Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch hopes the AFL will use its rich new broadcast deal to help strengthen clubs in frontier markets and close the gap between rich and poor.
As the game’s stakeholders began lining up for a slice of the AFL’s historic $2.5 billion war chest, Leppitsch took the opportunity on Wednesday to put forward the Lions’ case for a cash injection.
The Lions are among the lowest spenders in the AFL on their football department, and their training and administration base at the Gabba is light years behind some of the more-newly constructed club headquarters in the competition.
Crowds and general interest have also dropped off in south-east Queensland this year on the back of Brisbane and Gold Coast’s struggles.
Leppitsch said the new TV deal presented the AFL with a rare opportunity to tick longstanding items off club wishlists.
“There’s so many things in clubland that need to be fixed up,” he said.
“There’s things that money can’t buy that we can fix ourselves but there’s things that money can only fix that we need as well.
“We’re not the only ones, I’m sure.
“There’s some things in the background that hopefully the industry understands that needs to be evened up so the playing field gets even as well.”
Leppitsch said the AFL should be aiming for both the Lions and the Suns to be self-sufficient by the end of the next broadcast arrangement in 2022.
“(Interest) does fluctuate in Queensland and NSW so we need to make sure it’s solid and strong,” he said.
“I’m really confident with Gil (McLachlan) and the AFL, they’ve been up here a lot and they’re really conscious of what we need to do to get this club right.
“And get it right for a long history – not just come up, win some premierships and go back to the bottom.
“We don’t want to do this again.”