The NRL is meeting with its expansion committee on Friday, where a club will be recommended as the 17th franchise to join the competition from 2023.
While there’s three bidders – the Brisbane Jets, Firehawks and Redcliffe – it is believed the latter is all but certain to get the nod.
Joining SEN’s Pat and Heals, Channel Seven’s Chris Garry says the Dolphins will be selected due to their backing from News Corp.
The majority owner of the Brisbane Broncos, News Corp is willing to inject an extra “15 to 20 million” into the broadcasting deal for Fox Sports and Kayo to the NRL if Redcliffe is selected.
Garry believes News Corp views the Jets and Firehawks’ bids as having potential to “cannibalise” the Broncos, and therefore that’s why it is strongly backing the Dolphins’ bid.
“Here’s the facts, the Broncos and News Corp believe that Ipswich, or the Brisbane Jets, and this is their belief, that they would cannibalise the Broncos,” Garry said.
“That’s their concern, they believe that Redcliffe has more of its own identity away from the Broncos, and they are willing to help fund that in the tune of 15 to 20 million dollars a year extra for their broadcasting.
“News Corp have said repeatedly, ‘No it doesn’t have to be Redcliffe’, well, my understanding is they would much rather it be Redcliffe.”
Garry says Redcliffe’s location north of Brisbane has ultimately given the bid a leg-up.
“They (News Corp) genuinely believe if the Brisbane Jets or Firehawks came into the competition, they would disturb the Broncos too much,” Garry explained.
“The Broncos fan base is heavier west of Brisbane than it is north of Brisbane.
“As frustrating as it is, if News Corp are saying, ‘Hey ARLC, here’s an extra 15 to 20 million dollars a year if you make this choice’, I can understand what the commission sees in that, it’s a lot of money.”
The nomination for the 17th franchise is expected to be announced by the NRL next week.