Gold Coast Titans offer olive branch to AFL neighbours Gold Coast Suns over scheduling clashes
By Laine Clark
August 22, 20124:25PM
A day after the NRL hoped to have struck a blow in the cross-code battle with their $1.025 billion TV rights deal, Gold Coast Titans offered an olive branch to AFL club Gold Coast Suns over their local turf war.
Titans chief executive David May says he has already begun peace talks with the Suns to avoid future cross-code home game clashes after the new broadcast deal ensured fixed scheduling for the 2013 NRL season's first 20 rounds.
"I would like to see both clubs working together," May said.
"I have had a brief chat with the guys over there (Suns). It's not a secret that if we both play at the same time we are not going to get the crowds that we want."
May addressed the media on the Gold Coast on Wednesday to spruik news that they would reduce membership prices "across the board" next year after average home crowds dropped to 14,000 in 2012.
The Titans' financial plight is well documented - May took over from ex-boss Michael Searle barely three weeks ago with a new board set to deal with their $25 million debt.
But May said the Suns' impact on the tourist strip had nothing to do with the new membership cuts he claimed "nobody else had done before" in the NRL.
"We spoke to our supporters and this was the message - they want to come but the economic constraints are proving difficult for them," May said.
"We are not competing with them (Suns) for memberships. We are trying to do the best for our members.
"We don't need membership to go up. We want membership to go up."
May said their current 14,000 home crowd average was "on the bottom end" of their expectations.
"I would like to see 20,000 ... the membership part of that is real important so we are doing what we can to influence that," he said.
May also said he did not have a problem with Channel Nine's preference for Brisbane to play the majority of Friday night games under the new TV rights deal because they sell best in Queensland.
Titans' Friday night games have slumped from 11 in 2010 to seven this year.
"I think Friday night is a double-edged sword. I think it is great for some games but not helpful for others," May said.
"For example we had the Broncos on a Friday night - if we had it here on a Sunday we would have had 28,000 people.
"You have to balance out the TV audience with the people who want to come to the game.
"We wouldn't mind a few more Friday night games. I think we will get our share because our team looks a very good prospect next year."
Under the new TV deal, NRL clubs will receive a larger grant from the ARLC next year but May was coy when asked how much he would like to see.
"Until the collective bargaining agreement is signed we won't know what it (TV deal) means for us, but it will be a significant improvement on this year which is great," he said.
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