NRL: Additional team should come from south-east Queensland, clubs told Brad Walter

SOUTH-EAST Queensland appears likely to be home to a 17th NRL team
after club bosses were told it was the only area where a new side
would increase the value of the next television rights deal.

The news is a blow to the Central Coast Bears and other bid teams who
are vying to enter the NRL when officials decide to expand.

However, the advice of Colin Smith, of LEK Consulting, who has been
engaged by the NRL as a consultant on the next broadcast rights deal,
is a boost for the hopes of the recently launched Brisbane Bombers and
the Ipswich consortium.

Advertisement: Story continues below The newly established independent
commission, which is due to take over the running of the game from
November 1, would be expected to call for applications from other
interested bidders when and if they decide to expand the competition.

With officials having ruled out commencing formal negotiations for the
new broadcast deal to start in 2013 until the commission comes to
power, it is almost certain that no new team will be admitted before
2014 - and possibly not until 2017.

There is a view that Perth should be the first place the game expands
to, as the two-hour time difference would enable a live match to be
broadcast on the eastern seaboard at either 9.30pm Friday or Saturday
or 6pm Sunday.

NRL officials outlined three scenarios for the next television deal,
which ranged from $1 billion over five years to $1.4 billion. The
amount of the salary cap and club grant would depend on the value of
the television deal, with funding and player payments to increased to:

$1 billion TV deal:

- Salary cap: $5.1 billion

- Club grant: $5.6 million

$1.2 billion

- Cap $5.9 million

- Grant $6.45 million

$1.4 billion

- Cap: $6.6 million

- Grant: $7.2 million

Smith is understood to have told last Thursday's conference of NRL
club chief executives and chairmen that the only new team broadcasters
would pay more for in the next rights deal was one based in south-east

Club bosses were told that television executives believed
Queenslanders were ''peculiar'' in that they would support any
Queensland team - the Broncos, the Cowboys or the Titans - but not
teams from anywhere else.

That theory was the reason Channel Nine began televising two Friday
night games several season ago - one involving a Queensland team that
is broadcast live in Queensland each week.

However, officials want to scrap the second Friday night game and a
number of alternative time slots were discussed at last week's meeting
- including a return to a 3pm kick-off on Saturday afternoons.

From 2013, there could be Saturday games at 3pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

Also under consideration is a 6pm Sunday match, which has had mixed
success in AFL.

The Herald was told yesterday that all time slots were options when
talks with the broadcasters officially kick off. However, the clubs
insisted that they want fixed scheduling to be introduced from the
2013 season onwards and expect the negotiating team, which is yet to
be decided, to enter discussions on that basis.

Monday night football is here to stay, and could be on free-to-air
television for the first time in 2013 as it is attracts up to 400,000
viewers each week on Fox Sports.

Clubs expect to receive greater compensation from the next television
deal for hosting games on Monday nights than they currently get.

Officials are considering selling games on Friday nights, Saturdays,
Sundays and Monday nights to separate broadcasters.

State of Origin and Test football could also be sold separately to
premiership matches and the finals series.

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