Titans' new home in time for kick-off
The Gold Coast Titans are hopeful that their new state-of-the-art training facility will be operational by the start of the season but are not yet at liberty to say where those facilities will be.
The Titans begin preparations for the 2016 – and their 10th – NRL season on Monday at temporary facilities at Pizzey Park in Burleigh that served as their base for the entire 2015 season and which are a far cry from those on offer at the other 15 NRL clubs.
The makeshift training facilities may come as something of a shock to new recruits such as David Shillington, Tyrone Roberts, Zeb Taia and the returning Nathan Friend but Titans CEO Graham Annesley says sub-standard training facilities will no longer a reason for players not to want to move to the Gold Coast.
Although an announcement of a partnership with Parkwood International Golf Course is believed to be imminent, Annesley refused to confirm that would be the new home of the Titans, only to say that the club's next move would be a significant one.
"We'll definitely be in a new home next year," Annesley told NRL.com.
"The negotiations have taken quite a bit longer than we originally anticipated and it's a complex build because it's not just a build for us, it's a much broader project than that.
"We expect that we will certainly be in occupation from a football perspective by as close to the start of the season as possible and then administratively we should be able to bring our whole operation back together not too long after that.
"We'll have facilities that will be the equal of anything in the game and it's going to be a massive bonus for us, having been separated for ultimately 18 months, to be under the same roof and feel like a complete club again.
"The fact is that our facilities at the moment, whilst we're very grateful for the assistance the Burleigh Bears have given us this year, they're not what a player coming to our club would probably expect.
"The fact that we are dislocated in terms of football and admin is not ideal and when we are under the same roof with better facilities it will no longer be a reason for a player not to sign with us."
A proposed move to Parkwood would also represent a win for Titans fans who would finally have a social hub at which they can interact with the club on a regular basis.
The club is also determined to make access to games in 2016 easier for members and fans and break down the perception that the lack of available parking at Cbus Super Stadium makes it a venue too difficult to get to.
The club is investigating a members only 'park and ride' facility from Boowaggan Road which the Gold Coast Suns presently use for home games and a family of four season membership costs less than $10 per person per game.
The Titans are also in the final stages of adding as many as four new board members to the existing corporate structure and have begun discussions with major sponsor Aquis about extending their support beyond the 2016 season.
At the beginning of the 2015 season the club donated the front of jersey sponsorship to Ronald McDonald House but over the course of the year wrote $4 million in sponsorship revenue through the likes of Aquis, TFH Hire, Global Road Technology and Jabbry.
"Twelve months ago, pretty much all of our revenues had fallen off a cliff," Annesley said.
"We've written more than $4 million in new business this year and the future prospects are heading north.
"The [sponsorship books] are almost full but we're currently negotiating with a number of companies for our remaining sponsorship properties, particularly the sleeve.
"We haven't had a fire sale. We've held out and tried to maximise the value of this club and I think we're seeing the results of that."