre-season feature of that oval in our wet summers.

I honestly forget how many years and iterations and election promises from state government we have gone through to get a dedicated training facility. We now finally have one under construction, and the driving factor wasn't the men's team - it's mostly come about after the introduction of AFLW. And even then, it's not in Brisbane - it's in Springfield, 30km out of town. I can't hardly imagine "big and rich" clubs would have these types of problems, if not funding their own facilities then striking up the supporting finance.

Meanwhile didn't StKilda move their training facilities and then decide to renovate the old one and move back again not too long ago?
Apologies, I though the Lions had got that sorted a while back, my mistake.

Interesting though that again it is W that got it sorted.

And Essendon and Hawthorn have moved equal distances from their traditional home ground.

As per the bolded, Hawthorn have tried to that but Dingley now relies on the same model of taxpayer funds based on W and community sport.

The WA teams can still do it.
 
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SimpkinByTheDockOfTheBay

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Teen Wolf

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I think it could be argued a team like GWS has missed out on a couple premierships largely due to blockbuster inexperience, an obvious drawback of being a smaller club.

I also wouldn't be so bold to say the precise details of various equalisation measures are set in concrete. Some might say an initiative like COLA, and whatever Brisbane was getting back in the glory days, was scrapped because the big clubs complained.
 

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