Bombers Close in on NRL Target

by TRAVIS MEYN
The Courier-Mail
January 30, 2018 7:00pm
THE Brisbane Bombers are ready to “pull the trigger” and deliver the River City a second NRL team.

Incoming ARLC chairman Peter Beattie’s declaration that the NRL must expand or die has given the Bombers’ bid team renewed optimism.

It has been seven years since the Bombers announced their intentions to secure an NRL licence and become Brisbane’s second club alongside the Broncos.

The NRL has bumbled along since then, failing to introduce any new clubs to the competition since the Gold Coast Titans joined in 2007.

Beattie highlighted Ipswich and Redcliffe as possible areas for a third club in southeast Queensland but the Bombers believe they have the strongest bid for inclusion.

“We are ready to go,” Bombers’ NRL bid CEO Nick Livermore said.

“We’ve got a really strong business case. We’ve got the financial backing. There are commercial partners there.

“It’s a matter of getting the chance to pull the trigger.

“There is a renewed optimism when you’ve got someone of Peter Beattie’s credentials and experience saying that.

“It shows his mindset about where he feels the commission should be directing the game.”

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The Broncos have enjoyed a monopoly in Brisbane since their introduction in 1988, building an NRL powerhouse which now rakes in revenue in excess of $40 million a year.

The club is widely recognised to have a geographical advantage, being the only team in a rugby league-mad city of more than two million people.

In contrast, there are nine clubs in the Sydney region encompassing about five million people.

The financial volatility of the current 16 NRL clubs — only the Broncos regularly turn a profit — has been a major factor in the game’s reluctance to expand.

But former Queensland premier Beattie is determined to grow the game’s footprint, highlighting Queensland and Perth as potential locations for new teams when the game’s next broadcast cycle begins in 2022.

Livermore, who has former Maroons players Billy Moore and Scott Sattler involved in the Bombers’ bid, said it made economic sense for Brisbane to be granted a licence.

“Commercially, Brisbane is the largest market between Sydney and Singapore,” he said.

“The fact that there is not rugby league on here every weekend … we’re behind the eight ball.

“The only way to create a footprint is to have a brand people can identify with.

“Without getting into the semantics of it, we’ve always maintained you need to be in Brisbane and push to the regions.

“The moment you place a regional team in, you polarise. If you move to the north, you polarise the south. We’ve maintained you need a team in the city and pushing out.

“The model to sustainability is to have corporate commercial support and Brisbane is far and away the best place for that.”

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