MEDIA STATEMENT – Government to support third party bidder for WA-based NRL team

MEDIA STATEMENT – Government to support third party bidder for WA-based NRL team

The McGowan Government has flagged its support for a potential Western Australian-based National Rugby League (NRL) franchise, with work underway to identify a third-party bid.

The NRL will expand to 17 teams in 2023, with the expectation the competition will further grow to 18 teams in the following years.

A cross-agency Government working group chaired by the Hon. Peter Tinley MLA has been established to help facilitate the development of a third-party bid and, where necessary, assist the bid through the potential bidding process.

Preliminary work has already begun with VenuesWest appointing consultants Freshwater Strategy to ascertain interest from potential third parties and determine the most appropriate bid structure.

The inclusion of a WA team would deliver significant economic and tourism benefits through the attraction of interstate visitors and exposure of the State to large television audiences on the east coast.

A local NRL team would also provide an opportunity to further grow participation in community rugby league which – with 4,100 registered players – is the game’s third biggest jurisdiction behind the traditional strongholds of NSW and Queensland.

While an 18th team would provide the NRL with an additional weekly fixture, a WA-based team has an added benefit of an additional TV timeslot given our time zone.

Comments attributed to Sport and Recreation Minister David Templeman:

 “Two recent sellout State of Origin Fixtures demonstrate that there is a strong and growing appetite for rugby league in Western Australia.

“A WA-based NRL team would bring long term community, tourism and economic benefits to the State and grow local participation in grassroots sport, particularly female participation.

“Although the State Government won’t be leading the bid or responsible for a potential franchise, we are confident that there will be a strong and compelling case for a WA-based team.

“WA’s nation leading economy provides an enormous opportunity for the NRL to maximise corporate support and fan spending.

 Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Roger Cook:

 “Anyone who was at the stadium for this year’s sold-out State of Origin saw how passionate WA fans are about rugby league.

“It was an amazing night that sent a clear message to the National Rugby League executives who were there.

“If they want to make the NRL a truly national competition then they need to have a WA team playing every week.

“A WA team will be great for the competition but would also act as an economic driver for WA tourism businesses.

“WA has been the sporting capital of Australia in 2022 because of the McGowan Government’s event strategy so it makes perfect sense to seriously investigate a bid for the 18th NRL franchise.”

Comments attributed to Working Group Chair Peter Tinley:

“There are so many West Australian rugby league fans who are looking forward to the day when they can support a WA-based team.

“WA has strong foundations to support an NRL franchise with participation in the sport behind only NSW and Queensland, and encouragingly, nearly a quarter of all registered players are female.

“I look forward to seeing the development of a strong third-party bid and working with them in securing an NRL franchise for Western Australia”.