How The National Rugby League Did Last Year – Outstanding Achievements In Meeting Ambitious Targets

As it has been in many years, the National Rugby League once again delivered astonishing entertainment to its fans. This has excited and delighted the personal commitment of the stakeholders and leading executives. The league has ambitiously set high targets for itself in its broad 2015 landscape plan.

Apart from little hits and misses, the seemingly demanding and hard quest to improve broadcast ratings, game attendances and public participation have yielded tremendous results, even in the midst of tight budget. In terms of non-financial numbers, the NRL club membership saw growth of up to 5% last year. Attendances of Finals Series and the State of Origin grew 9% and 21% respectively. However, they are disappointed in the decline in the average season attendances, which was about 5%. Studying the reasons for this decline in attendance for the average season, Clubs and players then dedicated themselves to making the current year more attractive. They are eyeing transport and stadia improvements as well, so more fans will attend the games. They have raised their stadia investments as they saw it was critical to do so, and they are apparent enjoyed by fans of the current year. Despite the problems brought about by the evolution of the Internet such as free streaming, Television share of the audience have also increased. The work they have invested in this trend will soon be seen in the 2016 annual report. The ending numbers of Total Participation increased 6%. Surprisingly, these increases are attributed to more female participation, while male participation remained flat in numbers. The participation numbers were attributed from television audience, actual game attendances, and NRL store online purchases. A study was conducted to find the dynamics behind the surprising trend and would hopefully see results in the 2016 metrics.

There are three aspects in looking at the financial results. The transition to a new financial model which is distribution based, the 5-year cycle of this transition from accumulation, and lastly, the adaptation of Controlled Entities and Controlling Body.

In 2015, it made the Top 3 in TV programs and is highly considered a premium entertainment product in Australia. Record media rights deal (domestic) reached $1.8 billion. A 9-million fan turn-out in the official NRL Facebook account on the day of the Grand Finals in 2015 was also recorded. Additional members grew 294,000 or 6% from 2014. But in 2016, a total of $1.6 billion of stadia investment and $218.7 million to be distributed to clubs and state developments, will hopefully bring in outstanding numbers for the 2016 annual report.

2016 is looking great so far, but the numbers have not been released. But judging by the visible field game attendance and NRL store online traffic, the targets will most likely be met.