The intriguing reason behind the selection of the Dolphins as NRL’s 17th team
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo revealed the untapped market potential of Brisbane was a key factor in handing the league’s 17th licence to the Dolphins as a league survey unearthed a major finding.
The Dolphins, a separate entity from the Redcliffe Dolphins, will enter the NRL in 2023 after being approved by the Australian Rugby League Commission earlier on Wednesday.
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As it stands, the team name will remain the Dolphins, and they will play home games at Suncorp Stadium and other venues in the Brisbane area.
With the major clusters of professional sporting teams in both Melbourne and Sydney, Abdo felt a new team in Brisbane would be the perfect location to expand the NRL.
“When you look at Brisbane as a market compared to Sydney and Melbourne as the big cities where we play, we have 17 professional teams in Sydney and 17 professional teams in Melbourne,” Abdo said.
“We have six professional teams in Brisbane.
“When you look at it from a GPP perspective … we see that Brisbane is a key market for us to take advantage of in terms of growth.
“Then you marry that up against the fact that our own research tells us we’ve got a number of fans in Queensland that don’t support an NRL team but are interested or casual fans of the game.
“This is a great opportunity for us to take advantage of that.
“So from that perspective, we’re very excited about what a 17th team in Brisbane, the Greater Brisbane area and Queensland can bring for us growth-wise.”
The Dolphins join the Brisbane Broncos as the second NRL team in Brisbane and can also count the Brisbane Lions, Brisbane Roar, Brisbane Heat, Brisbane Bullets and the Queensland Reds in the sporting fraternity of the Sunshine State capital.
With the announcement of a new team, questions were asked whether the NRL was looking to tap into young sporting talent from the AFL.
However, Abdo maintained that line of thinking never crossed his mind in the process of selecting the location for a new NRL team.
“Rightly or wrongly, I don’t concern myself too much with other sports,” Abdo said.
“I’m really consumed with rugby league, and it takes 25 of the 24 hours that I have available of my time.
“I say that not from a point of arrogance, I say that from the point of view of a razor focus of what’s right for us.
“Our game is different to other games in Australia, in a good way.
“We have to think about what’s right for us.”
Originally published as The intriguing reason behind the selection of the Dolphins as NRL’s 17th team
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