Formation of the Gold Coast suns GC17 Continuum was created with the aim of adding a Gold Coast team as the 17th team into the AFL season. The committee contained three men, Graham Downie, a former Brisbane lions chairman, Southport sharks director Alan Mackenzie and lawyer and community leader John Witheriff. The bid process was formalised on April 22, 2008. This committee was responsible for achieving the criteria set by the AFL and obtaining the provisional license.
It was reported that in January 2008 the AFL officially registered the name Gold Coast Football Club Ltd with the Australian securities and investments commission before winning the bid. The GC17 Continuum still had to win the support of the leagues 16 club presidents to win the bid to establish a side on the Gold Coast. It was during early 2009 when the Gold Coast signed a deal with Host Plus superannuation fund to be the clubs major sponsor. Upon forming a new AFL team in Gold Coast the AFL issued a set of criteria for on and off field sustainability that must be reached in order to receive the AFL license to be the 17th AFL club. The criteria included: 1. corporate backing, 2. supporter base, 3. high net worth, 4. net assets, 5. football, 6. training and admin, 7. brand and identity, 8. community, and 9. organisation and governance. The GC17 continuum set about meeting and exceeding these criterion as a means of identifying and progressing through the project and achieving their overall outcome of forming the 17th AFL team. At the acceptance of the Gold Coast football team into the AFL competition GC17 had achieved;
~The following criteria were no performed in order listed as many tasks within each criteria were dependent on each other to be successful.
1. The criteria included finding corporate backing from major businesses as well as from local companies that could aid financially.
2. The criterion set by the AFL board was to develop future interest in the new AFL club. A supporter base was to be established.
3. The criteria involved receiving commitments to long term training, administrative base, and financial assets.
4. Pledges to establish in excess of $5 million in capital reserves or net assets by 2011.
5. The criteria is to recruit the basis of the team mainly a coach
6. GC17 developed training and administrative facilities by implementing a plan for fundraising and building these facilitates short and long term
7. The GC17 continuum engaged the Gold Coast community in establishing a brand and identity to define the clubs name, jumper, colours, logo and values. The development and launch of the logo, mascot and colours in conjunction with the local community was designed to represent the Gold Coast region on a national scale.
8. The entire community was engaged to define the agenda for the social and community programs on the Gold Coast.
9. The criteria involves establishing the governance structure for a successful community based club GC17 commenced a search for a CEO. Obtained support from community leaders, finalised a business plan and established direct relationships with the government and local councils.
Although not all criteria were met before the AFL board accepted GC17 into the AFL competition, GC 17 had shown progression and means of achieving all criteria laid down by the AFL. Many of the criteria expectations were well exceeded such as the ideal 20,000 membership base before initiation into the AFL, 45,000 were obtained.
The Gold Coast Football Club was unofficially born on the 31st March 2009 at the clubs inaugural players launch. This launch celebrated Gold Coasts success in attaining a provisional licence to enter the AFL competition in the 2011 season.
The Gold Coast football team was initiated into the AFL competition in 2011. After a poor start to their début season they eventually won their first match in round five. After playing their first home game at the newly renovated Metricon stadium in round 10 the suns were only two wins from nine games. Despite finishing their inaugural season with the wooden spoon. The Gold Coast Suns debut in the AFL competition was considered a success finishing with three wins for the year. The provisional license was lifted and the Gold Coast Suns was an official team of the AFL competition.