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NRL announces four clubs to open 2024 season in Las Vegas | NRL | The Guardian
NRL announces four clubs to open 2024 season in Las Vegas | NRL | The Guardian

The National Rugby League has selected the four clubs that will take part in the historic season-opening double header in Las Vegas next year, weeks after the Super Bowl will be held at the same venue.

South Sydney, Brisbane, Manly and the Roosters made successful proposals to the NRL, which selected the teams in consultation with Channel Nine and Fox Sports.

The NRL chief executive, Andrew Abdo, said the round one matches – set to be played in late February or early March – are about “showcasing rugby league and Australia to the US market”.

South Sydney has announced the game will be held at the domed Allegiant Stadium in Nevada, which has a capacity of 65,000 and is home to NFL franchise the Las Vegas Raiders.

Super Bowl LVIII will be played on 11 February at the venue which cost close to $3bn to build and has been called the Death Star due to its black appearance.

The stadium offers configurations of either artificial turf or Bermuda grass, which can be grown outside then rolled into the structure.

The Rabbitohs chief executive, Blake Solly, said the club was proud to be leading the push into the US.

“The NRL asked for expressions of interest to be included in the Las Vegas event and we put our hand up,” he said.

The club has played in the US before, in a 2008 exhibition match against the Leeds Rhinos in Florida.

Solly said the profile of co-owners Russell Crowe and Mike Cannon-Brookes – who also has a stake in NBA basketball franchise the Utah Jazz – has already helped develop the club’s brand in the US.

“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,” he said.

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The decision to take the game to Las Vegas – the home of gambling in the US – has the potential to increase broadcast exposure and wagering turnover on the code. Leading sports take a small proportion of money bet on their competitions by licensed online wagering providers.

The US online sports betting industry has rapidly expanded in recent years following a 2018 US supreme court decision that struck down a 1992 federal law that effectively banned commercial sports betting in most states.

Abdo said planning for the matches with the clubs was under way, and the NRL wanted to ensure the matches were well attended.

“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,” he said.

This content was originally published here.