Clubs to receive ‘Christmas bonus’ of about $1 million each

The NRL will provide each of its clubs with a bonus payment of about $1 million after coming through the financial year in better than expected shape.

Rather than bank any money it generated above budgetary expectations, head office vowed it would distribute the surplus between the 16 clubs. The NRL came good on that promise on Friday night when it informed them most could expect an additional seven-figure payment.

Despite the challenges of another COVID-affected season, the NRL made $8 million above forecasts, with each club getting an extra $500,000. Teams will also get $100,000 for every home game that could not be hosted due to the relocation of the competition to Queensland. While the Broncos were largely unaffected – they continued to stage games at Suncorp Stadium – a side such as the Bulldogs that missed the opportunity to host six home games will get a payment of $600,000.

The NRL will also come good on a commitment to give every club a $150,000 payment to help them deal with COVID-19 disruptions, taking the total extra funding to about the $1 million mark for many of them.

“They are payments we didn’t originally budget for, so it’s a good result,” said one club boss.

The NRL posted a $50 million profit for the financial year, a figure that would have been $80 million had it not been for COVID-19 costs. It meant the clubs received the highest level of funding in history at a time when the AFL was reducing its distributions to stakeholders.

The NRL has come out of a difficult season in relatively strong financial shape.Credit:Getty

However, some clubs are still sweating on the funding commitment for next year, which the NRL will reveal in coming weeks. Rugby League Central is completing a series of important projects: the finalisation of a new free-to-air broadcasting deal, confirming a naming rights sponsor and releasing the findings of a review into the judiciary, match-review committee and its game rules.

Another task is beginning negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement with the Rugby League Players’ Association to provide salary cap clarity beyond next year.

There will be inflationary pressure on player wages now that the Dolphins have been invited to join the competition. The new franchise will begin jockeying for player signatures from tomorrow, when stars unsigned beyond 2022 are free to test their value on the open market.

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