NRL Grand Final could change venue in “Super Bowl” style system

NRL Grand Final press conference

The NRL Grand Final is heading to Sydney for 2022, but could move around venues in the future like the Super Bowl.

Last season’s Grand Final was held in Brisbane for the first time in NRL history, due to the COVID lockdown in New South Wales.

Every Grand Final, other than that, since 1999 has been held at the Accor Stadium (previously known as ANZ Stadium and Telstra Stadium) in Sydney.

There had been suggestions it could be held in Queensland this season.

But the NSW government has pledged $8m ‘extra investment’ to keep it there for this season at least.

READ: Nathan Brown highlights the differences between Super League and NRL

Could the NRL follow a Super Bowl model of moving around host cities?

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said: “We have made a decision, which we believe is in the best interest of our fans and that is to hold the game in Sydney this year.

“It is not for the long-term, negotiations will re-commence for future grand finals, it has really now put it on the table for the future.

“It hasn’t been because we were hoping that we’d have an exclusive arrangement with the NSW government.

“Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, so it opens the door for a Super Bowl type concept or who can give us the best deal for the game.

“It could go anywhere, if you look at the Super Bowl concept it goes everywhere and it is a destination week, you make it a major event.”

The context of the Grand Final discussions is that talks are ongoing about a proposed $800m investment from the NSW Government into NRL stadia including Brookvale Oval, Penrith Stadium and Shark Park.

A Super Bowl concept could see the Grand Final moved around to different cities each year.

V’landys has suggested that the Grand Final should return to Queensland at least once every four years.

But there are worries that the current impasse between the NRL and NSW Government could have repercussions for the game, with some reports suggesting relations are at an “all time low”.

The NFL welcomes bids from host cities to a list of strict criteria, with the location chosen three to five years before the event.

It is already known that the 2025 Super Bowl will be in New Orleans, with the 2023 event due in Arizona and 2024 in Nevada.

Interestingly, no Super Bowl has ever been staged outside a region that had a franchise at the time of the game.

The NRL Grand Final has averaged around 80,000 in attendance since its inception, save for the past two seasons where COVID had limited crowd numbers.

About James Gordon 7161 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.

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