The NRL has embarked on probably the biggest nationwide tour in Australia and the next stop has been announced – Adelaide. The nationwide tour began in 2018 with a trip to Melbourne and since then, it has reached Perth and now Adelaide.
Back in 2015, when the announcement was made to hold Game 2 of the 2018 State of Origin Series in Melbourne, no one foresaw the level of success of that arrangement. A record crowd of 91,513 trooped into MCG stadium and watched New South Wales Blue beat Queensland 26-18. The level of success immediately vindicated the decision of the NRL and more dates were booked for the MCG.
Melbourne also hosted one game in the series in 2018. The game was a huge success and was able to reach a wide audience. This propelled the NRL to look to other states to host the State of Origin Series.
After the success of the games in Melbourne, NRL kicked off the experiment to hold the State of Origin series in neutral venues. Perth was chosen to host the Game 2 of the 2019 State of Origin series.
This move by the NRL is to expand the horizon of the game and bring it closer to fans living in other states in Australia. It is believed that having one game in a neutral venue will help get more fans outside of the two states of New South Wales and Queensland even more interested in the series.
Perth became the first Western state to host the new State of Origin series format (the series has always been held within the western coast except for the one sojourn to the US in 1987). Once again, the crowd watching the game reached record capacity – 59,700 fans watched in a sold-our Opus Stadium. At this time, the nationwide was already in full effect.
The neutral venue for 2020 State of Origin series is Adelaide; with Game 1 of the 2020 Origin set to hold in Adelaide Oval, South Australia. Other than the benefits of expansion that the series has enjoyed, the financial gains are equally big. It is reported that Game 1 of the 2020 State of Origin series will bring over $15 million to all parties involved. This will definitely benefit the states involved in the series – and now Adelaide can become a beneficiary too.
Fans of New South Wales and Queensland Maroons living in the two states are the biggest oppositions to the move. They have openly shown their disgust and dissatisfaction to move one of the games outside of the two states. Their point of view is understandable as the trip to South Australia will come with extra costs.
It is unlikely that this will stop the NRL from making even bigger expansion plans. State governments want a share of the Origin pie and are willing to go into a bidding war for the rights to host the game. South Australia won this time around and the State of Origin is heading to Adelaide.