This Australian Club Has a 40-Year Member Waiting List

The operators of the Melbourne Cricket Club, which runs one of the country's largest stadiums, are trying to ensure that sports enthusiasts aren't waiting more than half their lives to join the club. Currently, its waiting list tops 200,000.

Here’s a membership problem most associations would straight-up love to have, even as it stressed them out.

Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC)—the oldest sporting club in Australia and the operator of one of its largest stadiums, the Melbourne Cricket Ground—has more than 103,000 active members: 62,400 full members and 41,000 restricted members. That’s an impressive number, until you learn that 236,000-plus people are on a waiting list to join. The club adds only a few thousand people per year as restricted members, and more than 10,000 additional serious sports fans join the waiting list each year.

Do the math and you see how that plays out: Applicants for membership are stuck on the waiting list for decades before they receive an invitation to join and finally get to enjoy premium event access and other benefits of membership. It’s a problem that the organization is hoping to fix.

We have the scope to accommodate a greater number of members than we do now.

In a new proposal, MCC officials admit that, “unless action is taken, a person who joins the waiting list today will wait more than 40 years before receiving a membership offer.”

That’s why the organization is considering a rule change that would add up to 10,000 more restricted-level members per year over the next five to 10 years, with the goal of improving the club’s demographic mix.

“It is the MCC’s view that a vibrant club needs to continually introduce young members and have a wide spread of demographics and interests,” the club states in the proposal. “Therefore, it is the aim of the committee that the waiting time for restricted membership should not take more than 25 years. This rule change gives hope that many families … can continue the generational connection of MCC membership.”

Melbourne Cricket Club

To be fair, 25 years isn’t anyone’s idea of a short wait, but it’s a lot better than 41 years. So where did the club find the room to add more members? To put it simply, MCC realized that it was regularly below its full capacity in the Melbourne Cricket Ground’s reserve section, so it only made sense to better utilize the space.

“We have the scope to accommodate a greater number of members than we do now,” MCC’s general manager of membership and heritage, Scott Butler, told the Herald Sun. “Years of data show that the MCC reserve is rarely at capacity, or indeed even close. Even some of the marquee events … consistently require us to sell a large number of visitor tickets in order to fill our seating area.”

Butler noted that additions to the membership rolls, which still have to be approved by current club members, would be carefully watched to ensure they had a minimal effect on “comfort and access to amenities in the reserve.”

What’s the longest waiting list you’ve ever been on? Share it in the comments.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground, where membership is both widely-desired and extremely exclusive. (iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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