NRL CEO Todd Greenberg made the bold but confident claim on Tuesday night that “all 16” clubs will pull through and survive the financial crisis hitting the league after the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked on Nine News about whether every club would survive the financial strain of NRL revenue being decimated by the season suspension, Greenberg said: “That’s the plan, 100 percent. All 16 right behind us.”
It was a very different outlook to what Phil Gould predicted on 100% Footy on Monday night, claiming up to six clubs are in danger of going under.
“Absolutely [we’ll see clubs gone]. I can’t see every club surviving,” Gould said on 100% Footy.
“Some [clubs] get their funding and revenues from different sources. So how it affects these clubs will be different across the board, but I guarantee there’s half a dozen clubs that will be extremely vulnerable in this time.”
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The NRL is freeing up almost $60 million over the next three months to assist clubs and help them stay afloat, but Greenberg reiterated that there will be many sacrifices made across all of rugby league in order to come out the other end of this pandemic and its economic impact.
“What we have flagged with the clubs and with players, and all of our staff as well, is we have to reset the cost-base across the whole sport,” he said.
“There needs to be an expectation that as the game is going through some financial difficulties, the cost structure of our sport needs to change.
“That’s happening at the moment. It’s going to be a difficult journey. There’s going to be a number of very difficult conversations but that’s the only way we can stick together to keep our game alive.
“To be fair and reasonable, we’ve got a much bigger crisis we’re dealing with in the immediate term.”
HOW YOUR CLUB IS PLACED TO SURVIVE THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
BRISBANE: Considered the game’s off-field benchmark, with $14 million believed to be in the bank after reportedly amassing revenue of $52 million last year.
CANBERRA: Believed to be owned by the Queanbeyan Leagues Club, who have six clubs and posted a $1 million profit last year.
CANTERBURY: Backed by the powerful Canterbury League Club, which has been forced to drastically cut their costs after restrictions were placed on licensed venues. Football club staff have been stood down while the season is suspended.
CRONULLA: The Sharks have begun to cull staff, including club legend Paul Gallen. However, the Sharkies leagues club, which props up the football team, has $16 million in cash reserves and $25 million in development assets.
GOLD COAST: Privately owned by the Frizelle family who have reportedly experienced tough times in the car industry, it is believed the Titans have made moves to ease the financial burden on the club by cutting staff.
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MANLY: Rumours have been rife in recent years that majority owner Scott Penn, who is dealing with a $2 million tax bill last year, that he could sell. Penn last week said “all clubs would go under” unless the federal government stepped in.
MELBOURNE: Should be well-equipped to survive after being independently valued at more than $30 million earlier this year when Melbourne businessman Brett Ralph bought a stake to join Gerry Ryan, Bart Campbell and Matthew Tripp.
NEWCASTLE: Owners The Wests Group have stood down up to 1200 staff and placed them on leave entitlements after closing down their six licensed clubs across NSW. However CEO Phil Gardner says the football club is secure.
NORTH QUEENSLAND: The Cowboys have been profitable in the past two years and had just unveiled a $293.5 million home ground, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, but the postponement may hit the club hard after beginning work on a Community, Training and High-Performance Centre expected to be opened ahead of next season.
PARRAMATTA: Parramatta Leagues Club are the major financial backers, and like every other licensed venue in the country, have been forced to close their doors. The leagues club posted $2.2m profit last year and have $70m in assets.
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PENRITH: The Panthers’ five leagues clubs have all closed their doors. Group boss Brian Fletcher has told News Corp the clubs, along with the football club, are expecting a $40 million loss over the next six months.
SOUTH SYDNEY: One of the league’s safest with a league-high 28,413 members, as well as Russell Crowe and James Packer holding a 75 per cent ownership. Retired legend Sam Burgess will get two weeks’ pay before being let go.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA: Partially privatised by WIN Corporation and appear to be financially viable. The Dragons also have 15,035 registered members, but will be relieved to also receive their NRL grant.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS: The back-to-back reigning premiers are well-backed by the Easts Group, who last year posted $76 million revenue. Chairman Nick Politis, who made $290m in two months last year, is one of the game’s heaviest hitters.
WARRIORS: They’ve returned from their temporary Gold Coast home, and CEO Cameron George says they will at least be self-sufficient in the short term. They have nearly 13,000 members and are bank-rolled by long-standing New Zealand manufacturing company Autex Industries.
WESTS TIGERS: The Tigers are debt free but not helped by the closure of pubs and clubs given they’re backed by Wests Ashfield Leagues Club. The club boasts a net asset balance of $60 million and bailed out Balmain Leagues Club after the entity went into voluntary administration two years ago.
– with AAP