Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Victory takes premiership, breaks even in 2nd year

As Australia's top four clubs enter the second week of the Championship Cup, the 2007 Premiership winner, and favourite for the double, Melbourne Victory, is poised to break even or post a small profit for the current financial year. In only its second year since its creation for the new professional A-League, the club aims to recruit experienced staff to increase the club's commercial, marketing and business expertise to generate new revenue streams. Victory has also committed to using the 60,000 seat, retractable-roofed, Telstra Dome stadium as its home ground for the next two years and Chairman Geoff Lord insists it will not move to a State Government-financed rectangular football ground unless its capacity is doubled from a planned 20,000 to 40,000.

"We need to build our management team, develop non-football income streams and build our whole marketing image," Lord told Michael Lynch of The Age. "We want to keep progressing, not just become a club that plays 21 games a season and that's all. We want to be something that lasts the distance. With average gates of more than 27,000 this season, the club is in a much healthier financial position than last year, when it had substantial losses," he said.

"We would roughly expect to break even-ish this year, maybe make a small profit. All the sponsorship and financial arrangements for this year were written on the back of last year's results. Next year I think it will be different. Next year's arrangements will be better than this year's because we will be playing all our games at Docklands. We have achieved a lot on the field, now we need to have a lot more professionalism around the club. We need to … set a target for at least 15,000 members. With us getting into Asia in 2008, the whole club will be lifted, and we need to be much stronger in the form of sponsorship and general commercial support."

Lord maintains his eagerness for an early expansion of the A-League from 8 to 10 clubs, but not at the expense of Melbourne Victory's five-year exclusive franchise rights to Victoria's state capital city, Melbourne. "The sooner we get to 10 clubs the better," he said, "but I think the idea of having two clubs in Melbourne or Sydney is wrong for the game. We are trying to make sure all Melbourne people can unite behind one club rather than have divided loyalties."

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