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ShotgunGold

The RFL and Super League should bring Club Memberships to England

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Club memberships are quite new to Rugby League, which has traditionally gone down the Season Ticket route, however Memberships have taken off in Australia.

 

They seem to have been given impetus and structure in Australian rules football (AFL) to forge a better relationship between club and all fans wherever they are in the country. They have taken off in that sport since the 1990s. Adelaide Crows had 25,000 members in 1991, and now have 46,000. Hawthorn Hawks (a Melbourne club) went from 10,000 to 63,000 in the same period.

 

The NRL realised that the amount of money and the fan connection that these Membership schemes provided would be important for the future of the sport, and implemented a centralised membership system in around 2007 (or 2006?).

 

As you can expect some clubs have taken to Memberships much better than others. Some were very active early on, others not so much.

 

Last month, Dave Smith of the NRL said he wanted to double membership numbers between 2013 and 2017. He estimated doubling the numbers would add an extra $50 million to Rugby League, on top of the money that is already taken through memberships.

 

Header.jpg

membership_ladder_18022013.jpg

^^^ The NRL has actively put competition at the heart of Memberships. Centralised memberships means club rivalry, which helps boost numbers and support.

 

Race%20to%2020k_2.jpg

^^^ If Canterbury and Parramatta can race to 20,000; why can't St Helens and Wigan race to 20,000?

 

South Sydney Rabbitohs in particular have taken to Memberships. In 2007 they had 9,000, and last year they reached 27,000. The SSR Chief Exec estimated that 25,000 members is $3 million in revenue. They are aiming for 34k in 2014, and 50k in 2017.

 

There is no reason why English RL clubs cannot implement all this and compete.

 

Some clubs like East Hull have announced 'Memberships' for the 2014 - "a new approach to season passes" - but I don't think it's fully developed nor is it being linked in with other clubs. It's not Memberships in the Aussie way, which is a better way.

 

NRL 2007: 113,000 members

NRL 2013: 230,000 members

 

The following are figures for NRL teams in 2013, but I have also included potential figures for Super League teams too, figures that could be achieved in three-five years in my opinion:

 

Rabbitohs - 27k

Broncos - 26k

Rhinos - 20k

Warriors - 19k

Dragons - 19k

Saints - 18k

Bulldogs - 17k

Eels - 17k

Knights - 16k

Hull FC - 15k

Storm - 15k

Wolves - 14k

Dragons - 14k

Roosters - 13k

Bulls - 13k

Giants - 11k

Cowboys - 11k

Sea Eagles - 11k

Tigers - 11k

Tigers - 10k

Sharks - 10k

Hull KR - 10k

Warriors - 10k

Wildcats - 9k

Vikings - 9k

Raiders - 8k

Red Devils - 8k

Titans - 7k

Panthers - 5k

Broncos - 4k

 

Our Championship clubs should also have Memberships and they could compete with the Super League clubs too.

 

So Super League could have say 174k members in a few years. Championship could get 30k-35k members I reckon.

 

Example of possible Membership options (having looked at NRL clubs):

 

9iuty1.png

 

The RFL and Super League should launch Memberships for England, so that we can go toe-to-toe with our Australian counterparts AND so that we can start getting more full houses at matches.

 

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I think thats a great idea, surprised it hasnt been thought of before to be honest. Well done for bringing this up!

Not sure if this could be brought up by the RFL or how it would go if only a few clubs wanted to do it - should it be optional to particpate or should the RFL enforce this as part of SL membership? Or indeed KPC1 membership?

Seems to me like thatd make for a great article in RLW......just saying.....

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Been saying for ages that the way to go is block tickets (ten for nine or whatever takes your fancy), coupled with a membership scheme. However, we seem to be hung up on getting customers to buy tickets for a season - whether they come or not.

 

We need to sell what customers want to buy - not what we want to sell.

 

Times change - we should move with the times.

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I am a season ticket holder for North Wales Crusaders (£145 - for all NWC Kingstone Press Championship home games), I am also a member of the NWC Supporters Club (£10), I can pay a season ticket for a seat on the Supporters Club coach to all our away games (£175). I also participate in the club lottery. In the last 2 years I have been a Bondholder for the club but this season there's a new initiative called Squad Builder (approx £6 per month); the money goes into a separate funding stream to develop rugby league in North Wales. 

 

What exactly would the suggested Membership give me in addition to my current membership?  This is not intended to be flippant but a genuine question as I am not sure what the Aussie 'Memberships' include.

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Remember getting an email from the RFL several years ago asking if I'd be interested in a membership scheme where there would be offers such as priority tickets and discounts on RFL events and merchandise etc for an annual fee, thought it was a good idea but never heard anything. Maybe they weren't getting a good response.

 

Still think it could work for clubs though, like some of the ideas posted above for potential Saints membership

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Most clubs now offer all kind of enhancements to buying a season ticket. Fev have Gold, Silver and Bronze tickets.

 

How is "membership" different?

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I am a season ticket holder for North Wales Crusaders (£145 - for all NWC Kingstone Press Championship home games), I am also a member of the NWC Supporters Club (£10), I can pay a season ticket for a seat on the Supporters Club coach to all our away games (£175). I also participate in the club lottery. In the last 2 years I have been a Bondholder for the club but this season there's a new initiative called Squad Builder (approx £6 per month); the money goes into a separate funding stream to develop rugby league in North Wales. 

 

What exactly would the suggested Membership give me in addition to my current membership?  This is not intended to be flippant but a genuine question as I am not sure what the Aussie 'Memberships' include.

 

That's not necessarily a fair question, gogledd.  It would have to fit in with the club's existing offers - or replace them.

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What is good about memberships? Why would I buy one?

 

How do Season Ticket sales go in Australia?

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What is good about memberships? Why would I buy one?

 

How do Season Ticket sales go in Australia?

 

Who needs a season ticket when you've got a membership ?

 

http://membership.rabbitohs.com.au/membership/

 

Here's the link to the membership page.  Sneer if you like (and I did when I read that the Pet grade included a free keyring) but they obviously sell a lot of these - at one level or another.

 

Australia is different in that it's bigger - a ticket covering the games in Queensland makes a lot of sense to them.  Reading between the lines here, it's obvious that the clubs work together far more than ours do if they're selling tickets for away games.

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The point is they don't do season tickets, they do memberships, so you BELONG to a club and can CONTRIBUTE even if you don't go, if you want the full monty you get every match - hence the central membership scheme takes cash in then allocates back to the clubs

 

Very good idea and needs to be looked at seriously now post World Cup - Club England as an umbrella with your team benefitting as well - which oddly sets all ticket prices at the same for all grounds

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That, of course, is how season tickets started.  They were memberships in the days before limited companies.

 

It's not about what you call it - it's how you structure it.  Featherstone Rovers have gone some way down this road.

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I thought all clubs already offered non ticket membership. Listed below is Leeds if your not buying a season ticket.  A season ticket is inclusive of silver level membership.

 

Non Ticket Membership & Upgrade Pricing Gold Upgrades - only available with the purchase of a silver membership £25 Supporter Member £10 Ronnie's Club £15 Sinnie's Club £15 Pet Membership £10 Baby Membership £10

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I thought all clubs already offered non ticket membership.

 

 

Gosh !

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Gosh !

 

I guess I have own club syndrome and hence naively assume the rest do the same or have the same approach as Leeds.... Although must admit the pet membership and baby memberships seem a little odd...

 

Anyway the point is that its already here, as in Leeds offer membership options... including pet membership, baby membership as per some Aussie clubs.  I guess they don't push it as hard as the NRL clubs but at least they offer it as an options and hence the point is its already here.  I'm guessing that over time they will improve the offering of each and hence up the pricing.

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The point is they don't do season tickets, they do memberships, so you BELONG to a club and can CONTRIBUTE even if you don't go, if you want the full monty you get every match - hence the central membership scheme takes cash in then allocates back to the clubs

 

Very good idea and needs to be looked at seriously now post World Cup - Club England as an umbrella with your team benefitting as well - which oddly sets all ticket prices at the same for all grounds

Whilst I like many parts of the idea, I do think it is being overstated somewhat.

 

They do do season tickets, Souths is just their Core Membership - incidentally their most expensive Adult Core Membership (season ticket plus some goodies) is cheaper than Warrington's cheapest Adult season ticket (a couple fewer games).

 

I do think there are some things we could learn from this, namely the promotion and marketing, announcing the numbers and being competitive, whether around season passes or memberships could be good for getting people to sign up.

I also think there is something in allowing people to invest in the club even if they can't attend, but effectively what you are doing is buying merchandise, which is now what I do as I can't attend all the games. This year I note that Warrington have launched a 6 game Season Ticket for those who cannot attend all the games.

 

There are some really interesting packages available and I definitely think we can learn something from this, but let's not make out we do nothing in this area. This country has a culture of season tickets (that's not to say we can't move on from that) but our season tickets are quite similar to their ticketed memberships, as we include things like:

All home games

Magic Weekend Discount

Priority tickets for Cup and Playoff games

Discount on Merchandise

plus, Junior Tickets include free Away admission.

 

Not sure if anybody can answer here, but what is the culture within Australia around buying merchandise? I've always found it extremely expensive and my limited experience of the NRL led me to think that shirt sales are not as big a thing over there.

 

I would love to see the RFL embrace the membership idea however, unfortunately the International game is such a shambles I'm not sure what they would offer.

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Not sure if anybody can answer here, but what is the culture within Australia around buying merchandise? I've always found it extremely expensive and my limited experience of the NRL led me to think that shirt sales are not as big a thing over there.

.

They are expensive and we don't often wear the latest replica jerseys to the stadium.  If you attend a Raider's home game you'll see a range of jerseys from the last few decades being worn by fans.  There is no pressure to get the new season jersey from other fans or the club. 

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NRL gear is expensive and I agree you see many fans in older jerseys however the NRL is ranked 1st in all sports in Australia for merchandise. The clubs have done a good job in having so many different parts of clothing and accessories in club colours,the retro jerseys and hats have really taken off too.

In our memberships, wether they be ticketed members or not, it usually includes a hat,scarf etc.

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I would welcome more membership options by UK Rugby League teams - both Super League and lower leagues. There are a huge number of benifits to clubs in offering non-ticket memberships (I know a few teams already do - Rhinos for example - but Salford dont amoungst others).

 

It would also be great for the newer expansion teams in the lower leagues (All golds, Oxford etc) to offer a memebership scheme which would allow RL fans to financially support the teams if they wanted to. (Not everyone neccesarily want merchanidise - esp if they are living oversees. I think it would cost 20 - 30 pounds to send a jersey to Dubai if I wanted one...) I can also imagine some Aussie based fans being interested in supporting their Superleague team somehow.

 

For me the most impressive thing is the emphasis the NRL places on Membership - I think all teams have adverts which you can watch on their website and on the internet generally - as well as a constant update on twitter / facebook etc. Superleague are really lagging behind in this aspect.

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NRL gear is expensive and I agree you see many fans in older jerseys however the NRL is ranked 1st in all sports in Australia for merchandise. The clubs have done a good job in having so many different parts of clothing and accessories in club colours,the retro jerseys and hats have really taken off too.

In our memberships, wether they be ticketed members or not, it usually includes a hat,scarf etc.

my raiders 2014 membership included a hat and a lap blanket for those cold Canberra days.

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Club memberships are quite new to Rugby League, which has traditionally gone down the Season Ticket route, however Memberships have taken off in Australia.

 

 

So Super League could have say 174k members in a few years. Championship could get 30k-35k members I reckon.

 

 

I'm lost here.

 

Let's say SL has 124,000 fans on average and CC's 17,000

 

How is a smart marketing ploy that works well on the NRL a vibrant national major sport in that country going to translate to 50,000 more people paying to watch SL and Championship crowds doubling?

 

To sell anything you have to have an attractive product and a receptive marketplace.

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Most clubs now offer all kind of enhancements to buying a season ticket. Fev have Gold, Silver and Bronze tickets.

 

How is "membership" different?

 

The Rovers cards (Gold, Silver and Bronze) are actually "Membership" cards, Mark.

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Example of possible Membership options (having looked at NRL clubs):

 

9iuty1.png

 

Leeds do a 5 match flexi pack on top of the different memberships mentioned elsewhere on this thread

 

Select 2 games from the A stream & 3 from the B Stream

  • A Stream Opposition:

    Bradford Bulls, Hull FC, St Helens, Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors

  • B Stream Opposition:

    Catalans Dragons, Castleford Tigers, Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR, London Broncos, Salford City Reds, Wakefield Wildcats, Widnes Vikings

    You can specify the games you want at time of purchase or wait until the fixture dates are released in November 2013. The deadline for fixture selection is 31st January 2014. After this date no changes can be made.

 

  •  

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I signed up and paid for a Wales RL membership prior to the world cup (£15). The idea was to form a WRL 'Supporters Club' and the first 1000 members would have their names on a panel on the front of the world cup shirt. Unfortunately the scheme fell apart, Wales used a different shirt manufacturer and those who signed up  had their membership fee returned.

 

I still like the idea of signing up to some sort of membership to support Wales and hopefully the idea will be resurrected.

 

Griff: my original question wasn't intended to be unfair but now I have a bit more information I can see what you mean. As Crusaders and Scorpions are in Wales, our international governing body is WRL yet the clubs play in RFL leagues and competitions, Any Championship/ Championship 1 memberships scheme would have to encompass the UK and not just England.

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The Rovers cards (Gold, Silver and Bronze) are actually "Membership" cards, Mark.

 

Right. Rovers have a wide range of options for membership/ST/call-it-what-you-will, and I assume without looking most clubs do similar things.

 

So, there is no difference between what UK clubs and NRL clubs are tring to do.

 

So, odd thread really.

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Whilst some Super League clubs, like the Rhinos, pretty much offer a very similar list of packages that any club in Australia does, there are plenty of clubs who really need to pick up their game, and introducing a proper membership program across Super League would help this.

Using the London Broncos as an example, the only offering I can find for Membership are the following:

  • Full Season Ticket (Adult & Concession pricing)
  • Junior Broncos (U/19's Season Ticket)

Pretty limiting, especially for anyone who doesn't live near where the Broncos play. 

 

Straight away with a club like that, offering options such as half season, 3 game packages, away game memberships, and of course non-ticketed memberships. I don't live in London, getting to a game outside of maybe once or twice a year is impossible for me, however I'm prepared to open my wallet to support my club.  As it currently stands the only way I can do this, is to pretty much buy a light blue shirt with a bad logo on it... not really compelling, especially on a year by year basis.

 

Clubs like Bradford and Wigan don't appear to be much better (although they at least have categories of season tickets).  For a club like Wigan especially which has so much history and has fans scattered around the UK, they especially should be offering away and non-ticketed memberships.  They honestly are missing out.

 

Whilst it has always been said clubs shouldn't rely on 'away' supporters to boost their averages, imagine for a club like London the boost they would get if Wigan sold a 'London' membership, and knew in January/February, that for the game they were hosting that year, they would have a minimum of say 800 London based Wigan fans. The two clubs would both get a cut of the membership, London would have a better handle on expected crowds, and best of all they would have the money in the bank to invest into promoting other games or attempting to draw more fans to the match.

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