The below article was published in the November 2010 edition of the MCC News publication:
Now that another successful AFL season has concluded, the committee and the management team are taking the opportunity to draw breath before we launch into a busy season of cricket.
The club was very pleased to see the MCG draw bumper crowds during the football season, as it meant that everybody was a winner financially.
Home teams received a $100,000 bonus payment each match in accordance with the agreement reached last year, and the AFL received a bonus payment of $250,000 to distribute to the clubs because attendances exceeded three million for the season.
The club as ground manager benefited from the general increase in revenue resulting from the 3.1 million patrons who enjoyed footy at the ’G in 2010.
It is easy to understand why so many clubs want to play in front of the large crowds at the MCG as often as possible.
The drawn Grand Final was a sensational game that drew more than 100,000 people and the Members Reserve was comfortably full. The reserved seating/walk-up seat balance again worked well.
Members did not know who would be playing when they entered the ballot for reserved seats, so many non-grand final team supporters returned their tickets. These were quickly taken up by those on the waiting list and on match day many Collingwood and St Kilda fans among our membership who had missed out on reserved seats were lined up when the gates opened at 8.00am.
The replay did not have the tight finish of the previous week but I know that this mattered little to the Collingwood supporters. Our Reserve was not as full but the overall crowd at the ground was again substantial.
I congratulate Stephen Gough and his team on the outstanding job they did in preparing the ground for the replay within the limited time available. I must say, however, that many of us were starting to suffer from finals fatigue.
In congratulating Collingwood on its first flag in 20 years, we must also acknowledge the achievement of St Kilda in playing in three grand finals in two years. Few other clubs have achieved that feat. The success of the Magpies bodes well for MCG attendances next year as does the improvement shown by other MCG tenant clubs, particularly Melbourne.
As reported previously we have a number of exciting projects in train.
The $55 million project to update and improve parts of the Great Southern Stand is expected to start in the middle of next year and work on a water recycling facility in Yarra Park will commence soon. Our contribution to these two projects is more than $40 million, which we will fund by increasing our current debt levels.
On a less positive note, we are still experiencing behaviour problems in the Reserve and severe penalties have been handed down for a wide range of offences. The main message is that members are responsible for the behaviour of their guests. If they transgress, you are the one who is punished.
We held our Annual General Meeting in August and I congratulate Jane Nathan, Stephen Spargo and Steven Smith on being re-elected for another three years. We are indeed fortunate to have a very competent committee to oversee the operations of our club and the MCG.
We now turn our attention to cricket and there is nothing better than an Ashes tour to stimulate interest over the coming summer. I know that members will take advantage of the various cricket events on offer at the MCG this season and I look forward to catching up with many of you in the Reserve.
As this is the final newsletter for 2010, I take the opportunity to wish all members a safe, happy and prosperous festive season and look forward to another tremendous year in 2011.
David Meiklejohn AM