Former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has expressed his support for the new administration structure of the National Rugby League as he presided over the new naming rights sponsorship deal for the Gold Coast Titans home ground at Robina.
The Titans will call Cbus Super Stadium home for the next five years at least in a deal brokered between Stadiums Queensland, the Queensland Government and Cbus Super Fund, a superannuation fund for the construction and building industry with more than 700,000 members and $25 billion under management nationwide.
A staunch supporter of Geelong in the AFL, Bracks told NRL.com that he had been impressed with the new direction of the NRL under the ARL Commission and as chairman of Cbus Super Fund is delighted to be associated with what is essentially a rugby league stadium.
"I think it was a necessary move to have a Commission. Obviously I've seen it from a Victorian point of view with the AFL Commission with the clubs effectively as the shareholders and that works extremely well," Bracks said at the naming rights announcement. "It puts it on a much more long-term, secure footing rather than relying on particular sponsors from time to time for the actual league itself. I think it's going to grow even more because of that and I'm a big supporter of what they're doing.
"They got a good result with the TV rights sponsorship and the grounds are improving all the time so I think there's a strong opportunity for the NRL to go even better than it does now.
"We (Cbus) think this is going to be good for the Titans to have this as their home ground and good for the NRL to have one of the biggest superannuation funds in the country as a sponsor of one of their stadiums."
Sighting the Gold Coast as a growth area for the building industry, Bracks is confident that exposure to supporters of the Titans and rugby league in general will deliver positive results to Cbus in terms of new members.
Titans CEO Graham Annesley, himself the NSW Minister for Sport between 2011-2013, echoed Bracks's sentiments and sees such an investment as a show of faith in the Gold Coast franchise.
"The fact that a company of this stature is interested in sponsoring a stadium and sees value in sponsoring what is essentially a rugby league stadium and essentially the Titans home ground, gives a massive vote of confidence to not only the Titans but also rugby league generally," Annesley said.
"This club is carrying no debt whatsoever, that's behind us and was resolved before I got here [in November 2013]. We are running a business that is a not-for-profit; any money that the club is able to make is reinvested back into the team but there are no outstanding debts that we're carrying.
"You can't deny that there has been some drama in the past but I think this is a very forgiving region and people are proud of the fact that they've got a national team playing here in the NRL competition and they want that team to be successful."
One of Bracks' final acts as Premier of Victoria was to oversee the establishment of a rectangular stadium in the Olympic Park precinct – aka AAMI Stadium – but conceded his NRL loyalties may now be divided.
"I think I was patron once or No.1 ticket holder so I still like the Melbourne Storm but I'm going to have a strong second team, if not my first one," Bracks said.
"We want [the Titans] playing as late as possible [into the season]. You could possibly have two home finals here couldn't you? Yeah, I want them to go well!"