Rise in membership numbers gives Gold Coast Titans boost following lean times for the NRL club - Gold Coast Titans supporters have rallied by buying memberships - 7 December 2014

THE Gold Coast Titans have seen a boost in membership numbers following mass changes in the club hierarchy. Despite four lean seasons on the field, including a 14th-placed finish last season, the Titans’ membership base is tracking at 10 per cent better than the same time last year.

It has been a big year of change for the NRL franchise with club founder Michael Searle and foundation coach John Cartwright resigning from their roles in August. The club appointed a board of directors for the first time in its history in April and new coach Neil Henry is in the process of overhauling the squad.

The Titans had 8768 members in 2014 and want to break the 10,000 figure next year. Membership manager Chris Knell said the club was encouraged by the increase. “I was a little bit unsure as to what might happen with membership with all the changes that have been taking place and Carty (leaving),” he said. “But the response has been fantastic. We’re finding ourselves about 10 per cent up on this time last year.

“It’s a real positive sign for the club in terms of the steps that have been taken by the board and management and the changes people are seeing with Neil and the new players. “That’s been reflected in our renewals and new signings to date. Anything over 10,000 for us next year would be a great result.”

The club has retained its “kids go free” membership promotion in which families attend all 12 home matches for as little as $9.96 per person each game. They have also launched a “Flexi Packs” option where people can buy a pack of five, 10 or 20 tickets as a membership and use them however they please.

There are positive signs for the Titans with membership numbers increasing. But all clubs are facing a major hurdle. The NRL is yet to release a 2015 draw. The Titans are expected to host Wests Tigers at Cbus Super Stadium in Round 1 on Saturday, March 7, but the rest of the season is unknown, leaving fans reluctant to sign up. “It is a bit of a pain,” Knell said. “It’s preventing us from putting up some products.”

The draw is expected to be finalised within the next fortnight and NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said it was a complex process. “We’re in the final stages with both broadcasters,” Mr Greenberg said.

Article originally published in Gold Coast Bulletin on 7 December. Author is Travis Meyn