The Dolphins NRL Bid is committed to building a club that will be immersed in the SEQ community and also appeal to QLD in general.
DOLPHINS "NRL READY"
South-East Queensland is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia and findings from a report, authored by Bernard Salt and the KPMG group highlights the population of the Greater Brisbane area has been growing at a rate of 3.2% pa over the last 9 years. Between now and 2027 it is predicted Brisbane’s population will increase by 400,000 to a total of over 2,848,000. This increase is likely to continue past 2027 at an average rate of 46,000 people pa.
According to Neilson Research in 2018, 39% of Brisbane’s population listed Rugby League as their main sport of interest. These figures remain the same when expanded to include all of Queensland. Queensland is home to 1.6 million Rugby League fans, accounting for one third of all Australian Rugby League fans. Brisbane is home to the 2nd largest concentration of rugby league fans in Australia and is home to only 1 single NRL team. By comparison Sydney, has 9 NRL teams.
The Dolphins NRL Bid is committed to building a club that will be immersed in the SEQ community and also appeal to QLD in general. The Dolphins will have a brand strategy that positions the NRL entity as a South Queensland team that plan to play their home games at Suncorp Stadium as Brisbane’s second team. The Dolphins have already begun negotiations with Suncorp Stadium management about hiring the venue as a home ground and will also investigate options to potentially play a small number of the games at Dolphin Stadium and the Sunshine Coast Stadium each season.
Brisbane’s impressive predictive growth coupled with the popularity of Rugby League within Queensland makes it hard to resist a second team and when coupled with the Dolphins strategic plan, structure and history of business over the past 70+ years, it leaves an undeniable option for the NRL to include the Dolphins as the next Brisbane team.
Unlike other bids, the Dolphins foundations are in place and they are “NRL READY” while also being set up to see future growth and investment once granted entry into the NRL competition.
The Dolphins are the genuine Brisbane-expansion bid and bring the below key elements to ensure they can compete in the NRL and will not fail:
- A powerful brand who has strong support and historic roots in the game of Rugby League in Queensland.
- Assets and Business Diversification to be a viable NRL team. The Dolphins have a very strong balance sheet that includes a successful 40,000+ member Leagues Club, Shopping Centre, Leisure Centre, Leased Office space and a 10,000 seated stadium which provides great diversity of income.
- Infrastructure already in place with Stadium, pool, gym, rehab facilities, meeting rooms, offices which can offer a better comparative set up when compared to a number of current NRL clubs.
- The Dolphins core goal and reason for being is for the club to play rugby league at the highest level available. The Dolphins have been investing in their community and facilities to be in a position to once again play Rugby League in the highest level of competition (NRL) for the benefit of the region, players and supporters.
- A true local derby between the Brisbane Broncos and the Dolphins
- Dolphins base and position as a SEQ team situated in the Moreton Bay region which is only 25 mins from the Brisbane Airport and 30mins from Suncorp Stadium will provide further partnership opportunities with multiple regional councils but especially with the Moreton Bay Council which is Australia’s 3rd largest council.
- Junior teams from under 6 to QCUP and a desire to partner with multiple affiliate teams over and above the clubs QCUP team the Redcliffe Dolphins which will further grow and enhance pathways and the grassroots of the game in QLD.
- Great history of playing success and developing players to play rugby league at the highest level.
- A very stable and progressive board who have a history of getting things done for the growth and sustainability of the Dolphins and rugby league in the region
Planning has been comprehensive, and investment has already been made in necessary infrastructure to have the Dolphins “NRL READY”. Key commercial modelling that is necessary to bring the Dolphins NRL entity to life is happening and when coupled with the clubs already strong position and initial conservative business case for commercial revenue generation in formative years, it highlights that the Dolphins will be ready to go whenever the NRL calls for an expansion team to play out of Brisbane. A detailed commercial model is currently being drafted with realistic commercial targets and goals.
Below are key answers to commonly asked questions in relation to the Dolphins possible entry into the NRL and how they will be set up and able to be successful:
Will the team be playing Home games at Suncorp Stadium?
Suncorp Stadium is one of the best rectangle stadiums in the world and the Dolphins NRL team intend to have Suncorp Stadium as its main HOME ground. This is an important element and consolidates the Dolphins position as Brisbane’s second team. The Dolphins Stadium which holds 10,000 people seated will likely host some games and there is also the potential to look at playing a game at the Sunshine Coast Stadium each season. The Dolphins inclusion into the NRL will ensure that Brisbane has Live NRL Rugby League on offer nearly every week during the NRL Season.
What is the Dolphins NRL team’s business model for ownership?
The Dolphins NRL Bid has a model for long-term sustainability and just like the club’s current set up, the NRL entity will be community owned by the members. The club will also be supported by the Dolphins other entities and assets. These include the Dolphins Shopping Centre, Dolphins Leisure Centre, Dolphin Stadium and the 40,000+ member strong Dolphins Leagues Club. The club will be guided by a separate Dolphins NRL club board of directors. The Dolphins will also ensure they have the ability to seek private investment into the club if necessary, during the bid process.
Will the Dolphins NRL team be called the Redcliffe Dolphins and will they wear the same colours and jersey as the Redcliffe Dolphins QLD Cup team?
The new Dolphins team will represent Brisbane and the whole of SEQ and be positioned as a second Brisbane team. The club intend to work with the community to look at what the club is to be named in reference to Brisbane and the SEQ region it will play out of as part of the bid process. The team will represent not only, Brisbane but also the Moreton Bay, Redlands, Logan and Sunshine Coast areas and the larger SEQ region. The NRL team will NOT be called Redcliffe. The team will have its football and administration operations based at the Redcliffe Headquarters which is only 25mins from Brisbane airport and just over 30mins from the Brisbane City.
The Dolphins NRL team will keep the Red and White colours but will add an additional colour to the NRL team. The plan is to engage the local SEQ community to help decide what additional colour should be added for the new Dolphins NRL team.
Where will the Dolphins NRL Team club facilities be based?
The Dolphins will have their training and administration base at Redcliffe. The Dolphins have already constructed facilities over the last 10-15 years in readiness to be in a position to operate an NRL team. The Dolphins have a multi-use training facility, gymnasium, pools, training fields, administration offices, Stadium and medical facilities already constructed and ready for the Dolphins NRL team to operate out of almost immediately.
What can the Dolphins provide to the NRL in relation to the grassroots of the game that make their SEQ Expansion bid unique?
The Dolphins have a plan to partner with 2 to 3 Queensland Cup clubs under the Dolphins affiliate/feeder team banner which will enable the Dolphins to provide financial and playing support to the QRL competitions. The Dolphins can have the biggest effect by aligning with some teams that are not currently aligned with an NRL side which will benefit the game in QLD.
The Dolphins want to ensure they have a footprint stretching all around the SEQ region and into regional QLD. The Dolphins junior set up currently has 40 teams and over 800 players playing for the Redcliffe Dolphins and also an affiliate system that links with an additional 3000 junior players in the region where if granted entry into the NRL, that would grow with initiatives put in place to promote rugby league and participation all over SEQ rather than only in the North of Brisbane where their QRL catchment zone is designated.
How do the Dolphins add value by being the next SEQ NRL team?
The Dolphins are “NRL READY”. An NRL team needs to be built around commercial foundations and the Dolphins already have many important elements in place. Starting a team based 30mins from the CBD and having access to not only established commercial partners but strong support from local councils especially in the Moreton Bay region provides the Dolphins with a wonderful advantage and the ability to compete long-term. Many of the significant establishment costs have been eliminated given the Dolphins current set up which puts a big gap between the Dolphins and the other bids. It is worth noting that those significant start-up costs and infrastructure needs facing the other bids have proved an extreme obstacle to succuss for recent expansion teams across multiple codes.
Many NRL clubs in Sydney rely on leagues club’s revenue to survive but the Dolphins while still having access to a successful Leagues Club and Leagues Club funding if required, have other revenue generating assets like the Dolphins Shopping Centre, Leisure Centre, Office space and the Dolphins Stadium. These will provide great foundation and the necessary support and a safety net in the early years of operation.
Brisbane is the largest market outside of Sydney and there are many potential partners within Brisbane and the surrounding regions to support the club. There is also an ever growing fanbase all over the South-East corner who love rugby league and don’t have a local NRL team. The Dolphins who have junior teams from under 6 age to Queensland Cup are a significant community partner and provide ongoing support to many community causes, particularly junior sport in the region. Within the last financial year, the Dolphins group gave more than $1.3 million in contributions to local sporting and community groups.
With Broncos and Titans already established in SE QLD can a new NRL team be a success?
SEQ currently only has two teams and effectively a 3,000,000-person population, a third NRL team will help to strengthen and grow Rugby League in Queensland. The local derby concept will for the first time since the SQ Crushers in 1995 offer a true Brisbane derby twice a year at Suncorp Stadium and of course other QLD Derbies during the season. In the Dolphins main target area of greater Brisbane and both the Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast Regional Council areas which will have in excess of 500,000 people each over the next decade, providing a total catchment of almost 4,000,000 people to build support of the team.
In 1995 with the introduction of the South Queensland Crushers, it was the first time Brisbane was home to two major Rugby League clubs. The Crushers had impressive attendance figures in their first season before the Super League war ended the Crushers hopes of remaining in the competition and it should be noted that the Crushers reached an average crowd of 21,029 in 1995 with the ARL average crowd at the time only 13,000. The Brisbane Derby reached a maximum crowd size of 49,607 when the Crushers played the Broncos in round 4 1995. The Broncos also experience impressive attendance figures during this season with an average 1995 home crowd of 35,902. This example further highlights the public’s appetite even 25 years ago for a second Brisbane team.
Derby games across all codes see impressive uplifts in crowds and become focal points for other events surrounding the games. The Broncos v Cowboys derby’s at Suncorp Stadium see a 43% increase in attendance and the Broncos v Titans sees a 15% increase when compared to the Broncos average home crowds. The Melbourne Storm’s QLD player influence has seen that ignite a rivalry that sees a 20%+ increase on the average crowd for the Broncos over the last 10 years. These numbers are reflective across all codes for derby matches and larger in other markets like soccer that sees the Sydney derby in the A-League grow by over 100% when compared to their average crowd attendance.
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