AFL’s record spend to help battling Suns
THE AFL pumped a record $27.5 million into the embattled Gold Coast Suns last season - the biggest distribution ever handed out to a club.
Documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission reveal Gold Coast's membership and ticketing revenues slumped by more than $2.1 million in 2019 to just $5.1 million.
Merchandise sales totalled a paltry $243,983 as the Queensland disaster club finished the year with 18-straight losses.
Sponsorship and "supply rights income" at the Suns climbed slightly from $6.5 million to $7.7 million, but funding from head office accounted for 63 per cent of the club's total revenues.
Bizarrely, the club reported a profit of $248,795 for the year.
The AFL has ploughed in excess of $250 million into the league's 17th franchise since establishing it in April 2009.
But AFL boss Gillon McLachlan - a key figure behind the club's creation - declared on Friday that he believed the sun would never set on the AFL's Gold Coast experiment.
"Well, they're forever in my mind," McLachlan said.
"At some point, there'll be someone else here and they may have a different view, but these clubs were established with generational decisions and there is not one person in this building who has any intention of, or has a different view to that.
"These are generational decisions. Therefore, for as far as forever it can be, without, you know, nothing in this world is guaranteed, but as close to that as I can have."
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Gold Coast have never played finals and were handed a monster rescue package at the end of last season, including an unprecedented three years worth of priority picks, including the first two selections in November's national draft and the opening pick in the second round.
The Suns were also gifted Darwin as a regional academy, giving them exclusive access to the Top End's best talent - without having to match bids on draft night - and can sign up to 10 rookies, up from the standard six.
The Suns signed just 13,649 members in 2019.
Cash-strapped St Kilda received the most of any Victorian club - $20.6 million.
Powerhouse clubs like West Coast, Richmond and Collingwood received base distributions of $11.5 million.
Greater Western Sydney is yet to report to ASIC. The Suns received $23.7 million in AFL distributions in 2018 and $24.7 million in 2017.