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 will continue past 2027.
The Dolphins precinct is located just over 20 minutes from the Brisbane Airport and just over a 30-minute drive from the Brisbane CBD, making it a true Brisbane NRL bid that encompasses the northern suburbs of Brisbane and the growing corridor between the Queensland capital, Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast regions.
Before the population of the North of Brisbane is taken into account, the region the Dolphins is headquartered and linked to boosts the following statistics:
- Moreton Bay Region Council is the third largest Council in Australia behind only Brisbane City and the Gold Coast
- MBRC’s population has boomed over the last two decades and is also projected to grow by more than 45% from over 470,000 today to nearly 700,000 people over the next 15 years and have a catchment of 1.8 million people within a 45-minute radius.
- The Moreton Bay region currently has the third largest number of residential dwellings in Australia.
- The Sunshine Coast region is the 4th largest council in Australia and is currently home to over 350,000 people with projected growth of nearly 50% to 518,000 people over the next 20 years.
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 second 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 its main home ground and will also investigate options to play some games at Moreton Daily 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 74+ years, it leaves an undeniable option for the NRL to include the Dolphins as the next Brisbane NRL 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. The Dolphins core reason for operating was to play rugby league at the highest level available and since that was taken away in 1988, the Dolphins have been investing in their community and facilities to ensure they are in a position to once again play Rugby League in the highest level of competition (NRL) for the benefit of the region, players, game and supporters when the opportunity comes.
- Assets and Business Diversification to be a viable NRL team. The Dolphins Group have a very strong balance sheet that includes a successful 40,000+ member Leagues Club, Shopping Centre Precinct, Fitness & Aquatic Centre, Leased Office space and a 10,000 seated Boutique stadium all located on a 11-hectare site owned by the Dolphins. A-League Soccer team the Brisbane Roar for the 2021 season moved permanently to have Moreton Daily Stadium as their Home Stadium. These businesses and set up provide great diversity of income for the Dolphins.
- Infrastructure already in place with Stadium, pool, gym, rehab facilities, meeting rooms, offices and multiple training fields at their Redcliffe Headquarters which can offer a better comparative set up when compared to many current NRL clubs.
- A true local derby between the Brisbane Broncos and the Dolphins with the Dolphins to play majority of their home games at Suncorp Stadium.
- Dolphins base and position as a SEQ team situated in the Moreton Bay region which is just over 20 mins from the Brisbane Airport and just over 30mins from Suncorp Stadium will provide further partnership opportunities with multiple regional councils with a footprint in Northern Brisbane, Moreton Bay and through the Sunshine Coast corridor.
- Great history of playing success and developing players to play rugby league at the highest level. The Dolphins first-grade team played in the Brisbane Rugby League competition from 1960, joining the Qld Cup when it started in 1996. To date the Dolphins are the most successful Qld Cup club appearing in 11 Grand Finals and winning 6 premierships since 1996.
- 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 participation, pathways and the grassroots of the game in QLD. North of Brisbane through Moreton Bay linking to the Sunshine Coast boosts 10,000+ registered junior Rugby League players
- 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 the Dolphins not only offers the NRL peace of mind in knowing the club is financially viable but have already eliminated most of the start-up costs any genuine NRL Bid would face and allow for an almost immediate start in one of the fastest growing regions in Australia.
The Dolphins are “NRL Ready” and a powerful and undeniable option to be the next Brisbane NRL team.
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 games 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 Fitness & Aquatic Centre, Moreton Daily Stadium and the 40,000+ member strong Dolphins Leagues Club. The club will be guided by a separate Dolphins NRL club board of directors.
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 NRL 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 to take into account the Brisbane, Moreton Bay Sunshine Coast regions that the club will represent as part of the bid process. The team will represent not only, Brisbane, Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast but a larger SEQ region and be positioned as a national NRL brand.
The NRL team will NOT be called Redcliffe but the Redcliffe Dolphins will still and will always remain in the QCUP. The NRL team will have its football and administration operations based at the Redcliffe Headquarters which is just over 20mins from Brisbane airport and just over 30mins from the Brisbane CBD.
The Dolphins NRL team will keep the Red and White colours but will add an additional colour to the 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 74-year history in grass roots rugby league and currently are based within a local junior catchment in the North of Brisbane through Moreton Bay linking to the Sunshine Coast which boosts
- Over 10,000 registered junior Rugby League players in the North of Brisbane Moreton Bay & Sunshine Coast regions
- 5,500 registered players, and 17 junior clubs within the Moreton Bay Region
- 3,500 registered players in the Sunshine Coast Rugby League
If successful the Dolphins plan to partner with 2 to 3 Queensland Cup clubs under the Dolphins affiliate/feeder team banner which will enable the Dolphins to provide support to the QRL competitions. The Dolphins want to ensure they have a footprint stretching all around the SEQ region and into regional QLD.
The Redcliffe Dolphins junior set up currently has 40 teams and over 800 players playing for the 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 and up to Central QLD rather than only in the North of Brisbane where the Redcliffe Dolphins catchment and development zone is currently designated by QRL boundaries.
Increasing the promotion of Rugby League in a largely under serviced area in Brisbane North, Moreton Bay & the Sunshine Coast regions is of real importance to the club. The Dolphins want to increase pathways but also develop the game in one of the fasting growing areas of Australia to make sure we can nurture and introduce more kids to the game of Rugby League.
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 and Sunshine Coast regions 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, Dolphins Fitness & Aquatic Centre, Office space and the Dolphins Stadium which now holds in excess of 30 events including having the A-League Brisbane team the Roar using Moreton Daily Stadium as their home ground. The Dolphins have recently agreed a 3-year commercial stadium naming rights deal for Moreton Daily Stadium to now be called Moreton Daily Stadium.
These diversified businesses will provide a great foundation and safety net if needed in the early years of operation but together they also offer the NRL peace of mind in knowing the club is financially viable and have already eliminated most of the start-up costs any genuine NRL Bid would face and allow for an almost immediate start in one of the fastest growing regions in Australia.
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. 40% of Brisbane’s current population list Rugby League as their main sport of interest. Brisbane is home to the second largest concentration of rugby league fans in Australia, yet only has one NRL team. The Dolphins will be looking to build support of the team in a local catchment that is largely under serviced and also geographically best positioned to grow the game of rugby league.
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 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. 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 getting to 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 often records 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 with soccer seeing Sydney derbies in the A-League growing by over 100% when compared to their normal average crowd attendances.
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