THIS Is Where The NRL Spent Its Money – Facts Not Speculation

With the very transparent campaign being waged against the game by the media I thought it was time to provide something that news services don’t value much these days.


There are a lot of questions the media asks of the sport that they never want answered. Things like “Where has the money gone?” and “Why have the NRL’s costs gone up?”. These questions are tossed out there with the suggestions that there are no answers. The thing is, there are answers. They are publicly available.

Click any of the links below to find out where the money has gone.

The NRL Annual Reports – Published On The NRL Official Website
NRL Annual Report for 2019
NRL Annual Report for 2018
NRL Annual Report for 2017
NRL Annual Report for 2016
NRL Annual Report for 2015
NRL Annual Report for 2014

Why Did The Games Income Rise So Sharply?
The ARL Independant Commission came into being in 2012. Before that the game was half owned by the old ARL (Which was basically ineffective) and half owned by News Limited.

This arrangement means that any time a broadcasting deal was to be negotiated the NRL had a media company across the table, and in most cases had the same media company over its own shoulder on the same side of the table. As you can expect, News Limited negotiated some very good deals for News Limited on behalf of News Limited and the NRL.

When News Limited left the game it allowed the NRL to hold real negotiations for the games broadcasting deal and push for market value. That is why the games income jumped so sharply. Keep in mind the NRL was unable to do this from 1998 to 2012. 14 years of being forced to take the worst offer possible…

Why Did The NRL’s Costs Rise So Sharply Under The Independent Commission?
Because the game was so under funded for over a decade Rugby League was simply. not able to do many things that most other sporting organisations too for granted.

Basic things like spending money on marketing junior participation, funding the news for better facilities and equipment across the game, having junior development officers who could go to schools to promote the game, funding NRL clubs and raising the salary cap… many very basic things the NRL needed to do for so many years, they finally had the finances to do.

That is why costs jumped so high so quickly. You’re seeing the media right now talk about the costs at NRL head office and the number of employees they have. It makes it sound like its all being spent of people sitting around desks at Moore Park. Its misleading. These employees are based around Australia. We no longer have to rely on enthusiastic amateurs to run crucial parts of the sport. We can now fund professionals.

Why Is The Wasting Money On Its Digital Arm?
Do you remember how poor the old NRL site use to be? I do. It was terrible. The NRL has invested money to improve its digital services, including having a team of writers who bring up to date news from clubs, who produce a heap of content that is consumed by hundreds of thousands of readers every day, and that has allowed the NRL to directly connect to supporters and cut out the media companies.

All of this new content out of the NRL has been produced at a time when mainstream media companies are producing rubbish content, and they are seeing their revenue fall as readers leave and they in turn lose advertising dollars. Geez, I wonder why the mainstream media companies don’t like having the NRL producing high quality content in direct competition with them???

So we see the mainstream media companies attack the NRL for their digital strategy. What they won’t say is that the NRL has spent money to produce a very capable, and polished digital arm, and that it has been values in itself at hundreds of millions of dollars alone. A brilliant investment by the NRL that has gives then game an incredible assert at a fraction of the price not cost.

Make no mistake, of all the things the NRL has invested its money in, NRL Digital may be the best investment it ever made.

NRL Clubs Are Broke! That Is The NRL’s Fault!
The NRL gives grants to each club that covers the NRL salary cap and then some. This never use to be the case.

Before the independent commission the NRL club grant did not cover the entire amount of the salary cap. Once the game was properly funded the NRL boosted the salary cap and covered the full amount under the NRL club grant. The NRL also guarantees all NRL player contracts, so if a club goes bust, the NRL has assured players they will get the full amount of their salary they are owed and they won’t be out of pocket.

So clubs now have their biggest expense covered and they also have the assurance that if they do go bust, the NRL will cover player payments.

That wasn’t enough though…

NRL clubs then wanted money more. They ran a media campaign and were successful in gaining nearly $3 million per years in extra funding from the NRL on top of the NRL club grant.

Guess what….clubs still want more. This all has happened during a time when we have seen the Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast Titans go broke, we have seen numerous clubs breaking the salary cap, and we have seen other clubs needing to approach the NRL for loans.

Has revenue in the game has increased many times over, and their biggest costs are completely covered by the NRL grant, clubs are still crying poor.

How this is the NRL’s fault is hard to fathom. Maybe it has more to do with how poorly run NRL clubs are. Just think about how many clubs are paying out money right now to former coaches. How many are carrying players on their salary cap still who play for other clubs. Then, don’t get me started on the junkets clubs run to various events around the world or the fact that you’ll be hard pressed to find an administrator at an NRL clubs that isn’t driving around in a free car that they negotiated on their own behalf off the back of the NRL club they run.

The Good Old Days
Do you want to know what the good old days of Rugby League being financially strong are? When it had more money in the bank, more assets, was in its strongest financial position and could fund projects to expand the game was?


These are the good old days for Rugby League when it comes to the amount of money in the game. The game has never, ever been run better than it is right now. Sure, its not perfect, nothing is, but anyone painting a picture of doom and gloom is simply lying to you.

Why they are lying….now that is the real question you should be looking for the answer to….

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