NRL reports record revenue and dethrones AFL as Australia’s top code

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
22/02/2024
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NRL reports a record $701.1 million revenue

NRL’s total revenue is $701.1 million, an 18% increase on the previous year and hundreds of millions more than the AFL’s estimated revenue.

News Insights

  • NRL reports record $701.1 million revenue in 2023.
  • Peter V’landys predicts $1 billion revenue soon.
  • Viewership is up 14 per cent as well.
  • “AFL is No. 2,” says Peter V’landys

The NRL has delivered its 2023 reports, revealing record revenue, viewership, and an ambitious plan for the future. 2023 revenues were revealed to be $701.1 million, making the NRL the biggest sport in Australia. Peter V’landys, NRL commissioner, sees the NRL growing to be a $1 billion league.

2023 a record year for the NRL

The 2023 annual reports for the NRL show that the league has never been in a better place. Revenue reached a record $701.1 million, an 18 per cent increase compared to 2022. This is nearly double the AFL’s estimated $300+ million revenue. 

Viewership was also up and well ahead of the AFL. According to League Central, the rugby league is now the most watched sport in Australia. The NRL had 171.8 million total viewers in 2023, a 14 per cent increase over 2022. 

The NRL also increased its total wealth in 2023 by purchasing major assets such as the Gambaro Hotel by Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. 

In total, these numbers show that the NRL has grown massively in the last three years. Since 2021, the NRL has earned over $160 million in profits. The NRL and its clubs delivered $447 million to stakeholders and $216.3 million to its players in 2023. Both are increases compared to 2022 and record amounts overall.

V’landys talks up league status

Controversial Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys used these record numbers to talk up the NRL’s status in Australia compared to the AFL, A-League, and other top sports in the country. 

We are celebrating record revenues,” the Commissioner said. “They are remarkable numbers – no other sport is near us. The other sports are battling, but the NRL has never been in a better spot.”

The game nearly went broke during Covid. We were in the basement. But after Covid, we have gone to the penthouse and I’m very proud of the game’s recovery with the support of people like Andrew Abdo, Kate Jones, the Commission, the clubs and the great entertainers we have in our players.”

It’s always an honour to represent so many stakeholders in rugby league, especially the fans. The fans have never had a representative and I pride myself on making sure that we look after the fan. Without the fans, you have nothing. For many years, they were the last ones considered and I just want to make sure they are well represented.”


After thanking the fans, V’landys went on to specifically have a go at the AFL. “To be honest, we are already the No. 1 sport. AFL is No. 2,” he said. “In terms of viewing figures, we are No. 1, you can’t dispute that.”

Despite his bold tone, V’landys also stressed how much he respected the AFL. “They do a very good job at promoting their sport. I like the fact they are doing a great job because it makes us want to compete and get better. They know we are around and we will keep them honest,” V’landys  said.

$1 billion revenue the goal for NRL 

$701.1 million is a massive revenue number for any sport in Australia. According to V’landys though, this number is not enough. The Commission Chairman is targeting a $1 billion revenue for the NRL in the coming years. 

We will get to $1 billion in revenue. We won’t do it next year, but my aim is to get us to the $1 billion mark and I have no doubt we can continue to grow,” said V’landys. 

Part of his strategy for growth is taking the NRL to other markets. The league will start the 2024 NRL season with a double header in the US at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas between Sydney Roosters and Brisbane Broncos and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles vs South Sydney Rabbitohs.