Pearce NRL signing proves financial boon

Dec 14, 2017 - 6:13 AM Newcastle are steaming towards setting a new club membership record with Mitchell Pearce's arrival whipping the Knights' faithful into a frenzy.

The Knights' decision to sign the NSW Origin playmaker to a four-year $4 million NRL deal has proven a financial boon for the club with fans knocking down the door to secure tickets.

The club's total sales revenue for season 2018 has already surpassed its 2017 total, despite the season kickoff still being three months away.

The Knights have 12,000 members signed up, and although they had 13,000 ticketed members last year, many have upgraded to more-expensive tickets, meaning additional money has streamed into the club's coffers.

Knights CEO Philip Gardner said he hoped they could surpass the club's membership record of 18,000 before the end of the 2018 season.

"What's happened is not only are we getting that great flow through of numbers, people are upgrading - they're getting better seats because we didn't put the price up," Gardner told AAP.

"One of the things (owners Wests Group) said when we took over is that we wouldn't increase prices.

"We're in line for at least 15,000 members. Aspirationally, the club's record number is 18,000. We're hoping we can get there by the end of the season.

"If we get to 20,000, that means our stadium (grandstand) is sold out."

Gardner said the city had embraced Pearce and excitement about the club was at an all-time high.

"There's an expectation we'll improve. But there's not ridiculous expectation on Mitch," Gardner said.

"No one is expecting Mitch to carry the side. He'll have a lot less pressure here.

"He's very competitive, he's not going to relinquish his Blues jumper and he'd like to be the Australian halfback. That's what he wants to do and we want to support him as much as we can."

Gardner said the club's season opener against Manly was tracking for a near-capacity crowd, despite being scheduled in the difficult 6:00pm Friday timeslot.

"It's going to be a really big event. They'll be hanging from the rafters," Gardner said.

Their round-three blockbuster against Pearce's old club the Sydney Roosters was expected to be a sellout.

"We're expecting a full house," Gardner said.

"If you want a ticket to that game, I'd be getting it now. There's a lot of interest.

"I'm expecting a huge crowd. I'm reserving a seat for (Roosters chairman) Nick Politis so he can watch the Knights win."

Source: AAP

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