NRL Clubs Will Get $500K Grants After League Gets Nine Network Payment
National Rugby League clubs "will receive their sustainability grants" from the Australian Rugby League Commission Thursday after a A$30M ($31M) funding payment was negotiated with the Nine Network, according to Ian McCullough of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Clubs were each promised A$500,000 before Oct. 31 but were told this week by the ARLC "to expect delays." The ARLC was still waiting to be paid by Nine, but after the network avoided administration Wednesday when Nine Entertainment CEO David Gyngell "thrashed out a deal with lenders," the commission was able to pay clubs, which will have the money in their bank accounts by Thursday. ARLC interim CEO Shane Mattiske said, "'From the moment we signed the heads of agreement with our broadcast partners, we've been working towards providing this payment to the clubs." Mattiske added, "'This afternoon we reached a point where Nine was sufficiently comfortable to make the payment" (SMH, 10/18).
SMILING FACES: In Sydney, Honeysett & Read reported the NRL has always maintained that Nine's financial plight "had nothing to do with the delay in delivering on that promise, although clubs had been anxious." Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg said that the payments "were welcome news for all clubs." Greenberg: "It certainly makes it easier for all 16 clubs to run our business. This $500,000 sustainability grant will put a smile on the faces of a number of chief executives tonight" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/18).