The National Rugby League (NRL) has posted a second straight surplus over $30 million with annual revenue now at $528 million.
Initiatives like the successful staging of Magic Round in Brisbane, a sold-out State of Origin in Perth and robust commercial growth has led to a significant increase in non-broadcast revenue for the game.
The surplus has allowed for an increase in distributions to club and state members as well as a direct $10 million investment into grassroots football for the 2020 season.
The number of participants playing rugby league in 2019 increased nationally, driven by an 18 per cent growth in the women’s game and more than 11,000 children being introduced to rugby league as part of the new League Stars program.
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 NRL’s net assets, which are largely still held as cash, have grown to $117 million, more than doubling over the past 24 months from $51.1 million in the 2017 report and up from just $19.4 million in 2012.
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.”