The NRL could have its second Brisbane team by 2023 as the Brisbane Firehawks launch their $80 million expansion bid to enter the league and become the NRL's 17th team by 2023.
The announcement was officially made at Easts Tigers Club on Tuesday, as CEO Brian Torpy unveiled the name and the black and orange colours for the potential newest addition to the NRL.
Torpy told NRL's Brad Walter about the meaning behind the Firehawk name.
"Like the Firehawk, we are a unique Australian brand," Torpy said to the NRL.
"A raptor that changes the environment for the better, to sustain it. In what it does, it is representative of an outlaw."
The Firehawks have been linked to the East Tigers Rugby Club, now playing as the Brisbane Tigers, who have over 105 years of history in Brisbane's state competition, and could attract new fans to the club if the bid is successful.
The Firehawks will look to set themselves apart from rival competitors such as the Redcliffe Dolphins and the Brisbane Jets, with their financial stability being their main strength.
"We are strong," Torpy told The Daily Telegraph.
"We’ve got $55 million in assets, $25 million cash in the bank and no debt."
"People don’t realise that because we don’t go beat our chest about it, but we are very financial. The Firehawks model is cash positive for the first couple of years."
The bid of $80 million would make them the richest club in the NRL, ahead of the Brisbane Broncos, who own a $27 million headquarters and profited $16 million in the past 12 months.
Former South Sydney Rabbitohs CEO, Shane Richardson, who began his administrative career at East Tigers, will play a key role as a bid consultant and pumped up the idea of a cross-river rivalry between the Firehawks and the Broncos.
"If they pack the stadium for the Gold Coast Titans imagine when they’re playing a second Brisbane team at Suncorp Stadium. It’s nothing but a positive," Richardson told The Daily Telegraph.
"Why does Holden put a car yard next to Ford and next to Toyota? They trust that they will be able to compete. You get to sell what’s best if you’re good enough."
Big day! Who would you want as our inaugural Captain & Coach combo?
We would be on the lookout for a ‘master coach’ 👀 https://t.co/XDINPlD100
— Brisbane Firehawks (@BrisFirehawks) May 18, 2021
Torpy also outlined how the Firehawks would look to attract a younger audience.
A massive 4.4 million sports fans in Queensland between ages 18-34 don't support the Brisbane Broncos or the Gold Coast Titans, which opens up a key target audience for the Firehawks.
"We would like to think that we are going to be a national brand based in Brisbane, so we want to appeal to all Australians," Torpy said.
The Firehawks will look to start construction out at Langlands Park in October on a $7 million Centre of Excellence which would be home to the Firehawks' operations should their bid be successful.
The NRL are expected to announce a decision on an expansion team by June.