St George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust believes that the World Club Series has given his club a chance to develop their brand internationally.
Although the Dragons finished 11th in last season’s NRL, they have been invited to compete as one of Australia‘s representatives, along with Brisbane Broncos and the Australian champions, South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Each of the three NRL clubs has been guaranteed a pay-out for taking part in the competition.
“For some time now I have had the view that developing an opportunity to position club brands internationally would be a worthwhile strategy,” Doust said.
“Some of the reasons that make it worthwhile include increasing the inventory of club-based rugby league content for future revenue growth from broadcasting and digital rights, increasing the status of club brands, testing opportunities for growth in non-ticketed membership and merchandise outside of Australia, improving relationships with Super League teams and the benchmarking of best practices.”
The Dragons last played in the World Club Challenge in 2011, when they beat Wigan at the DW Stadium. After NRL Grand Finalists Canterbury Bulldogs showed no interest in taking part in the World Club Series in 2015, the Dragons took the chance to participate with some alacrity.
Doust also secured guarantees that the Dragons would not be exposed to any financial risks by taking part.
“When the invitations for Australian clubs were extended to Brisbane and Souths, we thought there may be a need for a ‘first reserve’ if one of those teams were to become premiers, so we expressed interest and were invited,” he added.
“We believe the strength of the Dragons brand could have diminished the financial risk for the promoters of the series.”