Across the NRL this weekend, the contribution of women at all levels of rugby league is being rightfully celebrated via the Women In League Round. It’s a big moment in the rugby league calendar every year.
For the Parramatta Eels, this week also doubles as Member Appreciation Week. You’ll see more on this at tonight’s game and across official Eels media.
The importance of NRL Club Membership should never be underestimated nor undervalued. Supporters and members are an essential component of professional rugby league. It goes without saying that memberships provide a vital revenue stream for NRL clubs. At a time when the game’s finances have been under unprecedented pressures, it’s crucial for clubs to have strong, stable memberships
The Parramatta Eels are one of the most popular clubs in Australian sport and this translates to a membership base which is amongst the largest in the NRL.
Consider the growth in Eels memberships since 2014. Bear in mind that this period begins on the back of consecutive wooden spoons in 2012/2013.
2014 – 20,312
2015 – 22,824
2016 – 23,779
2017 – 24,501
2019 – 25,258
2020 – 29,011
Such numbers are astounding when factoring in the absence of a Premiership title since 1986.
Furthermore, though the 2020 figure is not final, it places the Eels second only to the Rabbitohs who have approximately 600 more members. Maybe it’s not too late for any non-members out there to sign up now!
Parramatta Eels members should certainly take a bow in 2020. In a year when many of you pledged your Membership for the season by being “Parra Forever” without any guarantee of attending a game, your support has been amazing. We might have some self-deprecating humour around a lack of recent premiership success, we might all support in differing ways, but what we all share is our love for the club and our loyalty. I’m proud to be a member, and I know that the other 29,010 of you are too!
There is much to look forward to. The Eels play out of the best rectangular stadium in Australia and are about to commence their third finals campaign from the last four seasons. With the club continuing to develop their Centre Of Excellence at Kellyville, it will be full steam ahead into the future.
In recognising members, it would be remiss to not thank and congratulate Hayden, Rhys and the rest of the Eels membership team – Narelle, James, Stevie, Kirsti, Jack and Nicola – for their amazing work. There have been considerable challenges over the past few seasons, including the transfer of ticketing from Parra Stadium, to ANZ Stadium and then back to the new Bankwest Stadium. And this season they’ve had the task of dealing with the uncertainty and restrictions around COID-19 attendance regulations. The Membership team, past and present, have handled what are often issues outside of their control with courtesy, composure, flexibility and good humour.
Finals now await our Parramatta team, but before then let’s celebrate and enjoy Women In League and Eels Membership Round.
And “Go You Mighty Eels!”