Leeds Rhinos CEO on NRL Dominance and Super League Future

Rugby League: Leeds Rhinos CEO Sees NRL as ‘Significantly Bigger’ Than Super League

Published: February 10, 2024
Source: Sky Sports

In a recent interview on the Sky Sports podcast “The Bench with Jenna and Jon”, Leeds Rhinos CEO Gary Hetherington provided insights into the state of rugby league, drawing comparisons between the NRL and Super League.

Hetherington acknowledged the NRL’s expanding horizons, stating that the Australian competition is “now looking beyond Australia and New Zealand” and has its sights set on the United States, a market that Hetherington believes has “huge potential for the Rugby League.” He emphasized the need for Super League to be part of this strategy, noting that the NRL is a “significantly bigger competition” than the UK-based league.

When discussing the differences in size, the Leeds Rhinos CEO pointed to the NRL’s greater resources and participation numbers, explaining that “in the NRL they’ve got so many so much more resources so many more kids playing it – it’s inevitable they’re going to create what is a bigger or better competition than what we’ve got.”

Hetherington also highlighted the contrast in sporting landscapes, noting that while rugby league dominates in two of Australia’s major states, the sport in England faces stiff competition from other popular spectator sports such as association football, rugby union, and cricket.

The rugby league news article also touched on the potential for increased collaboration between the NRL and Super League. Hetherington suggested that the “way the game is expanding with its crowds, its commercial revenues” in Australia and New Zealand presents positive indicators for possible future link-ups between the two competitions.

“There are only two major competitions in the world isn’t there, Super League and there’s the NRL, and we need to be collaborative, we need to be working together, we’ve got common interests, we need to be helping each other and we need to also use our profile to expand the game in other countries and horizons,” Hetherington stated.

The article underscores the growing prominence of the NRL and the need for Super League to adapt and explore opportunities for collaboration as the global rugby league landscape continues to evolve.

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