The NRL has begun definitive action to expand the league, with ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie engaging broadcasters about adding an additional team.
Per The Courier-Mail, Beattie has opened discussions with Fox Sports and Channel 9 regarding an additional team when the NRL’s next TV deal begins in 2023.
Under Beattie’s proposed expansion, the league’s 17th team would be based in Brisbane, rather than the next-likely location of Perth.
“I am a strong supporter of expansion because I think the game has to expand,” Beattie told The Courier-Mail.
“Clearly Queensland needs another team, that is obvious.”
After ongoing speculation, the discussions are the first decisive step towards expansion since Beattie claimed that the league must “expand or die”.
The ARL Commission will have three and a half years to negotiate a deal with broadcasters, to ensure expansion by 2023.
“The bottom line is Fox Sports and Nine aren’t running a charity,” Beattie said.
“They have to work out, how does extra teams bring in revenue and is it good for the broadcasters?
“None of this is easy. We don’t have a solution yet, but Todd (Greenberg) is working on one.”