The ARL Commission has asked the NRL to conduct a full analysis of what the future footprint of the game should look like.
Commission Chairman Peter Beattie said there had been widespread discussion over many years on the need for expansion, but no professional analysis.
He said it was crucial that, before any decision was made on the future footprint of the game, the Commission had all the facts, including:
- What is the optimal footprint for Rugby League in the Australasia and Pacific region
- Whether additional teams would dilute the standard of the Premiership
- The impact of expansion – or relocating teams - on participation numbers
- The financial cost of including additional teams in the competition
- Whether broadcasters support an expanded competition.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said significant resources would be put into the review, with the aim of having it completed within 12 months.
"It is easy to say we need to put new teams into places like Brisbane, New Zealand and Perth, but we first need to analyse the market and conduct a full business case," he said.
Updates were provided at today's meeting of Club Chairs and CEO's on:
- The game's participation strategy
- Financial overview
- Third Party Agreements
- Digital performance
- Football highlights
- Outlook for 2019
Mr Beattie said 2018 had been a highly successful year with NRL becoming the most watched sport in Australia.
"Our focus now switches to 2019 and, with a range of initiatives including Magic Round and our first Origin game in Perth, we believe we are set for a very special year," he said.