Dolphins: Earning ‘NRL powerhouse’ status

Published 9:00am 17 April 2024

Dolphins: Earning  ‘NRL powerhouse’ status
Words by Kylie Knight

As the Dolphins’ second season in the NRL ramps up, we take a look at the numbers which prove they’re more than the ‘feel-good’ story of 2023 – they are a genuine powerhouse in the league.

The club surprised many on and off the field in their inaugural season, showing grit and determination to win more games than commentators expected but also enjoying impressive commercial success.

The club topped the ladder in merchandise sales, club game attendance and TV ratings (finals excluded), and had the second highest total sponsorship and average crowd numbers.

Dolphins NRL CEO Terry Reader has described the ‘Phins as the ‘people’s team’ built on a foundation forged by the Redcliffe-based club over many years.

The club’s already strong support base has inspired the playing group to be the best they can, but also translated into commercial success which will ensure the Dolphins have a bright future.

“We’re not just the feel-good story of ’23, the Dolphins are already a powerhouse in the NRL,” Reader told supporters at the club’s inaugural presentation evening.

“The Dolphins set membership records, attendance records, merchandise sales records for a club in their first year in the NRL … some that I don’t think will ever be surpassed.

“That’s an amazing result.”

The club became a sponsorship favourite for businesses in key categories looking for an opportunity to link their brands with the NRL and the Dolphins.

“It was an amazing year and so much to be proud of,” Reader said.

“The first Battle for Brisbane was the fifth biggest rating game on TV since ratings started for a club match 28 years ago. It just shows how much two teams were needed in our market.”

The average crowd at Suncorp Stadium for a Dolphins’ home game was 32,500, and games at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium sold out.

The club has established academies and school programs in Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay, Central Queensland.

Dolphins’ Game Development Manager Shane Morris and his team have travelled more than 30,000km and visited 328 schools, 261 junior clubs and engaged with more than 38,000 boys and girls in those programs.

It delivers on a promise the club made in its bid for an NRL license to develop the game from the Brisbane River to Rockhampton.

Dolphins: Earning  ‘NRL powerhouse’ status

The numbers

#1 on-field merchandise sales

#1 club game attendance in NRL history (finals excluded)

#1 NRL club game TV audience of 2023 (finals excluded)

#2 total sponsorship

#2 average crowds

#4 total members (30,096)

32,500 average crowd at Suncorp Stadium

Membership – 30,096 fans

45% live in norther corridor

40% live in inner Brisbane suburbs

9% more female members than NRL average

13% more members in 18-24 years range than NRL average

Game Development – since October 2022

335 junior club visits

512 school visits

60,000km travelled

52,000 participants (including 13,000 females)


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