The NRL membership drive is in full flow and South Sydney Rabbitohs are currently topping the table.
Working in a vaguely similar way to season tickets over here, NRL memberships allow fans to reserve seats at the stadium, gain entry into a some home or away games, and can guarantee access to popular games, such as the Finals Series and State of Origin.
Clubs offer a variety of packages at different price points (there’s even some for armchair fans) and compete to get more than any other club.
Here’s how the official NRL website describes the benefits of being a member: “Even if you only attend a few matches per season, by becoming a member of your club, you will save money.
“NRL club memberships are discounted below the price you would usually pay at the gate to attend a match meaning not only will you be saving money by purchasing a membership, but you will also save time by not having to line up in queues.
“By becoming a member of your NRL club, you are also helping ensure the future success of your team.
“Every club needs members to help recruit players, to help develop juniors, to pour back into ground developments, the running of the club and even to help draw sponsors and exposure for the club.
“As a member of your club, you will get the chance to secure your tickets to the big event before the general public.”
Currently, Sam Burgess’ Rabbitohs lead the way with 23,658 members. Their 2014 target is 32,000, and in 2013 they sold 27,392.
Penrith, however, have become the first club to surpass their 2013 total as the league sees a huge nine per cent in growth compared to this time last season.
Manly Sea Eagles, Parramatta Eels and Sydney Roosters are all currently more than 30 per cent ahead of their January 2013 membership numbers.
The NRL’s head of commercial, Paul Kind, said: “With more than a month to go before the 2014 Telstra Premiership season kick-off on Thursday, 6 March, our club membership numbers are showing good signs of growth, which is a real positive for the upcoming season.
“Regardless of where many of the clubs actually finished on the 2013 premiership season ladder, the passion the fans and members have for their teams has been outstanding.”
Current NRL Membership numbers (2013 total in brackets)
Rabbitohs 23,658 (27,392)
Broncos 15,949 (26,140)
Knights 13,176 (16,506)
Dragons 12,809 (19,748)
Eels 11,772 (17,162)
Bulldogs 11,558 (15,508)
Storm 10,041 (15,094)
Roosters 9,919 (13,842)
Cowboys 9,386 (11,036)
Sea Eagles 7,558 (11,016)
Warriors 5,711 (10,319)
Panthers 6,757 (6,143)
Sharks 5,106 (10,386)
Tigers 4,731 (11,660)
Titans 5,366 (7,589)
Raiders 4,541 (8,898)
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