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Brisbane newspaper slams Stadiums Queensland for ‘gouging’ football franchises

Brisbane newspaper slams Stadiums Queensland for ‘gouging’ football franchises
April 16, 2018

An editorial in Brisbane newspaper the Sunday Mail has slammed the management of venues by the Stadiums Queensland agency in a highly critical editorial.

While acknowledging the success of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games the editorial is highly critical of the Queensland Government and its venues management agency Stadiums Queensland for “gouging our footy franchises into oblivion.”

The Sunday Mail and its sister newspaper The Courier Mail have a long history of high profile campaigns critical of Governments, most recently flagging the issue of child drowning.

In this latest critical editorial, published yesterday, it states “while the eyes of the world are on the Gold Coast, the reality is professional sport in this state is being crippled by stadium deals and government levies that dwarf those imposed on clubs by pro-sport Governments in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.”

Published yesterday, the editorial quotes Tony Cochrane, Chairman of the AFL’s Gold Coast Suns as calling for Stadiums Queensland to be disbanded and put into the Tourism and Events Queensland portfolio which is responsible for attracting major events.

The editorial continues “the problems in Queensland have emerged as Victoria magnifies its commitment to upgrading stadiums and ensuring clubs do not pay through the nose for access.

“The new Victorian deal ensures the AFL grand final will be played at the MCG until 2057.

“Yet here in Queensland we have major sporting franchises struggling to survive under the weight of surging charges and levies that effectively mean making ends meet almost impossible.

“Even the Broncos and Cowboys - our most successful footy teams - struggle to survive under the current economic structure being imposed by Stadiums Queensland.

“The NRL, AFL and Cricket Australia all have strained relationships with Stadiums Queensland. It’s understood the NRL, AFL and Super Rugby are combining to present the (Queensland) Government with options to overcome the problem.

“The NRL has confirmed its Queensland-based clubs had the most expensive rental and operating costs in the competition.

“The NRL is working with Stadiums Queensland to bring venue hire agreements in line with the rest of the Australian market.

“The Titans have refused to sign a contract with Stadiums Queensland since 2016 because they could not achieve a fair deal and instead rent C Bus Stadium on a staggering game by game basis for about $110,000 per game.

“The situation is so dire for the Suns that they are being courted by the Tasmanian Government which would place in jeopardy the franchise’s future on the Gold Coast.

“It costs the AFL about $4 million per year to operate Metricon Stadium and while the likelihood of the league pulling out is minimal while the people behind the expansion, such as (AFL Chief Executive Gill McLachlan, remain in charge, there are legitimate fears that as power changes hands the league will grow tired of pumping cash into an organisation that is handcuffed to an unsustainable commercial arrangement.

“In addition to rent costs, each south east Queensland football club must pay a policing and transport levy on ticket sales that runs into millions of dollars.

“The biggest AFL and NRL clubs in the country don’t pay a public transport levy and the standard contribution to the cost of policing and infrastructure is about $1.20 per ticket.

“The Suns pay almost $8 a ticket. These additional operational costs are extraordinary in a state which has such a love affair with sport.

“It seems inconceivable that a Labor Government that so passionately celebrates our sporting victories could allow a government authority such as Stadiums Queensland to ride roughshod over the future of these clubs.

“Sport binds us as a state. It provides family-friendly entertainment and, as State of Origin shows, it makes us proud to be Queenslanders. But something must be done to rein in the greedy, opportunistic cash grab of Stadiums Queensland.

“If Premier Palaszczuk and her Tourism Minister Kate Jones want to turn Queensland into the events capital of Australia, they must begin by reading the riot act to those who control our stadiums.

“It is fruitless talking up Queensland as the events capital of Australia if promoters and sports clubs are being sent broke because of the costs associated with coming here.”

The editorial ends “heads need to roll over this. This is a scandal that we can ill afford right now.” 

Click here to read the editorial.

Image: Metricon Stadium.

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