As debate waged about the future of the WAFL competition, it was refreshing to see a club looking at a bright future ahead. Speaking exclusively to Swan Districts CEO Peter Taliangis, he revealed the issues abounding the club and its plans for the next year including a commercial to be filmed on Channel 9, which Swan District's hopes will generate a 3-3,500 average this season.
The marketing strategy this year will focus on increasing ties with the local radio, print and TV market with Swans expecting the crowds to flock back to Steel Blue Oval which has recently finished the restoration of the McDonalds Stand.
Swans are so confident about the crowds for this season, that it says the goal of having 3-3,500 at games this year is a conservative estimate. "I would say we would be looking at getting 3-3,500 this year, I would see it is a conservative estimate".
"Appealathon is our designated charity for 2007 and we will be getting commercials on Channel 9 Perth that will acknowledge our support."
"Essentially we will provide a percentage of our gate takings of every match - I am expecting a donation to Appealathon somewhere in the order of $5,000...We will have an Appealathon match day, we are in discussions about the date...we will also incorporate Appealathon and Channel 9 people throughout the year."
Membership for Swan Districts is being aimed at around 2-2,500 people, while profit forecasts have been looking more at the 100,000-200,000 type forecasts.
"Everyone tries to increase their membership and we are no different, I would say between 2-2,500 would be a great result...we received a profit of over $30,000".
"We will be aiming to double last year's profit to $60,000, but obviously we will be working hard to reach $100,000+".
Taliangis, a South Australian, dismisses fears that the WAFL will become a second rate competition to the SANFL and believes that not too many will be able to live off the SANFL. While believing that players looking to still get into the AFL will stay at home in a competition they know.
"I can imagine for some players that would be attractive, to earn 2-3 times more than in WA, however they may go to South Australia and not be able to get work, that is probably the real issue, can they afford to live off the SANFL...I don't think there would be too many players who could".
"I don't think it has the lure, particularly, if you were a 23 year old guy who thought there was a chance to play AFL football, It's best to play in a competition you know...you would be able to showcase yourself in the competition you know".
While Taliangis dismisses hope about the WAFL attracting gaming machines to its clubs and thus it means they have to be a little bit more creative, including looking at revenue basis on the internet and sponsorship.
"Gaming is a funny thing, originally the South Australians clubs were hesitant to go into the gaming machine market...those that haven't now have been left behind in more ways than one".
"The opportunity for WAFL teams to be a little bit more creative in how to generate their income, it seems pretty obvious that clubs will not get pokies in WA. Certainly not in the next 5-10 years so we will all have to find other ways of making our money."
"I think there are really good opportunities on the internet...there may be other opportunities that will provide a better return, at this level we need to be very conscious on what ways we generate revenue".
"In terms of pub, we have our own facility and so we don't need to look at buying a pub just yet. However many businesses are reporting 100%-200% growth and I don't believe we can necessarily generate that sort of increase by concentrating on football related income."
While he noted the passion of his members and the pride people of the Swan Region have of Swan Districts Football Club, even if they are not members.
"They are incredibly passionate, the existing supporters are very passionate, a lot of them previously who are members are passionate about supporting Swan Districts...what we need to try and do is try and work out how we get them coming back to the games".
"I went to Swan Chamber of Commerce function this morning, everyone there are Swan Districts supporter...we need to get something to re-attach themselves to the club".
Taliangis noted a specific example of the passion of his members and you can tell that this has enabled him to look at the future with much optimism.
"An example is that somebody rang me up and said, don't worry Peter we will be there in Port Headland...you can't buy that sort of passion".
And it seems Peter Taliangis will be using this passion to help recreate a powerful club in the WAFL.
"What I think we can do, is hopefully get a significant profile in the Perth Metropolitan market, a significant profile in the Pilbara and Bunbury regions and make ourselves as higher profile team as can be".
By Chris Egan