The NSW Government remains confident a deal will still be struck, although Brisbane and Melbourne are contingencies if a new location is required.
“We will continue to work closely with Government to find a solution which both recognises the NSW Government’s significant investment in stadia, but also provides the best options for the game and our fans,” an NRL spokesperson said.
Having already spent $2.2 billion on stadium redevelopment, it remains to be seen whether the NSW Government is prepared to spend up to an additional $20 million to keep the grand final in Sydney.
“The NSW Government meets with key stakeholders all of the time and conducts its confidential negotiations in a professional manner behind closed doors to get the best deal for the people of NSW,” a spokesperson for Sports Minister John Sidoti said.
The NRL has shown a willingness to take its premium content on the road to grow the game. Perth’s Optus Stadium will host the second State of Origin clash on Sunday, just weeks after Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium was chosen as the venue for the inaugural Magic Round. Adelaide will host an Origin game next year, while the MCG has also been used as part of the location rotation of the interstate series.
Another premium property, the NRL Nines, is also up for grabs. Newcastle, Perth and Melbourne have emerged as the destinations vying to host the return of the club-based competition. The successful bidder will have the first official rugby league content of the 2020 season, with the two-day event scheduled for mid-February. If it goes to NSW it will head to McDonald Jones Stadium, the home ground of the Newcastle Knights. Perth is proposing the new Optus Stadium, while AAMI Park is the likely location if Melbourne is successful.