Memberships are a good source of revenue for clubs and are used to try and get fans closer to their club with members only features, such as invitations to training days and team functions, where fans can mingle with their favourite clubs NRL stars.
Unfortunately though, some clubs fail to adequately welcome some of their fans who don't happen to live in the State or city of their team.
Interstate packages in previous years had tended to be marginally cheaper than some teams basic membership packages that offered 6 or so home games.
2013 has seen a lot of clubs dramatically improve their interstate memberships, some via better and/or more merchandise, some through offering more tickets to games and a rare few that provide invitations to team specific events, either at home or when travelling to another team's home.
Sadly, some clubs just haven't bothered to grasp the concept and have left interstate/regional fans wondering whether it's really worth the money.
Furthermore, these people are made to feel like lesser fans, or betrayers of their club, thanks to the some poor marketing/advertising schemes employed by some clubs, especially those which run campaigns on slogans such as "Show you are a true fan and become a member today."
People, especially the elderly, have followed and financially supported their clubs for decades and all of a sudden, if they can't afford a membership they are deemed to be disloyal almost.
It's disrespectful to every fan who doesn't have a membership but has always spent money on their club.
2013 has seen a dramatic improvement in Interstate memberships, with many clubs providing state-specific memberships now (mostly for NSW, QLD and VIC), but this is a very good thing.
I have viewed each clubs Interstate/Regional memberships and decided to do a comparison to see just what variation there is between the clubs. It turns out the cheapest of these type of memberships is $59 and the most expensive is $160.
That alone shows that there are some clubs that just don't understand the external costs incurred by an Interstate/Regional member (flights, accommodation, transport, food, time etc).
So In my view, here are each clubs Interstate package in three groups, great value, reasonable value and poor value, along with the most notable extras.
Brisbane - $60 - 1 Away game and a 2 tickets for the price of one for a home game plus key ring, sticker, magnet, magnetic photo frame, lanyard, drink coasters, poncho, 10% discount voucher, Membership to Leagues Club and Broncos Yearbook.
St.George-Illawarra - $85 - 1 Home game and 1 Away game plus a backpack, cap, keyring, sticker, lanyard and 15% discount voucher.
Cronulla - $100 - 1 Home game and 1 Away game plus a backpack, cap, keyring, sticker, lanyard, 10% discount voucher and your name on the members jumper.
Canterbury - $65 - 1 Home game and 1 Away game plus a cap, sticker and keyring
Penrith - $70 - 1 Home game and 1 Away game plus members kit (not revealed what is in members kit)
Warriors - $59 - No tickets, but you do get discounted tickets for games in Australia, plus a cap, pin, lanyard, keyring, sticker and a 10% discount voucher
Gold Coast - $65 - 2 tickets to 1 Away game plus members pack (not revealed what is in members kit)
Newcastle - $75 - 3 Home games plus cap, keyring, sticker, magnet, lanyard and a 10% discount voucher
Sydney - $85 - 2 tickets to 1 Away game plus a cap, lanyard, keyring, sticker, 10% discount voucher and Membership to Leagues Club
North Queensland - $78 - 2 tickets to 1 Away game plus a backpack, cap, water bottle, lanyard, magnet, keyring, calendar and a 10% discount voucher
Canberra - $70 - 2 tickets to 1 Away game plus a scarf, keyring, pin and sticker.
Parramatta - $110 - 2 Home games and 1 Away game plus a lanyard, cap, sticker and scarf
Melbourne - $135 - 2 Home games and 1 Away game plus a cap, keyring, lanyard, sticker, pin and 10% discount voucher
Manly - $140 - 2 Home games and 1 Away game plus a cooler bag, mini replica jersey and a mousepad
Wests Tigers - $110 - 4 tickets to 1 Home game plus a lanyard, sticker, scarf and a $20 merchandise voucher
Souths - $160 - 5 Home games plus a keyring, sticker, magnet, lanyard and a 10% discount voucher.
My reasons are based on price, good balance of home and away games, merchandise, events or features that the club and it's players allow you to be involved in, and the clubs interest in accommodating fans wishes to attend games at other clubs specific venues.
This information has all been taken directly from club websites and I must stress, I've only mentioned the significant extras (mostly material items)
11 of the 16 clubs have Interstate memberships at $100 or less.
I understand and appreciate that some people would like to argue at length about how I may have some of this stuff wrong. I welcome it, but I hope that the discussion is based upon how clubs can improve this specific membership.
It is the National Rugby League afterall, and all clubs have fans in other states and even countries to that where they are based. If they and the game as a whole is to expand across the country and become the undeniable number one sport and football code in Australia, then ALL fans need to feel respected, involved and wanted by all clubs.