Inside Wests Tigers - Part 3: Finances, Strategy and Communications

Wests Tigers new Chief Operating Officer Grant Mayer recently took questions from Wests Tigers fans across the Wests Tigers Social Network and Wests Tigers Fan Forum.


Wests Tigers Digital has compiled a series of articles, which will provide in-depth answers from Mayer and give Wests Tigers Members and fans an industry leading insight into their Club.


The series will cover multiple facets of the Wests Tigers business including recruitment, retention, salary cap, finances, strategy, coaching staff, membership, communications, game day experience and more.


Wests Tigers Digital is pleased to provide:


Part 3 Finances, Strategy and Communications


How are the Wests Tigers travelling financially in relation to other clubs?


The club had a tough year last year, we have been very honest in regards to that. There were high expectations at the start of the year and poor on-field results contributed to tough times off the field.


This year has been not as bad but certainly its been tough in regards to the seven losses in a row.


The Club continues to be a very popular choice for corporate partners. Our media exposure, our television games, our website and social media numbers are massive.


Well have a number of opportunities next year that well take to market and were very hopeful that well continue to be one of the top two or three clubs in NSW.


What costs are involved in Wests Tigers playing games at Campbelltown Sports Stadium and Leichhardt Oval and what is their future?


To give away specific figures would be reckless. Its fair to say though that the venues cost the Club anywhere between $50-70k to run on a game-by-game basis subject to the size of the crowd etc.


At the moment, when youre playing games at smaller venues and the crowds dont show up, its very easy to lose money. We need to be smart about how we do this going forward.


The State Government and the NRL have made it very clear theyre looking at rationalizing stadia. Were a very big part of that conversation.


Obviously Campbelltown and Leichhardt are important to the Club. The number of games we play at these stadiums over the next few years is a discussion point, but the mix of three venues is likely to stay constant over the next few years.


Our agreement with Allianz Stadium finishes at the end of 2013, have we given consideration to moving to ANZ Stadium?


Its very topical at the moment, we have spoken to all the major players in regards to our marquee events and are very close to an outcome with that.


The decision has been based upon a number of factors including finances, look and feel, player comfort, Member comfort and general fan feedback.


Will the Wests Tigers NSW Cup team continue to wear Magpies and Balmain jerseys or make the change to a Wests Tigers strip?


As we would all know, this is the first year this Club has played a combined Wests Tigers NSW Cup side. With any chance, sometimes things are slower than we might hope.


Our hope going forward is that we have one strip for all grades. Everyone should be applauded for the decision to combine the NSW Cup side.


How will the board be structured with the development of Wests Campbelltown pulling out at the senior level?


The removal of Wests Campbelltown from the share-holding group has little or no affect at all on the Wests Tigers.


Wests Group continue to be our 50% share-holder along with Balmain. Nothing changes.


The pleasing and exciting part of that is that Wests Campbelltown will continue to be a commercial supporter of this Club and the game generally.


What is the process for selecting a new CEO? Are you interested in the job?


The answer to the whole CEO process is one for the board. I will say Im absolutely over the moon to be involved with the Club at this level now.

I fully expect to be a candidate.


It doesnt phase me, Ive done it before and no matter how or where the board want to use me Ill do this job to the best of my ability. So far so good, Im enjoying the opportunity.


What do you believe are the most important aspects of the business the Club needs to focus on in the short term?


The most important thing for me right now is making sure that we secure our kids that are coming through and look at our structure and make sure that we are competitive against all other NRL teams as well as the wider sporting network.


Were on track. Theres a few hard decisions to make but this Club has a strong history and tradition and supporter base. I have no doubt that this will continue to grow.


Digital/Media


What are the workings behind how the NRL team is named on Tuesday and why are Wests Tigers often among the last team to release theirs?


Its not through choice. It may have been through choice before my time, but its not now.


The coaching staff have the right to take as much time as they like.


We have a time frame of 6pm to make for the NRL in regards to announcing the team. I believe weve met those every time.


Are you planning to improve communication from the club to the fans and supporters?


I think if you look at how we communicated 12 months ago to how were communicating now youll agree that weve taken some massive steps.


No doubt it needs to continue to improve and we will do so.


We would love to be communicating everything from the Club, but there are situations that happen within the Club that we cant get to Members and fans first.


The specific situations with the CEO resigning and the Wests Group pulling out have been announced by third parties and not by the Club. Sometimes you need to manage these retrospectively.


Where possible well break our news to our Members and sponsors first and then to the wider fan base.



AJ Carr Wests Tigers Digital on the Club's Digital program



The NRL views Digital Media as one of, it not its key non-broadcast long-term growth target.


The opportunity to sell website advertising as well as carefully branded content to sponsors will continue to become a valuable income stream for Wests Tigers.


Despite a slow start, the NRL community as a whole is embracing Digital and making great strides towards keeping pace with other sporting leagues around the world and looking to set the standard.


Why does it seem to take Wests Tigers longer than most clubs to release the team announcement?


Put simply, we do more than most clubs and often receive the team later than other Digital teams.


The team announcement process, along with our other regular assets, are now commercially valuable properties for the Club.


For us to capitalize on this, we choose to produce a full Members Exclusive email including up to ten stories and videos, the video itself, the article as well as the associated content for social media.


Why cant we just release it in text form?


The strategy of announcing the team via video is one the other top rating and commercially successful NRL clubs also employ. It is also linked to the NRLs KPI system, which is tied up with the funding we receive.


Video is an enormously valuable property in the Digital space and is providing our sponsors with outstanding value as well as a valuable revenue stream for the Club.


The Members Exclusive email, which includes a huge range of content as well as the team preview is important for us. We strongly believe Members who have committed to the Club should receive a certain level of exclusive content and access.


What is the pay off for the Club?


The Wests Tigers website is rated the number one website in the NRL still receiving the most hits in 2013 despite a below par season on field.


We are rated in the top 5 Australian sporting clubs on social media and third in the NRL only behind one-team-towns Brisbane and Melbourne.


As a Club we are beginning to commercialise these massive numbers, helping us grow Wests Tigers to become the Club we all want to see.


Follow Grant Mayer on Twitter

Follow AJ Carr on Twitter


READ PT.1 - RECRUITMENT, RETENTION AND SALARY CAP

READ PT.2 - COACHING STAFF