Broncos fans are seen during the Round 19 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Friday, July 20, 2018. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Broncos fans are seen during the Round 19 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Friday, July 20, 2018. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Numbers show Brisbane needs another team

The Broncos have been unveiled as the NRL's $46 million cash cow, reigniting calls for a second rugby league franchise in Brisbane.

The Sunday Mail can reveal the true extent of Brisbane's off-field dominance after obtaining a leaked NRL financial document.

The 2017 season summary reveals the Broncos had revenue of $32.9m last year, not including the $13m grant issued to all 16 clubs by the NRL.

The Broncos generated more than double the revenue of their closest rival - the North Queensland Cowboys ($15.9m) - and tripled the efforts of Manly ($8.9m) and Canberra ($9.1m).

The Broncos employed 81 full time staff last year, nearly triple that of Canberra (29) and Manly (29) and more than double of south east Queensland rivals the Gold Coast Titans (35).

Under CEO Paul White, the Broncos have set the standard for off-field excellence and are ranked No. 1 in the league for sponsorship revenue, membership numbers and game day revenue.

Brisbane are a financial powerhouse. AAP Image/Dave Hunt.
Brisbane are a financial powerhouse. AAP Image/Dave Hunt.

However despite their administration excellence, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the Broncos enjoy a geographical advantage being the only team in a rugby league-dominated city.

The Broncos have so far enjoyed a monopoly in the Brisbane market, but the idea of the NRL expanding with a second team in the city refuses to go away.

ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie is determined to set expansion plans during his tenure and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg refused to rule out a second team arriving in Brisbane.

"There has always been an appetite for us to continue to bring more content to Queensland, whether that translates to an additional team is a question that is open for us," Greenberg said.

"The commission have asked me to consider what the long-term future of the game looks like and that includes footprint.

"The real question is do you want expand the competition or do you want to relocate teams? That's an open question for us at the moment and we haven't answered it.

"If you are asking me whether we are looking to relocate teams from Sydney, the answer is no. The short answer is over the next five year cycle our priority is making sure all 16 clubs are sustainable."

Brisbane’s Clive Berghofer Centre at Red Hill is proof of their resources.
Brisbane’s Clive Berghofer Centre at Red Hill is proof of their resources.

The Broncos' monopoly is safe for at least the next few years due to the current broadcasting agreement requiring a 16-team competition.

Greenberg said it was impossible to put a time frame on expansion plans.

"It's really difficult to put a target on it, because you need to do the work and understand how it would impact broadcast but also participation and the quality of the competition that we currently have," he said.

"These are open questions we don't need solved today, but they are questions on my table for the long-term future of the game.

"I'd like to see more teams across the competition. Peter Beattie is on record saying you can't sit still, we should have aspirations to grow, but you have to do it methodically and you have to do it professionally."

 

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