Those who choose to become an absentee member will not receive a 30 per cent discount on next year’s membership or a members’ pack, however if they pay the $170 cancellation fee for adults they will be be allowed to attend matches in 2020 if crowds return as well as renew their membership for 2021.
AFL members who cancel their membership for 2020 will not be able to automatically renew their membership for 2021 and will “no longer receive benefits and entitlements for the 2021 Toyota AFL premiership season and beyond”.
The AFL and clubs have been working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the tax office to work out a range of options to present to members, with clubs expected to roll out the options in the next couple of weeks leading into the June 11 restart.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire urged members to hold off on asking for a refund if at all possible when the shutdown started, saying they didn’t want a “run on the clubs”, but AFL CEO Gill McLachlan has tread a more diplomatic line since, saying the league understood if people needed a refund.
Membership provides a significant proportion of revenue for all clubs but some Victorian teams such as Geelong and Essendon also earn a large percentage of revenue through their reserved seat income.
Geelong, the Western Bulldogs and Richmond surveyed a percentage of their members in recent weeks to gain feedback on which options might be most suitable to them. The Bulldogs said they have had very few members cancel their memberships despite not being able to attend games.
Even with games returning, clubs are being hit hard financially as the broadcast revenue earned through games being played without crowds goes to the AFL rather than clubs. Clubs make money through gate receipts, membership and sponsorship.
Club CEOs such as Carlton’s Cain Liddle, Richmond’s Brendon Gale, Collingwood’s Mark Anderson and Hawthorn’s Justin Reeves have been working on arrangements for members since the season was interrupted.