NRL 2021: Melbourne Storm, club’s free membership campaign for 2022 gets overwhelming response despite likely loss of $ 1 million
Melbourne Storm CEO Justin Rodski said the club would lose “millions of dollars” in revenue next season, but were overwhelmed by comments following its free membership campaign on Tuesday.
The reigning Premiers have offered the ultimate gesture of goodwill to Storm members in Victoria ticketed between the 2020 and 2021 seasons with a free membership offer to redeem for next year.
Melbourne’s AAMI Park has only hosted five home games in two years with Storm Travel Base in Queensland amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The club issued a letter Tuesday night announcing that “the next season is upon us” with ticketed members living in Victoria to secure their free 2022 membership.
The Storm has broken a club record of over 28,000 members this season as it also plans to welcome around 3,000 members who did not renew their membership last year.
Rodski said the club had “carefully planned” the financial loss that would come with the decision.
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“The financial support of our members over the past two years has been essential for us to continue to operate at the level we have,” said Rodski.
“This is a Melbourne Storm initiative and something that we think we can cover and something that we as a management team have worked really hard to make sure we can cover the income gap that will be missed.
“We take up this challenge. We understand that people have gone through a variety of different challenges in their lives – financially and otherwise.
“It’s been a tough few years. We sat down as a club, chairman Matt Tripp, and thought about all the options.
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“We thought it was the most appropriate thing for us to do. The message the club gave to members and to people who are not even members of the club was overwhelming for us.”
Rodski was hopeful that Victoria’s current COVID-19 vaccination campaign would help ensure the Storm and fans can return to AAMI Park next season, possibly as back-to-back champions.
“It will be a massive build up, really exciting,” he said.
“After two years with virtually no games, the people of Melbourne love their sport. The Melbourne Storm members love coming to AAMI Park, it’s an amazing atmosphere.
“I hope that we have returned to some form of normalcy and that with vaccinations and other protocols we can have a full house at AAMI Park in the first round.”