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NRL surplus exceeds expectations

The National Rugby League (NRL) has today announced a $30.1 million surplus.

It is the second year in a row the NRL has posted a strong surplus with revenue now at $528 million. 

The NRL’s strong revenue growth was on the back of a successful staging of Magic Round in Brisbane, a sold out State of Origin in Perth and robust commercial growth.

Increased investment in grassroots participation saw the number of participants playing rugby league increase nationally, driven by an 18 per cent growth in the women’s game. More than 11,000 children had their first taste of rugby league in 2019 as part of the new League Stars program. 

The results were announced at today’s Annual General Meeting at Rugby League Central in Sydney. 

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) Chair Peter V’landys, who was re-elected as Chair by the Commission, said the outcome continued the remarkable growth story of the NRL.

“This is an outstanding result for everyone involved in our game. When the Commission was formed in 2012 our revenue was just $180 million, that figure is now $528 million. It is a remarkable growth story,’’ he said. 

“We have now consolidated a strong surplus, that hasn’t always been the case for the NRL, and it provides us with the opportunity to invest more in grassroots rugby league and look at long term investments to ensure an even stronger future.”

“The growth in our participation numbers, particularly a double-digit increase in the women’s game, highlights the importance of our increased investment in participation programs.”

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said despite challenges during the 2019 season the game’s commercial revenue continued to grow. 

“Our non-broadcast revenue increased by 14 per cent to over $200 million, that’s a strong investment in rugby league and showcases the continuing strength of our product,’’ he said. 

“In 2019, we worked to secure new partners and extend existing relationships.”

Mr Greenberg said the growth of the game nationwide had enhanced revenue options. 

“Now more than ever our game has a genuine national footprint. State of Origin was played in Perth in 2019 with a record crowd attendance for Optus Stadium. This year we will have NRL content in every mainland capital city - that highlights the strength of our game right across the country.

“In 2019 we took calculated risks like Magic Round - never been done before - and playing an Origin game in Perth. Both innovations exceeded expectations and generated a strong commercial return for everyone in the game.”

Mr V’landys said the Commission was focussed on further strengthening the game’s finances in the coming year. 

“There are still enormous growth opportunities in rugby league. We will continue to look at opportunities where we can be innovative across all arms of our business,’’ he said. 

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