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Brisbane Jets implore NRL to consider community before poker machine revenue in its latest pitch for 17th NRL License

 Brisbane Jets implore NRL to consider community before poker machine revenue in its latest pitch for 17th NRL License
October 12, 2021

A last-minute pitch has been launched by the Brisbane Jets for the National Rugby League to grant the club the 17th license to field a team for the 2023 season with Brisbane Jets Chairman, Steven Johnson imploring the NRL to put first "a community focussed group in a fast-growing region of rugby league as part of its vision for the future of rugby league, instead of entrenched commercial interests backed by poker machine revenue.”

Johnson advises “we are determined to make our point that we have financial backing without poker machine dollars to support our bid, which presents the best opportunity for the NRL to grow its supporter base in the fastest growing region of Australia.

“This bid is more than just a financial equation but a chance to grow the game in Greater Ipswich, where the population in the Western Metropolitan Corridor of 1.1 million people is expected to grow 37% by 2031, complete with more than 11,000 current rugby league players."

The Brisbane Jets group has secured $23 million in guaranteed funding and equity in the club from private investors and over $4 million in guaranteed, annual sponsorship to fulfil the NRL’s financial requirements to win the license.

The Jets’ financial model, which has been analysed minutely by the NRL, Jets’ advisors and its investors, shows that the Jets reserves will start at $23 million and grow each year to reach $47 million by end of 2027.

Queensland Rugby League forecasts that by 2026 Ipswich and Toowoomba will have 14,141 players, compared with Brisbane’s 18,654, while Redcliffe is expected to grow its player base to just 3,452 players in 2026.

Brisbane Jets has complied with the five criteria set by the NRL’s Assessment Committee and is committed to growing the game to both senior and junior players west of Brisbane, generating annual revenue of $41 million and positive cash flow of $3.6 million.

Johnson added “Unlike the other bidders, we are not reliant on poker machine revenue but from memberships, gate revenue and sponsorships, which is the direction the NRL should take to build the game in Australia and overseas.

“We have reached an inflection point in the future of rugby league in Australia, where we can build a team based in Ipswich, Queensland’s second largest city and a heartland of rugby league.”

The Brisbane Jet’s submission to the NRL points out the threat of the AFL encroaching on this prime area for growth, despite that area already having one third of Queensland’s rugby league players.

Feeder clubs to the Brisbane Jets include the Western Clydesdales based in Toowoomba, the Ipswich Jets and the Central Queensland Capras.

Johnson continued “our hybrid structure is that the Brisbane Jet’s commercial entity will support a community-focussed club and not for profit foundation, backed by a board with broad skills sets and experience.”

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