NRL Launches 2018-22 Strategic Plan
27th March 2018
The NRL today launched its Strategic Plan for 2018-22, a blueprint which will set up the game's long-term future. Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman, Peter Beattie said Rugby League had to grow to survive and the strategic plan was aimed at expanding the game at all levels. He said a key pillar was participation, with the new ARL Commission setting this as a priority. "As I have said consistently since taking the role, if we don't grow our game, it won't expand and if we don't attract more young players, then our game dies," he said. "And we are not going to allow that to happen." Mr Beattie said the NRL would work with the State Leagues and Clubs to ensure there are various forms of the game contact and non-contact for boys and girls who want to play Rugby League.
He said other key elements of the Strategic Plan include:
In addition, the NRL has launched a new digital business which will provide a new platform for fans to watch and consume Rugby League into the future. NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said that, when combined with the new CBA, club funding agreement, increase in player payments and community programs, the game is embarking on an exciting new era.
"These key pillars will change the face of the NRL in the long-term," he said. "They will see men's and women's competitions being played in modern, rectangular stadia, specially designed for Rugby League. We will work hard to encourage more young people boys and girls to take up Rugby League and remain in the game. And we will celebrate our past by recognising the very best in our game through our awards programs."
Mr Beattie stressed that the plan launched today is just the beginning. "The new Commission has only just been formed and we will build on this strategy in the months and years ahead," he said. "It is going to be implemented and updated regularly, we have to keep expanding our vision for the game."
New NRL strategic plan outlines pathway for expansion
Expansion is officially back on the agenda, with the NRL's new strategic plan outlining the pathway for aspiring franchises from Brisbane, Perth, PNG, New Zealand and Fiji to join the Telstra Premiership. NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said expansion would not occur before the next broadcast deal in 2023 but the blueprint makes it clear that the ARLC wants new teams to come from the NSW and Queensland Cup competitions. Perth, Ipswich, NSW Country and New Zealand are specifically mentioned in the document as areas which could host State Cup teams as a step to the NRL, while Beattie told reporters that Redcliffe and Cairns were other options. There is also scope for overseas teams - Papua New Guinea and Fiji - to stake their claims. "We have got the Mayor of Cairns coming to see Todd and I. He wants to put together a package with PNG," Beattie said. "Redcliffe have got facilities and they are interested. There are a number of clubs that would be interested in this, they have just got to prove that they are up to it. This is the beginning of it, we are putting out the clear intention that expansion is back on the agenda There will be a process that will be more formalised down the road but people have to demonstrate that they have the financial capabilities, they have got the players to do it and they have got the capacity to deliver on the game."
The strategic plan says the ARLC wants to build the foundations for a national footprint through increased participation and clear pathways. This includes expanding the NSW and Queensland Cup second-tier competitions beyond state borders. "What we are calling out is an ambition and an aspiration to grow," Greenberg said. "That starts with the NSW and Queensland competitions, and opportunities for new teams to enter those markets. We have already seen that. The strength of PNG in the Queensland Cup has been phenomenal, Fiji are knocking on the door of the NSW Cup and there are regional centres in country NSW that are building from the base at the moment with investment in Under 16s and Under 18s talent identification programs. I would love to see Perth consider these opportunities. Before you even think about new teams you have to understand how to build value because bringing teams in is an expensive thing and the other thing you have to consider is whether there is the talent to justify it."
The ARLC also aims to increase the number of players in non-traditional areas, such as Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria. Marquee events such as State of Origin will be used to grow interest in other states, with Melbourne (2018), Perth (2019) and Adelaide (2020) each having been awarded a match in the next three years. The ARLC is working with governments around Australia to deliver world-class infrastructure, including new stadiums at Parramatta and Townsville and proposed rebuilds of ANZ Stadium and Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
The three key pillars of the strategic plan are:
In addition, the NRL has launched a new digital business, which will provide a new platform for fans to watch and consume Rugby League into the future. Greenberg said that, when combined with the new CBA, club funding agreement, increase in player payments and community programs, the game was embarking on an exciting new era. "These key pillars will change the face of the NRL in the long-term," he said. "They will see men's and women's competitions being played in modern, rectangular stadia, specially designed for Rugby League. We will work hard to encourage more young people boys and girls to take up Rugby League and remain in the game. And we will celebrate our past by recognising the very best in our game through our awards programs."
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