The Central Queensland NRL expansion bid has commissioned an updated report from the ARLC’s media rights expert Colin Smith as the gloves come off in the increasingly testy battle for a place in the national competition.
CQ are seething over comments made last week by the chairman of the Brisbane Bombers bid, one of three, along with CQ and Ipswich, seeking to become a fourth Queensland team in an expanded 18 team competition. Bombers boss Craig Davison told AAP that the ARLC “needed” more games played in Brisbane city, a suggestion CQ says has no substance.
The Bombers have previously upset Ipswich’s bid, with Davison dismissing it as: “Ipswich is a good little city, but I don’t think it has the strength of numbers to make it (NRL admission) work.”
The CQ bid released to SBI on Thursday a report prepared by Smith’s Global Media & Sports company in August 2011, comparing the CQ bid to all others looking for a berth when the competition expands. They are Brisbane, Ipswich, Perth, Darwin, Central Coast and Papua New Guinea.
Smith is working as a consultant to the ARLC as it negotiates a new TV deal estimated to be in the region of $1.4 billion.
The 2011 Smith report concluded that CQ had the best local support and sponsorship potential of any bid and said the TV viewing figures and potential rights income was the same as it would be for the other Queensland bids.
“Given the propensity for Queenslanders to support their NRL teams, television audiences for a new expansion franchise in Brisbane or Ipswich or Central Queensland will not vary,” the report said. “likewise Pay TV subscription growth is not expected to vary depending on location of the new franchise.
“The choice of location for an expansion team should be based on the success of the new team. The success of the new team will be determined by local support of fans and business. The survey shows fans’ support will be highest for a Central Queensland expansion team.”
The actual location of an expansion team in Queensland will have a minimal impact on overall TV audiences or Pay TV subscriptions,” Smith concluded.
CQ business and community development manager Walson Carlos also revealed Thursday, “We have just re-engaged Colin Smith to undertake a further study that will update the current report and compile specific data relevant to the effects of expansion on other NRL clubs, the NRL and specific media outlets.”
Smith’s company Global Media & Sports was contracted to deliver his first report last year and surveyed 1,240 fans in spread through city and rural areas of Queensland (781) and New South Wales (451) and studied NRL TV broadcast ratings from 2008-11.
The key findings in the report, released to SBI today, were:
Queenslanders support Queensland teams as their first, second and third choice above outsiders and this is reflected in stated preference and ratings data.
- While Queenslanders marginally prefer to watch their local team play on TV over other Queensland teams, audiences in Queensland fall significantly for games between outsiders.
- Based on an analysis of audiences, an expansion franchise located anywhere in Queensland will draw similar TV ratings and the location of a Queensland-based franchise will have “minimal effect on overall TV audience size or additional Pay TV subscriptions” .
- While the survey found an overall majority support for the NSW Central Coast bid, based on a split of the vote in Queensland and a strong NSW vote, figures show audience levels drop in both states for Knights and Canberra Raiders games, indicating a regional team in New South Wales may not add to NRL audiences.
- There is a strong appetite for expansion – 75 percent of respondents believe in expansion with most saying it should be two teams or four.
- Central Queensland was the clear top choice of all Queensland respondents as the preferred location for expansion, and was second for Brisbane-based respondents.
Although a timeframe for expansion has yet to be confirmed, an NRL source said in February that bidders were expected to be told in July if they remained in contention.