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The Game 2021 Annual Report

Annual Report download:


NRL Media release:
The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has advised its members that the game will report a $43.1 million surplus for the 2021 season. This is after providing NRL member clubs with record distributions and returning additional monies to players.

The strong performance is a result of significant revenue growth across the entire business and effective cost management, building on the major business restructure undertaken at the end of 2020.


As a result of the financial performance, the Commission has provided additional grants to each of its club and state members. An additional $9 million in payments was paid in October 2021. It is important that the Commission provide security for Members, passing on our cost savings and revenue growth to Clubs who were facing financial ruin due to the pandemic.

Also, a further $5.5 million has been allocated to players, ensuring the majority of their 2021 pay reductions are returned. The Commission made this decision last December, even though no payment is required until after the 2022 season.

Key financial results include:

  • Revenue for 2021 increased by $155.4 million or 37% to $575.1 million on the previous year.
  • Cash grants to the 16 Clubs increased by 5% to $239.6 million. This was on top of the increase provided in 2020. The clubs before Covid (2019 financial year) received $203.2 million.
  • Cash reserves have increased from $126 million at the end of the 2020 financial year to $171 million at 31 October 2021.
  • From 2023 television broadcast agreements will exceed $400 million per annum being the most in the game’s history.
ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys AM said the game had come through the pandemic in a financially stronger position than before the pandemic. The financial performance was underpinned by our early and decisive decision to relocate games to Queensland in July 2021. A priority was placed on returning additional distributions to members and players.

“The Commission is proud to report that despite almost $30 million in covid costs, the game will report a strong surplus because of significant revenue increases and ongoing efficiencies at NRL head office,’’ he said.

“Most importantly, the Commission has made it a priority to ensure club members and players received increased distributions. Many clubs were facing significant financial challenges due to the pandemic.

“We have ensured $5.5 million will be returned to players from 2021, with a further provision of $5.5m for 2022. These amounts were not guaranteed and linked to an out performance bonus calculated at the end of 2022, but the players sacrificed a great deal financially and personally to ensure we completed the season and we wanted to reward their efforts.”

Mr V’landys said the Commission’s revenue growth and cost reduction strategies had placed the game in a stronger position than other codes.

“We have grown our revenues, continued to save costs and have set the game up to make long term investments over the next year. In 2019 our costs as a percentage of revenue were 37.5%. In 2021 after making the NRL more efficient the costs as a percentage of revenue dropped to 27.6%.

“On behalf of the Commission, I would like to thank our members and our players who have led the way in ensuring we completed a full season in 2021.”

NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the commercial investment in rugby league had grown over the last year and acknowledged the support of key partners.

“2021 was an incredibly strong year for the growth of our game. Revenues returned to over $550 million and we have secured long term broadcast agreements which will see broadcast investment increase to over $400 million a year from 2023,’’ he said.

“We have received tremendous support and loyalty from our media partners, sponsors and fans, who have stuck by us. We have also been innovative in the way we have approached new commercial partners and we have continued to look for efficiencies in our cost base.

“I would also like to acknowledge the support we received from the Queensland State Government for the competition relocation and finals series. Our fans in Queensland showed their support for the game, especially in regional locations and our fans across the country showed their support, as evidenced by the overall TV audience increasing by 7%.”

 
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Perth Red

Immortal
Messages
48,679
I am looking forward to how he spins it to being bad
As usual nothing is black and white.
Bottom line is very good in the current climate and given extra covid costs. Increase in revenue is excellent. Sounds like we are finally getting some decent sponsorship income coming in. Total revenue has hit an all time high (all be it with the help of the bonus origin revenue last year) which is great to see.
Continued reduced funding in grassroots and community funding not so good.
Continuing removal of detail and measurables in the annual report questionable.
Lack of spotlight on anything other than the game in NSW or Qlnd dissapointing.

There's getting so little measurable detail (I see they have removed any detail of contra payment for the first time this year) that's its becoming a nice shiny glossy brochure and not actually useful for measuring and comparing the performance of the ARLC. I suppose that's the point.
 

Iamback

Bench
Messages
4,252
Ernest and Young aren't going to put their name on a dodgy report.

There was no grassroot footy from June. Hence the drop in funding.

What comps aren't running this year that was last year?
 

Timmah

LeagueUnlimited News Editor
Staff member
Messages
100,582
Isn't the increased revenue due to two Origins falling in the reporting period after none in the previous?
 

The_Wookie

Juniors
Messages
1,135
Isn't the increased revenue due to two Origins falling in the reporting period after none in the previous?

Revenue for 2021 is $575.1m, up $155.4m (37%) on the previous year due to:

» Increase in media rights revenue
» Increase in major event game receipts with record crowds attending Magic Round, two Men’s and Women’s State of Origin Series being held and crowds attending Finals and the Grand Final
» Growth in sponsorship revenue driven by uplift in renewals and additional partners being procured. (page 95)

Also not having to cover the womens comp last year, I presume.
 

Perth Red

Immortal
Messages
48,679
Isn't the increased revenue due to two Origins falling in the reporting period after none in the previous?
That would account for around $25-30mill of the increase. Getting some of the media money back up that was lost in the 2020 renegotiation as well. Its says contra has increased (which isnt cash) but fail to give any details, the rest increased sponsorship and betting deals by sound of it, plus the revenue and ticket sales for events and finals which were missing in 2020.

Its the largest revenue the game has had ever (up $18mill on the previous best in 2019) which is good to see.
 

Perth Red

Immortal
Messages
48,679
Ernest and Young aren't going to put their name on a dodgy report.

There was no grassroot footy from June. Hence the drop in funding.

What comps aren't running this year that was last year?
Some comps were running (eg qlnd comps and intrust cup, NZ comps, WA comps). but yeh State funding reduction would have reflected that to some degree but was down $12.5million on 2019.
Development funding was cut even further than in 2020 and was a massive 35% reduction on 2019 funding.
Player and community welfare programs slashed by $10million.

Grassroots was the big loser with $35million reduced funding. Players and NRL clubs the big winners with an extra $50million given to them.

Interestingly despite spending nearly $5million on sacking people admin costs went up by $2million in '21.
 
Messages
4,027
- getting the game back before any other sport in Australia during covid
- winning the 2021 ratings against all other sports
- following through on expansion
- biggest media rights deal ever
- record revenue for 2021
- new stadium announced for Penrith
- good surplus during a difficult economic time

Well done PVL and Abdo. Keep up the good work.
 

Perth Red

Immortal
Messages
48,679
The annual report has gone from 186 pages pre Vlandys to 59 pages this year. Seems he likes to slash everything lol.
 

Diesel

Coach
Messages
16,631
As usual nothing is black and white.
Bottom line is very good in the current climate and given extra covid costs. Increase in revenue is excellent. Sounds like we are finally getting some decent sponsorship income coming in. Total revenue has hit an all time high (all be it with the help of the bonus origin revenue last year) which is great to see.
Continued reduced funding in grassroots and community funding not so good.
Continuing removal of detail and measurables in the annual report questionable.
Lack of spotlight on anything other than the game in NSW or Qlnd dissapointing.

There's getting so little measurable detail (I see they have removed any detail of contra payment for the first time this year) that's its becoming a nice shiny glossy brochure and not actually useful for measuring and comparing the performance of the ARLC. I suppose that's the point.
You could’ve just said. “Well done NRL, a shining light of sports administration and showing alf that you can balance the books and make a profit without government handouts and taxpayer money”
 

Colk

Juniors
Messages
1,487
You could’ve just said. “Well done NRL, a shining light of sports administration and showing alf that you can balance the books and make a profit without government handouts and taxpayer money”

Alf was a pretty lazy character from memory.

They have done a good job with the money
 

Cumberland Throw

First Grade
Messages
6,217
Pvl is like a 3 year private equity ceo

Strip it rip it and fatten the goose..

Great if you want to sell a company

Not great if you want to grow a game for next 100 years
 
Messages
4,027
Pvl is like a 3 year private equity ceo

Strip it rip it and fatten the goose..

Great if you want to sell a company

Not great if you want to grow a game for next 100 years
If he gets the game in good shape financially, finally gets us expansion to 18 team and then moves on for someone else to run from there in a strong position then happy days.
 

Munky

First Grade
Messages
6,088
Is there a full set of general purpose financial statements available or does the NRL only release the concise version?

I see my nemesis AASB 16 makes an appearance.
 

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