The National Rugby League (NRL) will explore its options in the United States, seeking to cash in on the strong momentum of sports betting legalization in the country. The league, which is the primary rugby competition in Australia and New Zealand, will be attempting to leverage its popularity overseas.
Building NRL’s Momentum in the US
Now, the NRL is looking to expand in the US with Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) director Gary Weiss creating an action plan that will allow the NRL to reach overseas bettors and monetize in a bid to generate additional revenue for the sport.
The move enjoys internal support as ARLC chairman Peter V’landys is confident that the marriage between sports and betting could have significant benefits for the league. V’landys has already pitched the idea to all 16 league clubs and described the potential for the league as extraordinary.
He pointed out that the illegal market was already worth $500 billion and it was, therefore, important to start tackling black market gambling. V’landys explained that casinos and sports betting companies are teaming up in the US for what he described as “big play.”
V’landys also noted that the expansion in the US reflected his deeper commitment to the league and was one of his promises when he was appointed chair. It could be one of the big revenue earners for the game, he continued.
The commission is discussing the matter with former Sportsbet executive BetEasy founder Matt Tripp who is also chairman and co-owner of Melbourne Storm. Tripp could potentially help the NRL gain a foothold in the US by advising on correct business and strategic moves so far as sports betting goes.
Execution Matter in NRL’s Overseas Success
Tripp has already commented on the idea cited by The Sydney Morning Herald and said that the league has a chance to leverage a growing market if it’s done correctly. He pointed out that revenue from sports gambling is only bound to increase when having the proper infrastructure for it. Tripp added:
“Given everyone sees the US as a wagering gold rush, there is certainly an opportunity for the NRL to leverage their assets, package them up and distribute them to US wagering operators.”
Tripp also envisages a strong growth for overseas revenue from various NRL activities that stretch beyond Oceania. In his opinion the league could be adding 50% or 60% more on that revenue over the course of the next five years.