K rock Football

Finances “better than expected” – Cook

Joel Selwood leads the Cats off the Gabba during the season. (AFL Photos Image/Albert Perez)

LONG-serving CEO Brian Cook has declared Geelong’s financial result better than expected despite posting a statutory loss of $2.6m.

The Cats, who forecast a loss as high as $10m when COVID-19 shutdown the AFL season in late March, posted an operating profit before discontinued items, depreciation, amortisation and asset gains of $1.5 million.

An AFL grand final appearance from Geelong’s men’s team coupled with a massive cost-cutting exercise, which included a widespread reduction of staff across the club, helped the Cats reduce the impact the pandemic had on the game.

“This year we faced an unprecedented challenge, and our response was one that we should reflect on positively,” Cook said.

 “We saw all elements of the club display great flexibility and agility in making significant changes to the way we operate.

“This was done with short notice, and our club was able to continue to perform at a high level on and off the field.

 “Having another strong season on-field, member loyalty and great support from our corporate partners were key to this result. In April we anticipated a potential loss of $10m.

“To finish the year where we have is an incredible achievement.”

Operating revenue dropped by 36.3 per cent $38.3 million.

Factors in the drop were a 10 per cent decrease in membership to just over 60,000, a $2.7m fall in sponsorship, advertising and fundraising of $10.1m compared to the $12.8m in 2019 and no crowds at for AFL men’s home games at GMHBA Stadium or the MCG.

The club’s hospitality arm, Higher Mark, was also impacted, as was the recently acquired Geelong’s Gym, which was shut from March until last month.

“Whilst a challenging year financially, we remain committed to making a significant and meaningful difference in our community and will again focus on our community impact in 2021 and beyond,” Cook said.

 “The club continued to work towards an exit from gaming, and we achieved this in 2020. This has been a long-term goal of the club, and we are pleased to have completed the sale.

“On-field our teams performed well. Our men’s team reached the AFL grand final and adapted to hub life very well.

“Our women’s team became one of the highest-scoring teams in the AFLW. We believe we will continue to challenge again in 2021.

Twitter: @tom_king79