June 14, 2019 8:48am|
by Zac Rayson|
Source: FOX SPORTS
The Broncos could soon lose their one-team town status.The Broncos could soon lose their one-team town status.Source: Getty Images
The NRL just took a major stride forward in moves to expand the league, with ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie opening discussions with broadcasters over adding a 17th team.
According to The Courier-Mail, Beattie approached Fox Sports and Channel 9 to discuss the introduction of an additional team when the NRL’s next TV deal begins in 2023.
And Beattie wants the new team to rival the Broncos in the lucrative Brisbane market, beating out the next likely location of Perth.
After years of debate over expansion — or even relocation of a Sydney club — Beattie’s move is the first decisive step towards the introduction of a new team.
“I am a strong supporter of expansion because I think the game has to expand,” Beattie told The Courier-Mail, after last year claiming the game must ‘expand or die’.
“Clearly Queensland needs another team, that is obvious,” Beattie said.
“The challenge is how to manage that.”
Bids from Ipswich, Central Queensland, the Brisbane Bombers and the Redcliffe Dolphins to have all attracted support in recent years, and Beattie will likely engage with those consortiums in future expansion discussions.
But first, a viable business case must be made to key stakeholders, particularly TV broadcasters.
Beattie said “The bottom line is Fox Sports and Nine aren’t running a charity, they have to work out how does extra teams bring in revenue and is it good for the broadcasters?
“None of this is easy. We don’t have a solution yet, but Todd (Greenberg) is working on one.”
NRL chief executive Greenberg is currently compiling a comprehensive report into the game’s present and future challenges and opportunities, which he will table to the ARL Commission at the end of the current season.
That is almost certain to include a discussion of the merits of expansion in 2023, with Greenberg previously on record in favour of growing the code.
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