27/02/2007 - 22:00

Clubs sell their corporate credentials

27/02/2007 - 22:00

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Fears held by the state’s two AFL clubs about the impact of Super 14 club the Western Force on the corporate hospitality market have proved unfounded, with boxes for all three clubs sold out for the 2007 season.

Clubs sell their corporate credentials

Fears held by the state’s two AFL clubs about the impact of Super 14 club the Western Force on the corporate hospitality market have proved unfounded, with boxes for all three clubs sold out for the 2007 season.

The Force, The West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Football Club all have businesses on waiting lists ready to pounce should a box become available.

The boxes cost businesses anywhere from $8,000 for a basic four-seat box to up to $88,000 for a 28-seat suite box for the season. That figure does not include food and beverages.

While many businesses only have the budget, or the inclination, to support one team, some feel the need to have a box for both codes.

Even RugbyWA chairman Geoff Stooke believes there is room for the opposition.

His company, Standard Wool Australia, has an eight-seat box for the Force, the Dockers and the Eagles.

Based on current rates, the boxes would set Mr Stooke’s company back about $43,000 a year, plus food and beverage costs.

Mr Stooke said he has had a box with the Eagles and the Dockers for the past three years and took on a box for the Force’s inaugural season last year.

“It’s a great way to entertain,” Mr Stooke told WA Business News.

“We don’t do lunches and dinners or that type of thing, we do this instead.”

He said Wool Australia was able to entertain agents, growers as well as the company’s staff throughout both seasons.

“Obviously people have different [team] preferences so we want a mix and we think the cost is pretty reasonable, considering what you get,” Mr Stooke said.

West Coast Eagles marketing manager Deane Pieters said the club had been anxious about the impact the Western Force would have on the corporate dollar.

But he said the club had experienced minimal churn last year with only a handful of clients for its 234 corporate boxes failing to renew their boxes.

Mr Pieters said those boxes were quickly snapped up by other businesses, however. The club has sold all of its corporate boxes for the past two years.

He said winning the 2006 AFL premiership certainly helped the Eagles remain a top priority within the corporate community.

“It’s all about winning,” he said. “There is demand for more boxes; we could sell more if we had the space,” Mr Pieters said.

A spokesman for Fremantle Football Club said the club had sold out all of its available 59 corporate suites and 186 VIP boxes and had a waiting list for corporate boxes.

Mr Pieters said he was supportive of Fremantle’s growth in the corporate market.

“We both have the one owner, the WA Football Commission, which is there to do things like develop grass roots football,” he said.

“Fremantle being competitive and successful helps our industry, and it makes the commission less reliant on us.”

RugbyWA marketing services manager Sean Lee said some corporate clients had not renewed their hospitality package for the 2007 season, but all 270 box, suite and function room packages had been sold.

Mr Lee said many corporate clients with a box with the Eagles or Dockers and also with the Force recognised that the two codes attracted different people.

“People who say ‘yes’ to a rugby game and people that say ‘yes’ to the footy aren’t necessarily the same,” he said.

“I think clients realise that they can get to a different audience with us that they might not have got before.”

Aside from its corporate boxes, the Force also offers a premium dining package for it’s the seven home matches this season, which includes a sit-down dinner and beverages for $26,000. It offers another version for the same price, only guests get served from a private bar and enjoy cocktail food service.

The Eagles operate five function rooms for corporate clients.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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