QLD_SM_SPORT_NRL_BOMBERS_14MAR20
QLD_SM_SPORT_NRL_BOMBERS_14MAR20

Brisbane NRL expansion back on the cards for 2022

The NRL is eyeing expansion as early as 2022 with ARLC chairman Peter V'landys revealing plans to fast-track the birth of a second Brisbane team to "dominate" the Queensland market.

The Sunday Mail can reveal V'landys will begin a full financial probe of the code's finances in a bid to deliver a fourth Queensland side as part of a 17-team competition for the 2022 season.

The revelation will rock the Queensland sporting market with V'landys keen for the Broncos and a second Brisbane team to take a stranglehold over rival codes the AFL, rugby and football's A-League in the Sunshine State.

Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership, returning Thursday 28th May. Watch every game Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

Peter V'landys says expansion is back on the cards for the NRL. Picture: Nikki Short.
Peter V'landys says expansion is back on the cards for the NRL. Picture: Nikki Short.

There were fears the coronavirus pandemic had torpedoed the NRL's planned expansion for 2023 but, ironically, the COVID-19 ordeal could expedite it.

The NRL finalised a revised broadcast deal on Thursday worth an estimated $280 million annually for the next three years and that has given V'landys the fiscal clarity to ramp-up his mission for a second Brisbane team.

In the new broadcast deal negotiated by V'landys with Channel 9 and Fox Sports, there is contractual scope for a 17th team to be added - and the ARLC boss wants a second Brisbane team sooner than expected.

Asked if he is aiming for a 2023 expansion time frame, V'landys said: "I actually believe it can be earlier than that.

"There could be a second Brisbane team in 2022.

"To be honest, with the broadcast deal done, it might expedite our plans with expansion.

"We now have financial certainty.

"A second Brisbane team will generate even more value for the code in my eyes. But I want to make this very clear _ we are fully behind the Broncos and Titans and it is important we do not cannibalise those existing clubs in the southeast Queensland market.

"Ensuring the viability of the 16 clubs, and that includes the Broncos and Titans, is my priority.

"But in my eyes, expansion is on the agenda and I still think Brisbane needs a second team to dominate Queensland.

"The coronavirus pandemic hasn't ruined the expansion plans at all.

"I am very much attracted to another team in Queensland. There is a need for it."

The coronavirus pandemic could actually help expedite the expansion process. Picture: AAP.
The coronavirus pandemic could actually help expedite the expansion process. Picture: AAP.

V'landys' stance on expansion is a shot in the arm for Queensland's prospective NRL teams, with Ipswich's western-corridor bid, Redcliffe, the Brisbane Bombers and Easts Tigers all in the mix for a 17th licence.

After a long 10-year wait, the Bombers are well advanced with their bid, having formulated a 200-page document. The western-corridor bid and Redcliffe are also ready to go.

The Sunday Mail understands the NRL's next franchise would require at least $10 million in start-up funding, which would bolster the $13m currently allocated to each of the 16 clubs.

Before the COVID-19 crisis hit, V'landys addressed the ARL Commissioners on the importance of growing the game.

With the NRL now back up and running, the ARLC boss confirmed he will undertake an investigation of the game's finances to explore ways to launch a second Brisbane team in 2022.

"I will now sit down and do a full analysis of where we head with expansion," he said.

Asked if there is a provision in the broadcast contract for a 17th team, V'landys added: "Yes, we have to look at our revenues and expenses and it will come down to an analysis to say: one, we can afford it and, two, there will be a return on capital.

"What has changed is the landscape and the impact of this crisis on our finances.

"I need to sit down and look at whether we can afford to expand the game and we need to get the outcomes we desire, otherwise it's not worth doing.

No spectators were allowed at the Broncos match against the Eels under strict biosecurity rules. Picture: Getty Images.
No spectators were allowed at the Broncos match against the Eels under strict biosecurity rules. Picture: Getty Images.

"But I still think the outcome is there and I still believe the return on capital of a second Brisbane team is still there.

"If we were negotiating the contract next year, we would have no clarity, but now we are 12 months ahead of ourselves in some ways and that helps us map out the future.

"Obviously, the onus is on us to trim expenses at the NRL. You have to have a sustainable model and what I need to ensure is that we improve that sustainable model, not make it worse."

Should the NRL expand in 2022, that would give a second Brisbane team just 18 months to implement structures, recruit a coach and sign a 30-man roster.

But V'landys believes there is sufficient time for a start-up franchise.

"I appreciate a new team would need to plan quickly, but 2022 is still two years away," he said.

"Look at what we have done getting the NRL back up and running in eight weeks.

"Having 12 to 18 months would be a luxury for a second Brisbane team to be ready.

"A second Brisbane team has to fit into the revamped cost structure of the game. If it doesn't, expansion won't happen, but I believe we can make it happen."

 

BOMBERS READY TO GO FOR 2022 SEASON

Bombers bid director Nick Livermore says his franchise can be operational by 2022 as Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner backed plans for a second team in Brisbane to join the Broncos.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys has given the NRL's prospective bid teams a stunning ray of hope by revealing the code could fast-track a second team in Brisbane in time for the 2022 premiership.

The Bombers, Ipswich's western-corridor bid, Redcliffe and the Easts Tigers were initially targeting possible admission in 2023, but Livermore welcomed the prospect of entering the NRL 12 months earlier.

Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership, returning Thursday 28th May. Watch every game Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

Could we see a second Brisbane team in the NRL in 2022? Picture: Annette Dew
Could we see a second Brisbane team in the NRL in 2022? Picture: Annette Dew

"The COVID-19 situation has had an impact on everyone but we would be ready to go if the NRL wanted to expand in 2022, absolutely," he said.

"We have already engaged Scott Sattler (Titans foundation football manager) to look at building structures and he was involved in setting up the Gold Coast.

"I've worked on this bid for 10 years so we've already got a bid document in place with the relevant budgets that would satisfy the NRL's requirements.

"We've always maintained that a second Brisbane team would add more value to the NRL.

"I hope the Commission sees it that way as well and if they wanted to expand for 2022, we'll support that."

The Queensland government is backing the push for a second Brisbane team. Livermore has also held talks with Brisbane Lord Mayor Schrinner, who urged the NRL to bring action to Suncorp Stadium every week.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has backed calls for a second NRL team in Brisbane. Picture: Steve Pohlner.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has backed calls for a second NRL team in Brisbane. Picture: Steve Pohlner.

"I support a second Brisbane NRL licence," he said.

"Last week I met with Brisbane Bombers CEO Nick Livermore, a man who is passionate not just for NRL, but also passionate about Brisbane putting forward the best team to show some serious competition and bring in an economic boost for the city.

"The Brisbane Bombers have been working tirelessly since 2011 and have developed a strong and comprehensive pitch, and I believe they have the experience and ability to lead an NRL team.

"There are other teams vying for the second licence. I have complete faith in the Australian Rugby League Commission to make the best decision for the sport and for Brisbane.

"I am backing Brisbane and am more than happy to meet with other bidders and hear their pitch. I look forward to seeing an expansion to NRL and giving generations now and into the future more reasons to support a local team."

Originally published as Brisbane NRL expansion back on the cards for 2022



MORNING BRIEF: All the news you need to start your day

premium_icon MORNING BRIEF: All the news you need to start your day

The Daily News rounds up the region’s biggest stories, alongside weather and lotto...

NAMED: 14 people appearing in Warwick court today

premium_icon NAMED: 14 people appearing in Warwick court today

A full list of who will face charges in Warwick Magistrates Court, updated daily.

Record-low Warwick flu season amid pandemic

premium_icon Record-low Warwick flu season amid pandemic

Coronavirus may have saved the Rose City from a virus double whammy.