COMMENT: Coronavirus, Why People & Business Come First Not Handouts To The NRL
COMMENT: Content streaming is a lucrative business and over the years the NRL has pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars from TV companies and the likes of Foxtel, now the code is facing a game ban and the administrators are already looking for a Government hand out.
This is despite the fact that NRL players are paid millions and the code has bragged in the past about their multimillion-dollar content deals.
No Australian government should even remotely, considers a handout to any football code because of the Coronavirus.
If football is stopped for a season so be it, the NRL like what a lot of small businesses are going to have find a way through the crisis without a Government handout.
People and jobs come first not a football code and if the worst scenario is, that a few NRL clubs struggle we can always go back to watching club football which in the case of Rugby Australia is a better option than watching the pathetic football that the Super Rugby is right now in Australia.
Earlier today Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys warned of the “catastrophic” danger the coronavirus spread posed to the code.
He claims the NRL would exhaust its cash reserves within three months if the competition was suspended, it emerged on Sunday.
Nine Media wrote Rugby league’s great unwashed probably don’t care how players on an average wage of $371,000-a-year are going to battle through this.
Or if the best-paid players on $1 million might have to sell off that fourth investment property they snapped up when the market was right.
And if Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s icy response at a media conference late on Sunday when asked about V’landys comments is any indication, he’s also not big on the idea of bailing out rugby league.
He’s probably more concerned right now about having enough ICU beds if this thing keeps spreading, and people start dying, at the same pace as seen in other parts of the world.
The real concern is not what will happen to the NRL but all those businesses that in a matter of weeks have lost customers and now face the real possibility that they are going to have to sack staff.
It is these people who come first.
V’landys has also got his spin doctors spruiking the concept that NSW should not go ahead with a new $800 Million dollar Sydney stadium in NSW a concept that appears to be getting traction from socialist media.
This is despite the fact that a project like this in a time of crisis delivers job security for thousands while also pumping money into the economy which is set to be hit in coming weeks.
Both Foxtel and Nine pay a total of $13m per round to the NRL, money that is circulated to allow clubs to run their businesses and players to be paid.
If this money is not paid to the NRL, TV stations that are already struggling can use this money to prop up jobs in an industry that is already seeing advertising contracts cancelled because of the Coronavirus.
“It could have catastrophic effects on us moving forward. Our money will only last so long and once it’s extinguished, we are in big trouble. It depends on the scenario we’re faced with but if it’s a total closure, we haven’t got long at all.” V’landy told media earlier today.
The SMH reported that while V’landys said there was a force majeure clause in its broadcasting contracts, covering unforeseeable circumstances, he conceded he could hardly expect Foxtel and Nine, the publisher of this masthead, to keep paying if their NRL content evaporated.
“Naturally there’s scenarios where the broadcaster doesn’t have to pay if the games don’t proceed,” he said. “Without going into the commercial sensitivities of the contract we have a moral obligation to the broadcaster as well.”
The NRL has $147m in cash reserves and if a few players who are paid millions have to go 9 months without pay then so be it.
What about the hotel worker on $50K who now faces being laid off or the Qantas employee who earns in a year what these footballers earn in a week?
Let’s be realistic NRL and football is not a high priority, the jobs of millions of workers who now face being laid off and the preservation of the businesses that employ them are a bigger priority.
The NRL has calculated that its funds would dry up altogether inside three months.
Melbourne Storm superstar Cam Smith has called for the NRL to step in and immediately suspend the rugby league season.
Smith told the Daily Telegraph the NRL should cancel all games for the next two weeks.
He stressed Storm team-mates were at high risk of contracting the Coronavirus by spending such a considerable amount of time in airports and on aeroplanes.
The Storm returned to Melbourne on Sunday night on a commercial airline.
“After we finish these matches on the weekends then we return to our families. There are several guys in our squad who are going back to their families and new born babies,’ Smith said.
“If we make a decision to suspend the comp for a couple of weeks then I think it gives everyone an opportunity to actually sum up the situation a little bit better rather than being reactive daily or hourly.