The NRL grand final will leave Sydney in 2021 unless the NSW government compensates the game's governing body to the tune of up to $10 million for the reduced earnings that would result from staging a second decider at the SCG.
Delays in delivering Sydneys new stadium network have raised the possibility of the grand final leaving the Harbour City for the first time. A six-month hold-up means a revamped ANZ Stadium wont be ready to host the 2021 fixture, meaning the game could be on the move despite an NRL-NSW government agreement to keep it in Sydney until 2042.
The parties had agreed to hold the 2020 grand final at the SCG as a one-off, under the understanding ANZ would host the match the following year. However, the Homebush Bay precinct wont be ready in time, leaving the 2021 grand final up for grabs.
The Herald can reveal the NSW government will get the first right to retain the grand final, but will need to make up the difference in lost gate takings resulting from holding the game at the smaller venue for a second season. The SCGs capacity is about 45,000 – about 35,000 less than ANZ – and the NRL doesnt want to be left out of pocket two years in a row because it has less tickets to sell.
Officials at Rugby League Central are crunching the numbers to determine the exact difference that the NSW government will be asked to make up. It remains to be seen, having already spent $2.2 billion on stadium redevelopment, whether the NSW government is prepared to spend the further $8-$10 million amount it is estimated to keep the grand final in Sydney. Finances aside, there is also a feeling that the game-day experience at the SCG isnt comparable with that of purpose-built rectangular stadiums such as Suncorp Stadium. NSW Sports Minister John Sidoti declined to comment.
The NRL hopes its offer is taken up and the grand final stays put given Premier Gladys Berejiklian came good on the controversial election promise to reinvigorate the states ageing stadium network. But if the government declines, the showpiece event will go to the highest bidder in an auction between Brisbane and Melbourne.
The NRL has shown a willingness to take its premium content on the road to grow the game. PeRead More – Source