The NRL and the 16 NRL clubs, including the St George Illawarra Dragons, have unveiled a new funding agreement which will help secure the future of the game at every level.
From 2018, the deal will deliver more than $100 million extra per year to the 16 clubs until 2022 and around $100 million more will be invested to grow the game from the grassroots to the elite competitions each year.
The landmark deal follows the $1.8 billion broadcast rights deal secured by the ARL Commission last week.
ARLC Chairman John Grant and clubs representative Bart Campbell said it was one of the most important agreements in the game’s history.
“The ARLC sought to balance the need for strong and financially viable clubs with the need to invest to grow the game - and this agreement will help us achieve these goals,” said Grant.
“The new broadcast deal created a unique opportunity for the ARLC, the Clubs and the States to come to an agreement that secures the game’s future - and we all agreed to take it.”
Campbell said the 16 NRL clubs were now in a position to invest off the field to build their capacity and capability and to become stronger and more professional than ever before.
“This agreement is a very significant milestone for the game of rugby league,” said Campbell.
“It has been reached after a robust but collaborative process that maintained a clear focus on ensuring the Clubs can be financially strong in the short to medium term and that investment can be directed to grow the game over the long term.
“The clubs and the Commission are now entirely aligned and our fans and sponsors can get behind their clubs with the confidence that we will be around for the long term.”
Key elements of the funding agreement include payments to clubs of $1.5m each year from 2016 to 2022 to be directed to improving their operational capability and to driving commercial revenues, and a grant of 130% of total player payments from 2018-2022.
The ARLC and clubs will now sign a Memorandum of Understanding while the agreement is formalised.
The final package will include agreement on other non-commercial issues and will form the basis for each club to hold a perpetual licence to play in the NRL competition.
Grant said that, with the agreement in place, the ARLC and the clubs can now focus on the future as one.
“We are now both intent on making the game stronger at every level… from the grassroots through to the elite levels,” said Grant.
“This is a unique opportunity for rugby league and we are going to work together to make the most of it.”