Australian rugby league’s top-tier NRL has named the four clubs that will compete in the season-opening double-header in Las Vegas next year as the league looks to expand its audience in the US.
The Brisbane Broncos, Manly Sea Eagles, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Roosters have been chosen by the NRL after consultation with domestic rightsholders Foxtel, the pay-TV operator, and commercial broadcaster Nine Network.
The teams will play at Allegiant Stadium, the home venue of American football’s Las Vegas Raiders franchise – which has a capacity of 65,000 – on March 2, 2024, weeks after the NFL’s flagship Super Bowl LVIII is played at the same stadium on February 11.
The matches mark the first time that regular-season games have been staged outside of Australia and New Zealand.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said: “The 2024 Las Vegas matches will form part of an exciting ‘Australia Week’ in Las Vegas where we will be showcasing rugby league and Australia to the US market.
“We are now working collaboratively with the four clubs to finalize arrangements for the proposed matches in Las Vegas and make this a blockbuster event for fans by maximizing travel, attendance, and enjoyment of a unique rugby league experience.
“Rugby league will be on a stage which the sport has simply never been on before and we look forward to giving all clubs the opportunity in coming years.”
All interested clubs were asked to submit a business case as to why they should be chosen, with the NRL ultimately picking three from Sydney and one from Brisbane. The Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles bring with them Hollywood power with actors Russell Crowe, co-owner of Rabbitohs, and Sea Eagles fan Hugh Jackman sure to make an appearance at the games.
Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly said: “It will be an exciting adventure for not only our players and staff to be a part of this historic event, but it will also give our members and supporters the opportunity to travel the world to watch their team play in the US.
“The profile of our club in North America began developing through one of our investors in Russell Crowe back in 2008, and it will continue to climb through our most recent investor in Mike Cannon-Brookes and his connections with the Utah Jazz NBA franchise in 2024.
“We’re confident that we can develop a strong fan and member base off the back of this Las Vegas event in February and March next year and we look forward to growing our club and the sport internationally alongside the Sea Eagles, Roosters, and the Broncos.”
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