NRL Reports Record Financial Result For 2022
The National Rugby League (NRL) has recorded a significant financial improvement in its first season post-pandemic, reporting a league-record revenue of AUD$593.8 million.
The Australia Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has attributed the result to a strong season of football, supported by its cumulative Telstra Premiership TV, digital streaming audiences, social media following, and record stadium crowds.
The financial rebound includes running two NRLW competitions during the calendar year, alongside an expanded international calendar, as the NRL continues to expand the women’s game.
Additionally, an operating surplus of AUD$62.9 million was recorded for 2022, seeing an increase of AUD$19.9 million from 2021, after suffering major financial and relocation disruptions from COVID-19.
Commenting on the NRL’s performance, ARLC chairman, Peter V’landys, said: “The Commission has been focused on navigating the challenges of COVID-19 to ensure we are able to maximise funds available for distribution to members, invest in grassroots participation and invest in income producing assets.”
“We’ve emerged in a strong financial position, NRL Clubs are well-funded and profitable, fans are supporting the NRL and NRLW competitions in record numbers and there is a plan in place to further invest in grassroots football including schools and Club participation,” he said.
The league recorded a reduction in operating expenditure, down AUD$17.1 million, and has positioned the organisation in a sound position, with distributions as a percentage of revenue increasing in the next five-year cycle.
The league’s major partnerships, including its AUD$600 million free-to-air broadcast deal, was paramount in reeling in streaming and linear audiences of 132.5 million, up 5% from 2021.
NRL CEO, Andrew Abdo credited key stakeholder support: “We are proud of the strong results in 2022 and I would like to acknowledge the contributions of players, Clubs, State Leagues, Broadcast partners, sponsors, grassroots participants, and the loyal and passionate fans of rugby league for a memorable and successful season.
“In 2022, we had more people than ever before watch the NRL Telstra Premierships, across television, streaming and live at the ground. It was tremendous to see our loyal members and fans show their support as we transitioned as a nation out of the pandemic.
The NRL’s net asset position is also up 45% from the previous year, exceeding AUD$200 million, strengthening the ARLC balance sheet.
Focused on creating the largest sports community in Australia and the Pacific, the league continues to oversee the growth of the NRLW, noting a record crowd of 42,921 at the grand final.
The strong results for the women’s game have bolstered development efforts, with the NRL announcing supportive principal agreements for the NRLW.