Brisbane teams unite for stadium plea
Brisbane's major sporting clubs will make a united plea for government help in a bid to save them from financial ruin.
Stadiums Queensland has convened an emergency meeting including the Broncos, Lions, Roar and Queensland Reds on Tuesday where the invited parties will pitch for rent reductions at Suncorp Stadium and the Gabba in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"These are unprecedented times, and it will be interesting to see what support Stadiums Queensland and in turn the state government is thinking of providing to the long-term partners and hirers of the stadium," said Roar CEO David Poure.
"Brisbane Roar thanks Stadiums Queensland for providing an opportunity to have a meeting to discuss the impacts."
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The Roar are contracted to play at Suncorp until the end of next season but, like the other codes, face the prospect of crowd lockouts and empty stadiums savaging their bottom line.
The Reds, who last week announced a profit of $32,000 after many years of major financial hardship, face a desperate fight for survival given the Super Rugby competition has been suspended.
There are plans to fill in the gap by holding derbies between the four Australian teams but the prospect of playing in front of empty stadiums means every game would incur a substantial loss, not simply because of the absence of crowds but the loss of digital advertising at the ground.
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Rugby Australia is pressing ahead cautiously in its negotiations with ruling body SANZAAR, mindful any plan would need the support of broadcaster Fox Sports who now has a complex relationship with RA after opting out of bidding for the next rugby rights deal.
The Reds future is clouded - as is the entire Super Rugby competition - but Queensland Rugby is used to financial austerity after existing for many years on tight budgets so they are up for the fight.
Queensland Rugby have the additional challenge of being the governing body for union in the state so their concerns stretch down to grassroots level. Community rugby has been cancelled until the first week of May.
The Broncos are set to play South Sydney at Suncorp on Friday night in front of an empty stadium, a deep regret for the club given the rivalry between coaches Wayne Bennett and Anthony Seibold would have guaranteed a bumper crowd.
If coach-turned-commentator Phil Gould's picture of the road forward comes to fruition debate over stadium use could be inconsequential.
"You look at where we were this time last week and how things have escalated since then, I've got no doubt that by the weekend the reality will set in that we've got to close the competition down," Gould said on Nine's Today Show on Monday.
"I don't think there's any alternative to that. It's the right thing to do.
"We're a part of society, there are rules for everyone now and we've got to play our part in that."
Originally published as Broncos, Lions, Roar and Reds come together in bid to stave off financial effects of coronavirus