Warriors 1st Grader
- May 15, 2012
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-------------------------------------A glimpse in to how much $$$ the Roosters actually have...
Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis preparing $545m parting gift for the club
MARK METCALFE/ GETTY IMAGES
Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend of the Roosters pose with Roosters chairman Nick Politis.
For the past 25 years, Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis has sat in the same seat - row N, bay 62, seat - at Allianz Stadium to watch his beloved rugby league team.
When the stadium is knocked down following next Friday's Michael Buble concert, the SCG Trust will give Politis the seat as a souvenir.
It's a nice touch, but a more pressing question is how much longer will Politis, 76, be sitting on the throne of the Roosters?
Will a NRL grand final victory over the Melbourne Storm on Sunday night prompt Politis to step back and hand over the chairmanship?
"No mate," Politis said. "I haven't thought about retirement".
Then he let out his signature giggle.
"Can we just wait and see if we win first? One step at a time. But I won't be retiring."
CARL DRURY/ SCG TRUST
Nick Politis in his favourite seat at Sydney's Allianz Stadium, row N, bay 62.
Politis certainly understands, though, that he can't run the club forever and is preparing for the future. His end-game is to deliver a property portfolio worth A$500 million (NZ$545m) before he finishes.
He might have made his way in the world selling cars but much of his fortune can be attributed to property. He was last year ranked No.82 on The Australian Financial Review's Rich List with an estimated wealth of A$773m (NZ$843m).
On his watch, the Sydney club has snapped up Waverley Bowling Club, Berkeley Sports, Kingswood Sports Club and Woy Woy Leagues. They also plan to turn North Bondi Golf and Diggers Club into a multi-purpose sports centre.
The centrepiece is a redeveloped Easts Leagues in Bondi Junction. The club has snapped up most of the property on the L-shaped block on the corner of Spring Street and Bronte Road with a long-term plan to turn it into a lucrative high-rise development.
Politis knows his club can't survive on poker machine revenue forever and wants to leave it in safe hands for the next custodians of the club.
"That should be any chairman's objective," he said. "At the moment, our commercial property is valued at A$120m and we have no debt. Next year, we will have A$10m in cash in the bank. We're in a very good position financially."
Now to the small matter of finding the next chairman.
This column raised the question at the start of the year when rumours started floating around that Politis was about to stand down. It is no closer to being answered.
Former David Jones boss Mark McInnes was being prepared to take over but he's since left the board. Former Channel Nine boss David Gyngell is a possibility. So, too, is businessman Mark Bouris.
Powerful TV executive Mark Fennessy is an important board member who was fundamental in getting fullback James Tedesco to the club when Politis refused to deal with Tedesco's manager, Isaac Moses, after a spectacular fallout.
But Fennessy, like many on the club's high-powered board, doesn't have the time to juggle work life and Roosters' life.
"I want to make sure whoever takes over has the time, enthusiasm and passion to make sure the club continues to be successful," Politis said. "We have some good candidates on our board. We'll sort something out."
Uncle Nick usually does.
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