The bold plan to start the 2024 NRL season in Las Vegas has worked.
The NRL will reportedly invest $200 million in the project and the first piece of the puzzle has been placed.
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It has been announced that the Brisbane Broncos will play their first game of the 2024 season in Las Vegas.
News Corp reported that a five-year contract between US officials and the ARL Commission is soon to be agreed.
The Las Vegas double-header for the 2024 season opener is an important part of the plan.
Other clubs most likely to belong to the Broncos include South Sydney, Manly, Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters.
The state-of-the-art Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas – with a rectangular playing field – is said to be perfectly suited for the event and can hold 65,000 spectators. The 40,000-seat Sam Boyd Stadium is also an option.
The new rule means that NRL games will be played in America until the end of 2028.
It is the first time in the league’s 116-year history that a game for Premiership points has been played outside of Australia or New Zealand.
The announcement comes after NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo and chairman Peter V’landys recently traveled to the United States on a fact-finding mission.
“We’ve obviously learned over time and understood what it takes to make this happen,” Abdo said at the recent launch of the Indigenous Round.
“The more planning we can do, the more successful it will be.
“We will do everything to make it possible…”
“There’s still a lot of work to be done to make that a reality, but that’s exactly our job.”
“We believe there is an opportunity for us to gain fans on the west coast of America, which would be a huge opportunity for us.”
The NRL has tried to break into the US market before, most recently in early 2019 with billboards portraying the Sydney Roosters as “world champions of football”.
Rugby league also held a State of Origin spectacle in California in 1987, but Abdo insisted it would not be a one-off success in the United States.
Aside from the game growing there, entering the American gambling market could also prove to be a financial win for the game.
– With AAP