The NRL recently announced that State of Origin would be heading to Adelaide in 2020. The South Australian government was able to strike a deal with the NRL to secure the biggest series in the game.
This follows last year’s announcement that one game from the 2019 series would be played in Perth.
Melbourne will host the first game in 2018, meaning that the next three years will all have a game that takes place in a neutral venue.
This may be an indication that the NRL wishes to have one neutral game in every series moving forward. This would certainly change the dynamic of State of Origin in a major way.
There are a number of positives and negatives to having one game that takes place outside of Queensland and New South Wales.
Due to the popularity of the series, the NRL is able to make large sums of money by selling one of the games to another state. State of Origin draws in a large number of travelling fans, which benefit tourism; the South Australian government expects to generate $15 million from hosting the game.
The NRL not only sees the State of Origin as a way to make money but also as a way to promote the game. By giving states like Perth and South Australia an opportunity to host one of the most significant games of the year is an excellent way to showcase the best the NRL has to offer.
These are major benefits for the NRL, and they can easily justify selling one game each year as it evens the hosting rights of Queensland and New South Wales.
However, many NRL fans are not happy with the decision to take the series away from the competing states for a third consecutive year.
For some, State of Origin games that take place outside of Queensland and New South Wales go against the tradition and spirit of the contest.
There is also the thought that the best rugby league games should not be played away from the heartland of the sport as it is not appreciated as much by the fans.
Regardless of whether fans are in support of State of Origin games being sold to outside states or not, it appears that the NRL are planning to continue doing so. This could mean that the 2017 series was the last one to take place exclusively in Queensland and New South Wales.