NRL Club Rethinks Cost Of China Match Following $1.5M Loss Last Year
The ambition of National Rugby League club Manly Sea Eagles to host a game against the Canberra Raiders in China next year "has been called into question" following revelations the Sea Eagles posted a A$1.5M loss last year, according to Stuart Honeysett of THE AUSTRALIAN. Raiders CEO Don Furner "recently returned from a three-day trip to China where he visited prospective venues for the match," which was tentatively scheduled for round 11 next year. Although initially keen to play a game in China for the next five years, "it is believed Manly has gone cold on the idea." The Sea Eagles "have concerns over scheduling and whether taking a match there would be commercially viable." Furner said, "As an organisation we're still keen for the event, but it may be that round 11 comes around too quick for next year because there's still a lot of hoops to jump through." Meanwhile, the NRL has already "made provisions for the match in next year's draw." The league had given both clubs the bye in round 12 to allow for the overseas travel, and broadcaster Fox Sports "has also been included in the discussions." The A$1.5M financial loss has caused "concerns that taking a game to China might not be the commercial cash cow as was first thought" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/10).