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Cats announce first operating loss in 15 years

A general view during the Geelong Cats first training session under the new lights at Simonds Stadium, Geelong on 30th May, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Over the past decade the Cats have invested all their profits back into Simonds Stadium
The Geelong Football Club has announced a loss of $251,207 for the 2014 financial year. This is the club's first operating loss in 15 years.

The club's net asset position is $10.9 million.

Major factors in the financial outcome include:
·         A drop in average home attendance (including home games at MCG and Etihad Stadium) from 36,649 in 2013 to 33,915 in 2014.
·         A decrease in profit from the club’s overall commercial area of $1.1 million to $20.8 million.
·         A marginal increase in football department spend from $21.4 million in 2013 to $21.6 million in 2014. While spending increased the rise was below the AFL average.
.          Depreciation and amortisation totalling $2.2 million
·         A reduction in turnover from $55 million to $51.4 million in 2014. This was in large part caused by non-recurring one off revenue items totalling $3.0 million in 2013 in the form of distribution from the Geelong Cats sports foundation upon its wind up and super screen instillation revenue.

"This is a disappointing outcome,” Geelong CEO Brian Cook said.

“There are a number of factors that have contributed to this result. The tighter economic climate around Geelong has impacted on our main revenue sources.  We are down in our profits from commercial operations, mainly in the areas of functions, venues, fundraising, membership and retail sales through our club store. Steps have already been taken to ensure improvement in these areas in 2015.

“While we saw an increase in our membership to a record level, we believe this area needs stronger growth if our club is to keep pace with other clubs. We are increasing our efforts to understand the needs of our supporters and members in an attempt to make the packages even more appealing.

“Over the past decade the club has invested all of our profits - over $13.0 million - back into Simonds Stadium for stages 1-3 of the stadium’s redevelopment so far, and our debt for stages 2-3 is currently $4.3 million. This has also resulted in a high level of depreciation that impacts on our overall profitability. No other club has the same issues around stadium costs, and in addition to this investment we continue to pay the City of Greater Geelong for leasing the venue and office space at the ground.

"These stadium costs are fixed regardless of how many games we play at our stadium and so increasing the number of games we play at Simonds Stadium is very important to our financial outcomes. Playing two of our home games at Etihad Stadium in 2014 was very costly to us and we continue to seek AFL support for returning these games to Simonds Stadium. The 2015 fixture sees one of these games returned to Simonds Stadium which will be a big benefit.

“The club realised $382,000 in administrative cost savings compared to 2013 through tighter controls, which was a positive outcome.

“While the overall result is disappointing, we continue to invest in our football department. We do not believe that significantly cutting costs in football will be beneficial to our goals as a club, however we will continue to ensure our spending is balanced and considered.”

Click here to read the full financial report for 2014
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs