ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said the commission had responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing a plan to secure the financial viability of the game.
“The commission has been focused on navigating the challenges of COVID-19 to ensure we are able to maximise funds available for distribution to members, invest in grassroots participation and invest in income-producing assets,” V’landys said.
“We’ve emerged in a strong financial position, NRL clubs are well-funded and profitable, fans are supporting the NRL and NRLW competitions in record numbers and there is a plan in place to further invest in grassroots football including schools and club participation.
“Furthermore, the game now has acquired an asset, the Gambaro Hotel, that will diversify revenues and create innovative experiences for fans. This is the first of many assets that will produce revenues for the game.
“The plan has included strategies to grow revenues and restructure operations to ensure the game was fit and ready to emerge from the pandemic, with the financial strength to seize expected growth opportunities.”
The NRL said the financial performance was a result of a strong season of football that included:
- Cumulative Telstra Premiership TV, streaming and linear audiences of 132.5 million (up 5 per cent);
- 17 per cent growth in digital audience, including 6.6 million social media followers;
- 3.5 million fans attending games which is the highest in a decade;
- A record crowd of 42,921 at the NRLW grand final.
At the end of 2022, the NRL and NRLW’s naming-rights partner Telstra extended its association with rugby league to 2027. The new five-year partnership is the largest in the game’s history and marks a 26-year involvement in the game by Telstra.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo thanked key stakeholders for supporting the game and said the game’s strong financial position forms the basis from which the NRL will pursue ambitious growth plans during the next five years.
The NRL and the Rugby League Players’ Association were again engaged in negotiations on Wednesday in the hope of brokering a CBA before the start of the NRL season next week. The traditional season launch has been a casualty in the protracted and often heated discussions, although both parties are hopeful of a resolution before the opening Parramatta-Melbourne clash on Thursday week.
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