ACT Government funding commitments to the Raiders and the Brumbies reinforce the focus on supporting local teams instead of bidding for major sports events.
The Raiders’ five-year deal with the ACT Government, worth $13 million, equates to $2.6 million a season. This means each home game at Canberra Stadium is worth around $210,000 to the club.
The Brumbies’ $3.5 million deal over two years equates to $250,000 for each home game.
The Raiders deal is more valuable each season because the club plays more home games at Canberra Stadium than the Brumbies.
A feature of the Raiders’ and Brumbies’ deals is the provision for women’s teams in the overall package.
The Brumbies already have a Super W side with players currently not paid. However, club sponsor, Ray White Canberra, does provide support to the Brumbies Super W team.
The Raiders are looking to put a team in the NRLW in 2023.
You would imagine the ACT Government would be keeping a close eye on the allocation of dollars to the women’s programs.
The GWS deal to play at Manuka is expected to be similar in terms of the government’s financial commitment for each game played.
It will be interesting to see if the GWS deal also involves an allocation for the AFLW team.
There is also the continued push for an A-League Men’s team for Canberra, although one of the bidding groups has been linked with the Central Coast Mariners.
There is National League team funding for the UC Capitals and Canberra United.
The Brumbies and the Raiders deals are interesting and seem to indicate a specific direction from the ACT Government.
The five-year deal for the Raiders to play at Canberra Stadium indicates that there will be no movement in the short to medium term on a new stadium.
The funding also signals a targeted commitment to Canberra sporting teams rather than getting into bidding wars with other states for major sporting events.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said as much when announcing the Brumbies funding.
“The ACT Government places the long-term viability of the club and Super Rugby in Canberra as our most significant professional rugby priority, and we look forward to continuing supporting the club beyond this agreement.”
This is a pointed reference to the fact that the ACT Government has opted against paying big money to be a venue for the proposed 2027 Rugby World Cup bid.
It was the same for the 2023 Women’s Football World Cup.
The line has been drawn in the sand. Canberra won’t be paying over the odds to attract major sporting events.
It appears that if national sporting organisations are keen to expand their footprint with major events in Canberra, or express a desire to play in the national capital, there won’t be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.