Cronulla are set to announce a deal that will see tens of millions of dollars at the club’s disposal, immediately transforming the Sharks into the financial juggernaut of the NRL.
The financial injection comes as the Sharks have agreed terms with developers Capital Bluestone to sell their remaining interest in the Woolooware Bay Town Centre staged development.
The Daily Telegraph reports that under the agreement the Sharks will receive an immediate $9 million payment, to be used to clear all debt, while covering their recent salary cap fine and a projected $3 million football club loss in 2019.
$18 million will go into a future investments fund, with $1.5 million estimated annually to support the club outside of sponsorship, membership and ticketing, courtesy of Capital Bluestone.
Meanwhile, another $12 million will be diverted to an escrow fund, to be held by a third party and made available to the Sharks once building works begin on the Woolooware Bay site.
Cronulla has long been under threat of relocation or merger, as the NRL looks towards expansion ahead of a new TV broadcast deal for 2022 being finalised.
The mega-deal will put to bed much speculation.
Sharks chairman Dino Mezzatesta told The Daily Telegraph he was proud of the club for securing its long-term future in Cronulla.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Mezzatesta declared.
“This club will carefully invest the money to ensure we have long term income outside of football and poker machines.
“The board has put in place an investment committee to ensure the funds would be carefully invested.
“It places us in an absolute position of strength for the future and guarantees the Sharks’ future will always be in the Shire.
“We’ve been around for more than 50 years and will be around for another 50.”
In addition to the $40 million, the club is poised to receive a further $16 million from the State and Federal governments for ground improvements and a high performance facility at their current venue.
“We will be as strong and secure as any of our rivals in Sydney,” Mezzatesta said.
“We have undergone the most searching compliance overhaul and can now move forward with a new coach and a great roster capable of playing finals football.”
Cronulla begin their 2019 season at 6pm tonight with an away matchup with Newcastle.