It is the staggering figure that proves just how valuable an asset the Newcastle Knights are to the city and the NRL.
Despite winning just 14 games in the past three seasons and clinching three wooden spoons, Knights players will take the field this season in a playing strip worth $5.7 million due to unprecedented sponsor support.
It is understood it ranks the Knights in the top three or four clubs in the premiership when it comes to the commercial value of their strip with only NRL heavyweights Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm and possibly North Queensland Cowboys rated ahead of them.
For the first time in the Knights’ 31-year history, every available advertising space on the jersey and shorts has been sold as corporate support for the club shatters previous record levels.
READ MORE: Check out the Newcastle Knights news hub
The final remaining spot on the playing shorts was snapped up by superannuation fund Mine Super late last week with the long-term club sponsor increasing its involvement to feature on the strip for the first time.
Knights CEO Phil Gardner has also revealed that interest in enclosed corporate boxes at McDonald Jones Stadium has been at a premier and are expected to sell out for the first time.
Clearly, the professionalism of the club’s new owners, Wests Group and the respect and commercial reach they command within the Hunter has been a major factor in the Knights remarkable corporate support along with optimism the club’s dramatic roster overhaul will finally deliver on-field success under coach Nathan Brown.
“It is a fantastic vote of confidence in the club and the town,”Gardner said.
“We’ve been able to sell all our properties, we are going to have all of our boxes sold, we’ve had a sold-out trial and we are going to have a fantastic crowd for our first home game.
“I don’t think I have felt more excited about the start of a season ever.”
Gardner is not alone in his optimism.
A beefed-up playing roster, headed by the likes of new recruits Mitchell Pearce, Kalyn Ponga, Connor Watson and Aidan Guerra, also has Knights fans confident of a resurgence under coach Nathan Brown despite last weekend’s trial loss to the Parramatta Eels at Maitland.
Membership numbers, on the slide in recent years, are on the rise once again.
More than a week out from the start of the competition, the Knights currently have 13,777 members and are targeting a figure of more than 15,000 as the season progresses.
They finished last year with 13,370 members.
The club is also looking at a crowd of in excess of 22,000 for the Manly game on Friday week despite the dreaded 6 pm time-slot, their biggest season-opening home crowd in six years.
Meanwhile, the team will spend the next three days in camp at Salamander with coach Brown indicating the big loss to the Eels had left no psychological scarring.
“We certainly fell short in a few areas and all the boys were disappointed we didn’t play better but it hasn’t done us any harm,”Brown said.
“Everyone has come back to training pretty determined to fix up the areas we need to work on.”
Brown said the camp would be a bonding exercise with a leadership coach coming in to assist the group.
“You can achieve a great deal when you are in camp together and with a host of new players, it’s good to be able to get everyone together for an extended period,”he said.
“It’s a footy camp, not a torture camp so there will be some meetings and reviews around the usual training sessions and we will also do some preparation up there for the Manly game.”
The squad will return to Newcastle on Friday for the club’s corporate season launch with Brown to unveil his senior leadership group and announce who will captain the side this season.