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Tasmania Devils Membership Milestone

TASMANIA'S AFL Club has not only met but surpassed its inaugural membership target.

TASMANIA’S AFL club has not only met but surpassed its inaugural membership target, with numbers now exceeding 125,000 and still climbing. This achievement is poised to resonate strongly, sending a resounding message to politicians and other stakeholders who may have been initially hesitant about the endeavor.

The League’s 19th franchise, slated to join the men’s competition in 2028, made its debut on Monday night under the banner of the Devils, adorned in a traditional green, yellow, and red strip.

The club set out with a goal of securing 40,000 members by October, offering memberships at a mere $10 each. Astonishingly, this target was obliterated within just two hours of the launch, with membership numbers soaring to 75,000 by midday Tuesday.

Grant O’Brien, the club’s chair, expressed immense satisfaction with the launch, also shedding light on the negotiations with Warner Bros regarding the usage of the ‘Devils’ name, which persisted until the eleventh hour.

“We can now speak with the backing of over 75,000 members as we navigate the next steps,” remarked O’Brien during Tuesday’s announcement at Campbell Town Football Club. “This robust support will also strengthen our position in discussions with politicians and other stakeholders, particularly concerning stadium and infrastructure considerations.”

(L-R) Oliver Kelly, Taya Parker, Jimi Partridge and Caitlin Evans pose during the Tasmania Football Club launch at Paranaple Convention Centre on March 18, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

O’Brien recounted the initial challenges in negotiations with Warner Bros, which included clarifying the existence of the Tasmanian devil as a real animal. However, once this hurdle was overcome, agreements were swiftly reached, culminating in the adoption of the mascot under an intellectual property sharing agreement, sans any financial transactions.

The club’s licensing is contingent upon the development of a new $715 million, 23,000-seat roofed stadium at Macquarie Point in Hobart. This project has been a focal point of political and communal debate, especially in the lead-up to the state election. Regardless of the election outcome, the stadium’s construction will undergo independent assessment and parliamentary approval.

O’Brien affirmed the club’s alignment with the AFL’s stance on the stadium deal, emphasizing its non-negotiable status. “The fate of the election rests with the people, but the overwhelming public support we’ve witnessed suggests unstoppable momentum,” he declared.

Richmond legend Jack Riewoldt, a driving force behind the club’s establishment, hailed the surge in membership numbers as a potent signal to all observers. “Hopefully, those who may have been hesitant can now recognize the strength of this movement and join us on this journey,” he remarked.

As per the terms of the contract with the AFL, the club faces financial penalties if the stadium’s construction fails to meet specified deadlines. Initially, matches will be held at Blundstone Arena in Hobart and the University of Tasmania’s venue in Launceston.

Looking ahead, the club aims to appoint a CEO by mid-year, with the individual assuming the role in early 2025.

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