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Club memberships how much you pay | Updated: 4:20:31 AM, Friday August 24, 2012
By Jen Storey Club memberships how much you pay

As a nation, we are sports mad. As such, club memberships are as popular as ever but how much do you have to pay and what do you get for your money?
Image: © lilufoto – Fotolia.com

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As a nation, we are sports mad. Be it cricket, any footy code, or even less prominent sports like ice hockey, basketball and netball. If we can hit it, catch it, throw it or kick it, we’re in.

As such, sports memberships, for whichever sport, are as popular among fans as they are among sports clubs. For the clubs involved, they get the support of fans and their wallets. The money from season memberships is usually invested back into the team, its headquarters, staff, training and facilities. So as a paid-up fan, you are helping your local team in more ways than just turning up this week’s venue and shouting yourself hoarse.

But what do you actually get for your membership investment? As it turns out, membership benefits vary between teams within the same code as well as across the sports.

MCC Membership
Wait list: up to 20 years
Costs: up to $590 per year

This is the holiest grail of them all: membership of the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC). It’s exclusive and the club has expectations of its members, the least of which are to be well behaved and wear collared shorts to all events held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

To become a member you must be recommended by two existing MCC members, with the application seconded by a member. Then you go on the waiting list for about 20 years. Yes, that’s right, 20 years. After this time, you will probably become a reserved member, which means you don’t get admission into the AFL grand final, don’t have voting rights and various other limitations are applied to your membership.

The waiting list is currently 217,000 people strong. Like many private schools, you get placed on the waiting list by your family when you’re born. Memberships allocated in July 2011 were to people nominated between June 1 and August 31 in 1995. There is a $66 nomination fee and an entrace fee of $660 for adults and $110 for juniors.

What you get:

  • unrestricted access to interstate and international cricket at the MCG
  • unrestricted access to AFL fixtures at the ground
  • full members (not reserve members) are entitled to automatic entrance to the AFL Grand Final each year
  • access to the Members Dining Room and other dining and bar facilities
  • members can entertain guests on match days or during the week.

SCG Membership
Wait list: up to 12 to 13 years for regular membership
Costs: to $40,000

‘Breathes there a man with soul so dead that he never heard of the Sydney Cricket Ground?’ So asked Australian bush poet and journalist A B ‘Banjo’ Paterson. And it is a pretty valid point, as it has hosted some of the most iconic sporting moments in Australian history.

Established in 1877 it has seen countless moments of sporting prowess and achievement, from greats as varied Don Bradman, Barry Hall and Betty Cuthbert. And as a central cultural icon it has fed much into the development of Australian identity. From the antics on “the hill”, to iconic moments like that between Norm Provan and Arthur Summons after the 1963 Grand Final (St.George and Wests), now captured in bronze in the current NRL Premiership trophy.

SCG Members are entitled to attend all scheduled sporting fixtures staged at the SCG and enjoy the seating and facilities on match days in the MA Noble Stand, Ladies Stand and Members Pavilion.

Current events staged at the SCG

  • International Test matches
  • One Day International matches
  • Sheffield Shield matches
  • Domestic One Day matches
  • Australian Football League (home of the Sydney Swans)
  • Rugby League matches, at the discretion of our Sports Partners

There is a currently a 12 to 13 year waiting list, for election to either Regular adult or Junior membership. A $50 application fee is payable upon lodgement and the yearly subscription rates are, $550 for a member under 18 and $1,100 for an adult.

If a 13 year wait seems a  little too long for your tastes there are other membership options that can get you in the ground pretty much immediately (remember this is Sydney).  A single Gold membership will set you back $10,000, with an annual subscription of $659. While A Double Gold, the majority of the current SCG membership, provides two Gold memberships and two guest passes for $20,000, with an annual subscription of $1190.

However if you have a large brood, and plenty of ready cash, there is also the Platinum package worth a cool $40,000. This membership type is inheritable (to a close family member) and includes four Gold memberships. The annual subscription fee is $1,993. These more exclusive packages offer access to all sporting events, as well as a luxury gym that offers, amongst other features, a spa, sauna, heated swimming pool and squash and tennis courts.

AFL club memberships

There are 18 clubs in the AFL, and each has its own structure, pricing and inclusions for membership. For argument’s sake, let’s look at two teams, at different ends of the league table.

Collingwood Football Club
Wait list: varies
Cost: up to $2,500 per year

As one of the reigning powerhouse teams of the AFL, Collingwood membership is highly sort after. Collingwood has the largest membership base in the league (more than 70,000 members) and offers memberships for adults, juniors, toddlers and even pets.

At the top end of the scale, for $2,500 a year, you can get reserved seating for a family of two adults and two children at all home and away games in Melbourne. Plus you’re guaranteed access to register for and purchase Grand Final tickets if Collingwood is competing. Given Collingwood has contested more Grand Finals than any other club, this is an attractive offer. Additional inclusions are access to the team’s social club facilities, limited edition collectors’ items, priority ticket purchasing and much more. Junior members also get books, a football, clothing items and an invitation to attend a coaching clinic. Membership at this level is already sold out for the 2012 season.

From here, the membership offers scale down to general admission at games, or three-game passes for a single adult.

Port Adelaide Football Club
Wait list: none
Cost: up to $840 per year

Comparing Port Adelaide to Collingwood is like comparing apples to oranges. Port is a far younger club, is highly unlikely to make the finals and is trying to build its fan base. In 2012, the club is aiming for 40,000 members and members who refer new members can win cash, iPads or 2013 memberships.

Top level, family membership for Port provides reserve seating, Grand Final tickets if Port make it, plus the usual hats and water bottles for junior members.

NRL club memberships

NRL membership seems to be much more a democratic proposition than you might experience than with the AFL. A standard mix of Membership Packs, home game seat allocation and availability of tickets for key games seems very much the norm. Prices across the board are also remarkably similar and range from $5 Junior and even $40 pet packages, to the top teir around the $900 mark.

Some clubs do buck the general pricing trend, with the South Sydney Rabbitohs offering Reserved Membership for only $339, $10 off if you buy online.

Manly Warringa Sea Eagles
Wait list: none
Cost: up to $900 per year

Member packages range from the very basic to premium. The simplest is the Next Generation package, which is a low cost way to get the younger supporters involved. Only $5 will get a child under 9 admission to all 10 home games played at Brookvale Oval and includes the standard Sea Eagle Membership Pack. The Membership Pack offers a range of merchandise (lanyards, membership cards and the like), priority access to major matches (Finals, Grand Finals and State of Origin) and other similar discounts and offers.

Up from the Next Generation is a range of options that offer progressively more access and club involvement.  At the top end is the Premium Membership, which costs $900, and which will get one adult a reserved seat for all 10 home games, a number of other match related offers, entry to a number of member only social events and a guarantee to be able to purchase a Category 1 ticket to the Grand Final. A double Premium Membership package costs $1,400.

Brisbane Broncos
Wait list: none
Cost: up to $900 per year

The Brisbane Broncos offer a similar package mix to the other NRL clubs and at a similar price. However as with the other clubs there are a few local differences. The Broncos Platinum Package for instance includes a ticket to the State of Origin as well as the normal mix of reserved seating, discounts, and offers.

There is also the interesting looking XXXX Fanatics Zone pack, only $270 for an adult, and there is even a Baby Bronco membership costing $29 (which includes postage within Australia).

Other sports

Melbourne Ice (AIHL)
Wait list: 1 year
Cost: $200 adult/$100 child per year

The reigning champions in the Australian Ice Hockey League, the Melbourne Ice offer two simple packages, one for adults, and one for children. One great thing about membership of the Melbourne Ice is that you get two teams for the price of one: as a member you get free entry to all home games for both the men’s and women’s teams.

As a member you get reserved seating, easier access to the stands, discounts at the pub across the road from the rink and half price skating at the Medibank Icehouse. Additional clothing items, like team jerseys, are available at a discounted price.

Wollongong Hawks (NBL)
Wait list: none
Cost: $25 to $255 per year

Discounted entry to home games, preferential seating and discounted merchandise are the main offerings of membership of the Hawks. For juniors, membership starts at just $25 a year. Full membership includes tickets to every home game.

Brisbane Roar (A-League)
Wait list: none
Cost: P.O.A.

Brisbane Roar fans have a wide choice of membership levels. Tickets, seating and merchandise are included in various combinations at the different membership levels.

Regardless of which sport you support, becoming a club member gives you the real benefits of better seating and guaranteed tickets. However, in reality you are purchasing something far less tangible, you are becoming part of a community; the fan base. You are buying a sense of belonging.

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Related links:

  • How professional athletes manage their money – Living within your means is a whole new ball game when all of a sudden you’re rolling in cash.
  • Worth the gamble – Is it time to accept the commercialisation of sport as a sign of the world we live in? Or is it time for betting to take a spot on the bench?
  • Show me the money – Who’s making the big bucks? Here are a few options for jobs that’ll have you on course for your first billion in no time.

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