NRL unveils $250M trump card
The NRL has struck a deal for a $250 million lifeline from a group of London banks and financial institutions, giving rugby league both financial breathing space and leverage in its negotiations with broadcaster the Nine Network.
The Australian reports that the huge line of credit, which could also come with support from the federal government, will be drawn down by the sport's governing body and dispersed to needy NRL clubs within weeks, staving off the need for funds from Nine before the competition resumes.
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The money will be secured against future income the sport receives, including broadcast and sponsorship revenue under contract until at least 2022, rather than a particular asset.
The NRL had to go offshore to secure its lifesaving funding package - unlike the AFL, which last month used its ownership of Marvel Stadium in Melbourne as security on a $600m loan facility from NAB and ANZ.
The $250m line of credit for rugby league, brokered by London firm Oakwell Sports Advisory, will mean the code is less reliant on funding from its broadcasters in the short term as it battles to keep the sport afloat financially during the coronavirus pandemic.
In what would be a major blow for rugby league fans, late on Tuesday Channel 9 doubled down on its claims that it does not want rugby league to return this year following its stinging criticism levelled at the game last week.
ARLC chairman Peter V'landys broke bread with Nine boss Hugh Marks on Tuesday in a meeting which V'landys described as "constructive".
However, Nine newspapers reported that "Nine expressed (in the meeting) its preference to wipe the 2020 season".
This follows public comments that Nine would save $130 million if the NRL season was scrapped.
While it appears Nine remain lukewarm to the prospect of rugby league returning this year, they have given their long-term commitment to the code.
More high level talks will happen on Wednesday. This time between Fox Sports heavyweights and NRL executives.
Originally published as NRL unveils $250M trump card