The Brisbane Bombers NRL Bid have responded to the announcement that the National Rugby League have no plans to include a second Brisbane team in the competition in the foreseeable future.
Bid Chairman Craig Davison stated that ‘our team has worked incredibly hard over the last six years for NRL inclusion to present an opportunity for supporters in the Rugby League capital to get behind. More than half of the Rugby League population in Brisbane don’t support the Broncos and our fan base has swelled since 2010. This announcement does not change the fact that the commercial consensus is the need for another team in Brisbane.’
Davison noted that “Brisbane fans deserves Rugby League every weekend – particularly Sunday afternoon football. We haven’t had a game in daylight here for 2 years and as a Rugby League family, we’re limiting our reach to fans and the wider market. As we have observed many times, Rugby League fans only get 12 opportunities a year to watch live NRL – as many as Melbourne and a fraction of Sydney’s 108 games per year.”
After six years of preparing to tender for a license for a much-needed second team in Brisbane, Bid CEO Nicholas Livermore announced that they will most definitely not be pursuing a licence for the second-tier competition as suggested by NRL Head of Football Brian Canavan.
Since its launch at Suncorp Stadium in 2010, the Bid has maintained that a ‘clean-skin’ brand outside of the traditional Intrust Super Cup clubs would allow the pockets of dense Rugby League fan bases around the South-East corner to unite and create the ultimate Rugby League Derby in a Broncos v Bombers clash of State-of-Origin proportions.
Livermore stated that Canavan’s suggestion of entering the ISC was counter-productive, lacks commercial sense and is in no way a springboard into the NRL. Livermore firmly believes that Brisbane has no room for another ISC team and if the expansion of the ISC is the way forward, Toowoomba would be the immediate choice for an expanded ISC and potentially a New Zealand or Pacific Island team to join the second-tier competition.
“One of the key-strengths and long-term successes of the ISC, is the history of the clubs and their supporter strength. Promoting an existing regionalised side would only polarise the fan-base further and limit the reach of an NRL franchise in Brisbane. We won’t entertain for a moment putting a team in the ISC.” Livermore stated.
“Any new NRL franchise is going to play out of Suncorp Stadium and must represent as much of the city as possible. If you’re going to succeed at NRL level you need significant corporate and commercial backing and you cannot limit yourself to a population-pocket and expect to reach the inner-city markets. It’s a romanticised approach to believe ISC clubs will lay down their passion to support another region of Brisbane, purely because of promotion into the NRL – history will show you that you need to push from the CBD to the regions, not the other way around.”
Livermore agreed that Canavan’s footprint was the right step for the development of the player base. “He’s spot on in the notion that the depth of talent will be stronger as a result of an enhanced ISC competition. Brian’s role is Head of Football and that’s exactly what he will achieve in growing the amount of opportunities to play in the second-tier competition, but that’s just one dimension of Rugby League.”
“Our team believes there is a genuine opportunity to continue to build the momentum for a potential 2019-20 review for possible entry into a 2023 NRL competition. Wherever the opportunity exists for another Brisbane team, we will continue to pursue it.
“The Broncos have grown 50% in the last 5 years and it’s because they know their market – the commercial end of town. There’s room for two successful players and anyone who argues against that is self-serving” Livermore noted.