The man driving the Dolphins’ $100 million NRL bid talks about his plan and how the community can help make it happen.
The Dolphins made a bold play for an NRL licence last week, when they officially opened the newly-completed stadium and laid bare a compelling case for inclusion in the national competition.
For the first time, the club detailed their strong financial position and asset base, ideal geographic location and proximity to Brisbane, and reminded the league of their history as a nursery for some of the game’s greatest players.
It follows the arrival of former Brisbane Broncos chief commercial officer Terry Reader, who started working with the club in August and will drive the bid.
Mr Reader said he had been working with the Dolphins on a roadmap to give them the greatest chance of success.
He clearly believes theirs is the bid to beat, having been sounded out by another bid but selected to work on the Dolphins bid, which he said was the best option for the NRL.
“The Dolphins don’t muck around. They know what they want to do. You only have to look at their history and what they’ve built,” Mr Reader said.
“The Dolphins goal has always been to play rugby league at the highest level of the competition. The club’s operation and investment in the community and facilities has been to be in a position to do just that.”
In his view, the club has already done the hard yards by building the infrastructure, securing diversified revenue streams and running a successful football club.
“Everything is already there that’s needed to run a NRL team. It’s a better set-up when compared to most other NRL clubs,” he said.
“Brisbane is the biggest marketplace outside of Sydney, but there’s only one team in Brisbane but there’s nine in Sydney.”
Mr Reader said the NRL had no formal bid process, but he believed it would ramp up after this year’s COVID-19-interupted season was over.
Until last week’s stadium opening, most people did not know exactly what the club had to offer.
He said they had a turnover of more than $30 million, $100 million in assets and leased office space, and the stadium was just 25 minutes from Brisbane Airport.
Mr Reader said it would be a Brisbane NRL bid – not a Redcliffe bid – appealing to rugby league fans from greater Brisbane, Moreton Bay and to the Sunshine Coast and beyond.
Now, that the club has made it known what it has and the strength of its bid, Mr Reader and the board will activate an action plan to garner support and build the Dolphins NRL bid brand.
“We want them to show their red and white and push the case for the region to get the next Brisbane team,” Mr Reader said.
This will be vital in a digital age, when the NRL will looking at the level of support online.
Redcliffe will be removed from the name, so it is more inclusive and representative of the fan base.
The club will seek feedback from the community about what name should fall in front of the word Dolphins – River City, South Queensland, Moreton Bay or something else.
“We want the public to help us come up with a name so they can feel an extra connection and have a real ownership of the team,” Mr Reader said.
The Redcliffe Dolphins would be the main feeder team, but the club would also look to form affiliate relationships with two or three other QCUP clubs.
While Suncorp Stadium would be the Dolphins’ home ground, some games would be played at Dolphin Stadium and perhaps even the Sunshine Coast.
For now, Mr Reader and the board are building a commercial model detailing how the club would operate if it was granted a license – how it would generate revenue, what its expenses would be and even how many staff it would employ.
“Having the right commercial model and being sustainable is very important. We like to think we can build a model that can make us very competitive,” he said.
Dolphins’ chairman Bob Jones said the completion of the stadium meant the club’s bid was ‘NRL ready’.
“With this in place, the Dolphins NRL Bid now has all the ingredients to provide a strong, community-based team that would represent as a true Brisbane club in the NRL.”
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