Rarely, if ever, do we think about prize money as a motivating factor in the collective quest of all 16 NRL clubs to win a Premiership. Instead it’s the intangible factors which we most commonly discuss – the glory, the legacy which it creates, the players’ fulfillment of a lifelong ambition. But prize money does exist for winning the Premiership, though it may not be as much as you might expect.
How much prize money do NRL Premiers get?
As of 2020, there is $500,000 up for grabs in total for all eight finalists. Of this, the Premiership winners earn the most at $200,000, while $50,000 is given to the minor Premiers and the rest is spread among the other finalists. Of course, $200,000 is a tidy sum in isolation, but when you consider that both the Eels and the Sharks were over $5 million in arrears in 2020 alone, it’s not exactly fortune changing for NRL clubs.
It’s worth noting, however, that this number hasn’t always been as low as it is now, nor do those clubs lose such a significant amount of money in a regular year. Costs were cut wherever possible in 2020, and the prize money for finalists and NRL Grand Final winners was just one of those areas. In fact, that prize money was shaved in half last year, down from a total of $1 million in 2019, a year in which Premiership winning Sydney Roosters took home $400,000 in NRL Grand Final prize money.
But the prize money is not the only benefit teams get for winning the Premiership. In reality, teams competing for and winning Premiership is a natural way to increase revenue. Invariably fans come out of the woodwork when their team is in the mix at the pointy end of the season, and the subsequent increase in membership and merchandise sales can have a significant impact on the financial position of NRL teams. Most likely this effect is substantially greater than that of the prize money, which acts predominantly as a bonus.
How much are the NRL Grand Final rings worth?
Every player on the winning Grand Final team is also awarded a ring, and these hold plenty of value themselves. Up until 2014, Zed N Zed jewellery were the producers of the rings, and they valued them at around $8,000. From 2015 onwards Affinity Diamonds have taken up production and they are now believed to be worth even more, with the jewellers valuing them at around $10,000.
Of course, the sentimental value they hold is significantly more than that figure, and you are far more likely to find them hidden away in a trophy cabinet at a player’s house than being pawned at a Cash Converters. Rather than a financial reward, they are a tangible recognition of the incredible accomplishment that winning an NRL Grand Final is.
Winning an NRL Grand Final, at least for players, doesn’t have a lot to do with money. While many would have clauses built into their contracts that see them compensated for playing in a Premiership, the tears which you regularly see spilt at the final whistle are more a result of a lifelong dream being achieved than any tangible rewards they might receive. It is, however, an added bonus, and though it was cut in half in 2020, $200,000 is still a sum most clubs would be more than happy to receive.