North Melbourne will turn its attention to AFLW and digital revenue growth after securing three new sponsors and renewing ties with two more on the eve of the 2018 AFL season.
The Kangaroos have signed athletics giant New Balance to a new partnership which will supply players and coaches with NB footwear in the coming season.
Shining Knight, a leading facility services firm, becomes the official cleaning supplier of the Kangaroos and will also support 'The Huddle', the club's community hub.
And Melbourne Airport Parking has struck a two-year deal in a sponsorship that gives players and staff access to valet parking in a bid to reduce travel times for interstate games.
Meanwhile, media polo sponsor ASG has agreed a three-year renewal and Anytime Fitness, the club's high-performance partner, has re-committed for a further season.
Sales and sponsorship revenue rose 9.1% to a record $9.34 million last year, despite the club finishing a disappointing 15th on the ladder.
Commercial business, events and fundraising accounted for a further $2.9m as the club posted an operating profit of $633k from revenue of $39m despite on-field troubles leading to downturns in membership and ticketing.
The bulk of the club's largest sponsors are locked in for at least the next two seasons, including principal partner Mazda, match-ball sponsor Chemist Warehouse and shorts sponsor Hello Solar (all end of 2019), plus the Spirit of Tasmania (2021) and apparel sponsor Canterbury (2022).
Sponsorship interest strong ahead of AFLW launch
The Kangaroos will also be boosted next season after securing an AFL Women's licence ahead of the competition's expansion in 2019. The Kangaroos and Geelong will join the AFLW next season before the addition of a further four clubs in 2020, taking the tournament to 14 teams.
A North Melbourne spokesperson told Sponsorship News that there was "significant interest from existing and prospective partners" about the AFLW program.
The AFLW team, to be known as the North Melbourne Tasmania Kangaroos, will be operated in partnership with AFL Tasmania. The club has strong existing connections with Tasmania, including an agreement to play three home games in Hobart per-season.
The spokesperson also said that the club had "invested heavily" in digital content resources as part of a plan to grow digital revenue. The addition of an AFLW team and the club's new stand-alone Victorian Football League entrant is set to help the club grow its content offering.
The Kangaroos also became the first sporting club in Australia to launch a gender equality action plan. The plan outlines a raft of goals for stronger representation of women, including flexible workplace policies and a target of 40% of the club's members to be female.
North Melbourne CEO Carl Dilena also said the club aimed to hit a 40% target for female employees in the next five years. Some 39 women currently work at North, including 13 in the football department, making up 34% of total headcount.