The NRL is expected to announce a bumper profit of about $30 million for last season in an encouraging sign of the game’s resilience in bouncing back from the off-field incidents of the code’s “summer from hell”.
The governing body is poised to release its 2019 financial results and the Herald has been told profit is $5 million higher than predicted. While a $30 million profit would be significantly less than the $42 million recorded the previous year, it is considered a strong result given the spate of off-field incidents that plagued the previous pre-season.
There was sufficient concern at Rugby League Central about the potential commercial damage that strict new protocols were introduced to stem the spate of incidents. The NRL’s “no fault” stand-down policy automatically suspends players charged with offences carrying jail terms of 11 years or more, while chief executive Todd Greenberg can use his discretion to ban players who don’t meet the threshold.
The initiative, supported by the majority of the clubs, prevented a sponsor exodus and is considered a factor in the better-than-expected financial result.