Five QLD millionaires in huge bid to form NRL team
Five Queensland business tycoons worth more than $50 million collectively have begun due diligence into forming an NRL super bid to become Brisbane's second team and challenge the mighty Broncos.
Brisbane Bombers director Craig Davison has been approached by a cashed-up consortium looking to capitalise on Channel 9's desire to add another Queensland team to the NRL in 2023.
As revealed on Sunday, the code's long-time free-to-air broadcaster is pushing for a Sydney team to be killed off to accommodate a second Brisbane side.
It followed The Courier-Mail's exclusive report in March in which it was revealed the ARL Commission had identified Redcliffe as the code's next expansion target.
The Bombers, Central Queensland and Ipswich's western corridor bid have fought to clinch an NRL licence for the past eight years, but now a fresh consortium of high-powered executives are keen to take on the Broncos.
Davison confirmed the approach last night. A former chairman of the Thoroughbreds, the now-defunct stable of businessmen who supported the Broncos, Davison said the group had begun talks to either launch their own bid or join forces with the Bombers in the hope of joining the NRL.
"I've been contacted by a group of businessmen who are keen to get an NRL licence as Brisbane's second team," Davison said.
"They have asked not to be named. It is a confidential business group. They are successful in their own right and are serious about this proposition. They are crunching the numbers as we speak and doing an evaluation of what it would cost to fund an NRL team.
"There's a team of five businessmen and a couple have a footballing background. Four are based in Brisbane and one investor is in north Queensland.
"This group has asked me to do some due diligence of the NRL marketplace in Brisbane.
"Are the Bombers still a chance? I don't know that but there is certainly a possibility we can get together with these businessman and form a very robust bid.
"These men want the NRL to know they will bring their expertise to the table. The next stage is to seek the type of government support that is offered to the Broncos."
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg is currently compiling a report on the code with a view to formally identifying expansion zones in December.
The Courier-Mail understands a second Brisbane team is the No.1 target, with a push for a 17-team NRL if Greenberg and the ARL Commission baulk at the notion of killing off a Sydney club.
Davison said the five-man consortium will not hold talks with the NRL until the governing body makes it clear they will seek tenders for a second Brisbane team.
Should the secret investors wish to link with the Bombers, Davison said he would consider diluting his major shareholding to generate funds for a bona fide crack at becoming Queensland's fourth NRL team.
"I was surprised by the approach, but after talking to them, they love rugby league and there is a consideration to joining the syndicates and becoming even more powerful," he said.
"We will work on this bid and be ready in the event a second Brisbane team becomes a reality."