It would be a fantastic marketing and development campaign for the NRL, in developing global awareness for the NRL brand and the game of rugby league it if happened – with both the Canberra Raiders & Manly Sea Eagles expressing interest in a pre-season game in China for 2014.
Manly confirmed that they are keen to discuss the viability of the fixture, after Manly boss David Perry put forth a proposal to the Raiders – with sponsors of both clubs Kaspersky and Huawei also keen on the idea.
It comes after Huawei, the main sponsor of the Canberra Raiders, brought up the idea of taking a game to China – with Raiders CEO Don Furner keen to make the idea of taking a game to China, a reality.
“We’re definitely going to explore it, Manly are keen for us to do it with their sponsor [Kaspersky],” Furner said yesterday.
“We’re keen for it, they’ve sent us a proposal and Huawei are keen to look at it.
“We’ll have a meeting with Kaspersky and Huawei in about three weeks’ time to see if they want to take if further, if so we’ll take it further.”
The potential pre-season game will not be until 2014 however, with the Raiders pre-season games for 2013 already determined.
It will not be the first time that an Australian sport has been taken to China, with AFL side the Melbourne Demons playing an exhibition game in China against the Brisbane Lions in 2010 – one that Kaspersky was also involved in, as they were a sponsor of the Demons at the time.
With the game a relative unknown, Furner believes that the novelty factor can work in the NRL’s favour – expecting the game to be a hit.
“I think it would be a one-off thing to start, for the novelty factor, see how it went and go from there,” Furner said in April.
“They may take an interest in it like I take an interest in gridiron, I’ve been to a few games.”