NRL clubs get extra $7 million in funding

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo gave clubs good news on Thursday, announcing a $7 million relief package.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo gave clubs good news on Thursday, announcing a $7 million relief package.

The NRL will hand out a combined $7 million in COVID-19 relief packages to clubs to make up for lost revenue through a lack of crowds and home games.

Clubs in NSW, the ACT and Victoria have been doing it tough due to lockdowns and closed leagues venues that has affected their bottom lines.

Each club will be paid around $100,000 for every home game lost either to relocation or matches played without crowds.

The NRL last played in front of fans in Sydney in late June while Queensland clubs were impacted by the loss of almost two weekends without spectators.

The NRL is counting its own cost of the relocation which has added another $30 million to expenses as well as another $30 million in lost revenue.

"The game has fought hard this year to keep going amidst the challenges of the pandemic," NRL CEO Andrew Abdo told AAP.

"Both the NRL and clubs have been hurt significantly by not being able to have crowds and relocating the competition to Queensland.

"The NRL has had growth in commercial revenues and has also reduced costs significantly.

"Therefore the commission approved some further financial support for the clubs arising from the impact of COVID-19 on the financial ecosystem.

"Particularly for clubs who have had to relocate and not play in front of their home crowds."

Both the NRL and its clubs will continue to feel the pinch through the finals series, with an estimated $1.5 million lost from Saturday's Penrith-Parramatta clash.

That match would have been expected to sell out at Bankwest Stadium or draw close to 50,000 at ANZ, but will now have just 12,000 fans in Mackay.

South Sydney's home final against either the Sydney Roosters or Manly next week faces a similar scenario.

Merchandise and leagues clubs spending will also be down for whomever makes the grand final and the team that eventually wins the premiership.

The NRL also confirmed on Thursday the Dally M awards will be held over two nights for the first time.

Under the new system, the race for the Dally M Medal will be narrowed down to a five-man shortlist after the first night.

Top try-scorer, points-scorer, tackle of the year, try of the year and hard-earned award will all be handed out on September 20, before the major gongs are announced on September 27.

Australian Associated Press