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NRL CEO Todd Greenberg says Brisbane is in "the box seat" to get an extra team if the game expands in 2023.

Greenberg said the NRL is doing extensive work on what the game's footprint and next broadcast deal would look like.

He added that for the game to expand in 2023 "we're going to have to make sure those recommendations are on the Commission's table towards the back end, if not the middle of this year".

There is a buzz in the Queensland capital about the possibility the city will finally have a second team next to the Broncos.

Speaking at The Courier Mail’s NRL season launch on Monday, Greenberg said the expansion topic was the subject of a question from a punter "pretty much when I stepped off the plane today".

He said extensive data analysis was behind his comment that Brisbane was in the box seat for a new team.

"It's an absolute rugby league town," he said.

"We've seen particularly in the last five years the strength of the game here where both participation and ratings have been phenomenal.

"I say they are in the box seat because that's genuine through the numbers and analysis.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"We have to start to consider what the footprint looks like, aligned to what the new competition structure looks like, and talk to our broadcasters about how we create more value in the next phase.

"We all know that the broadcasting environment at the moment is challenging with both free-to-air and subscription television going through change.

"What we're trying to do is make sure when we get back to the [negotiating] table that we have offerings that are valuable, and make sure that we give our viewers and fans the very best product to watch."

Foxtel boss Patrick Delany said in a recent News Ltd report that he wanted a second Brisbane team to provide intra-city rivalry with the Broncos, a comment Greenberg said "certainly helps".

"We've got two very big investors in broadcast with the Nine network and Fox," he said.

"They're our partners and we want to work closely with them and make sure the decisions we make create great value and that corresponds to bigger investment in the game, which corresponds to looking after our players, clubs and grassroots."

Greenberg said research showed an additional team in Brisbane could assist the Broncos.

"What we've seen in other spots here and abroad is finding rivalries within twos creates enormous value for the current team that sits there," he said.

"So, in other words, the Broncos could really drive more value from that."

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The NRL has also done extensive research about the number of league fans in Brisbane that don't support the Broncos.

"We’ve done an enormous amount of research, and some of that I can't disclose to you, but what I can tell you is that half-a-million fans in Brisbane don't support the Broncos and love rugby league," he said.

"Whether they are a rusted-on fan of another team or are looking for a team I'm not sure, but we know fans here in Brisbane love the game."

Broncos board member Darren Lockyer said he was in favour of expansion "so long as the NRL is adamant it won't fail".

"That is why they are taking their time so that if they do this it is going work," he said.

"One extra team doesn't generate an extra game so from a broadcast perspective it doesn’t bring in more money but it grows the game and grows the footprint, so as long as they do their due diligence I think it is the right thing to do, and at this stage just the one team."

Lockyer said that of all the Brisbane bids he had seen, Redcliffe was the one that most appealed to him.

"I just think that if you look at a club that is financially strong in its own right then that’s Redcliffe," he said.

"It is a growing population, they have been known as a  rugby league community and I think they are one of the potential clubs that could make it work. There are other good candidates but from my perspective Redcliffe makes sense."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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