A year after the NRL needed to seek a loan following successive financial losses, the game’s governing body has delivered a stunning turnaround to announce a $42.8 million profit on the back of increased broadcast, sponsorship and digital revenue.
Total consolidated revenue for the 2018 season was $499.9 million – a 40% increase from the $377m the game earned in 2017 when the NRL recorded a $3.7m net loss.
While most of the gain came from broadcast revenue of $318m, non-broadcast revenue also grew by 21% or $30.9m last year, while costs were down.
Besides the NRL’s new broadcast deal with Nine and Fox Sports, the main growth areas were sponsorship and wagering – up from $73m in 2017 to $78.9m last year – and digital revenue, which increased $17m from $6.6m to $23.6m in 2018.
“This is a great result in the first year of the new broadcast cycle,” ARLC chairman Peter Beattie said. “We are now a $500 million revenue business.
“To put that into perspective, in 2017 we were a $350 million revenue business, while when the Commission was formed in 2012 our turnover was $180 million.
“This is extraordinary growth. And importantly as a result we have been able to deliver more money to clubs, states and grassroots rugby league than ever before.”