Cairns Taipans turning a profit
Article in the Cairns Post:
THE Cairns Taipans National Basketball League team, which nearly folded three years ago with huge losses, has made a million dollar turnaround to post a profit.
Taipans Basketball Incorporated has reported a $10,552 surplus in the 2011-12 financial year, from losses of $237,299 in 2011 and about $750,000 in 2010.
Re-elected president Adrian Garrone said he was delighted with the change in fortunes.
"We're understandably pleased with this result and thank our corporate sponsors, volunteers and fans for their help in getting us there," he said.
Taipans founder Denis Donaghy said it was "a great result".
Now the club has set its sights on standing completely on its own in three years by no longer needing the Cairns Regional Council to provide a financial guarantee to the league. The aim is to have at least $200,000 cash in the bank.
The profit came from $2.65 million in income from sponsorship and ticket sales, up $78,185 on 2011, and by cutting expenses by $169,666 from $2.8 million in 2011.
Mr Garrone said he understood it was the first time the team had made a profit since its inception in 1999 and Cairns was one of the few teams in the league to make money.
It is understood other franchises have made profits but yesterday Basketball Australia would not provide details because they were operated by private companies.
Mr Garrone said the reasons for the financial improvements were community backing, the adoption of a users-pay system and good attendances at home games - averaging between 4700-4800 spectators a game.
"In the club's first two years under community ownership it lost money, primarily due to limited pre-season membership and sponsorship sales following a short lead time to the season tip-off," he said.
"A grand final appearance in 2010/11 assisted to secure increased sponsorship and season ticket holders for the following financial year. Last financial year, despite not making the finals and receiving the additional revenues that comes with it, the Skytrans Cairns Taipans broke even for the first time in the club's history.
"The challenge now is to solidify our position. We expect to make a small profit this year regardless of on-court performance, predominantly due to the club's strong sponsorship relationships and community engagement activities.
"This season the Taipans have the fourth-best average ticket sales this season in the league, and based on previous seasonal trends, expect sales to step up as the season progresses.
"I want the Skytrans Cairns Taipans club to be the master of its own destiny, namely by being able to meet the licence conditions with Basketball Australia without the need for a guarantor by the end of the 2014/15 season.
"There is no reason that, as a community-owned club, we cannot also be a financial healthy one."
Mr Garrone said the increase in the price of seasonal memberships this year, after substantial discounts, was a litmus test and the community and fans responded well.
"If they were not prepared to pay more then I was prepared to pull the pin," he said.
Mr Donaghy said it was not a big profit "but a great result" since the first year of community ownership.
He said the team lost a lot of mid-level sponsorship and support initially and had a lot of "clawing back to do."
Mr Donaghy said the grand final appearance helped as well as Taipans players working in schools and at grassroots level to build support and the fan base.