“Our business, like so many others, has been hit by a hurricane called COVID, which caused substantial damage. Our strategy moving forward is to stabilise, renovate and grow,” Abdo said.
“In order to stabilise, we must secure revenues and reduce our expenses to ensure a strong foundation. Then we will renovate by considering ways to make our products more entertaining and dynamic for our fans. Finally, we will develop bold plans for growth, looking at new products, new markets and how we can grow the game internationally,” he said.
“Our game is part of the sports entertainment industry and we are aiming to transform faster than others to remain competitive in a dynamic market. We will lose some very good people during this process. Talented people with a genuine love and passion for our game who have all contributed in some way. This is a painful but necessary process to ensure we survive. I have genuine empathy for all employees affected and we will listen to their feedback. Our game must remain strong for future generations. We all want to leave the game in a stronger position than [when] we first joined the sport.”
The business was previously split into 10 divisions, but the NRL has decided to streamline its executive team with seven appointments made on Monday.
Head of football Graham Annesley will lead the competitions division, while Jaymes Boland-Rudder, who has been instrumental in securing government exemptions during the coronavirus outbreak, was announced as head of partnerships.
The other four divisions are fan experience (Alex Alderson), finance, technology and operations (Richard Gardham), risk, integrity and performance (Eleni North), brand, media and communications (Daniel Meers) and participation and community (Luke Ellis).
It comes on the back of the organisation parting ways with chief operating officer Nick Weeks, as well as chief corporate affairs officer Liz Deegan this month. Chief financial officer Tony Crawford and former chief executive Todd Greenberg have also left the business under the new V’landys regime.
It had been widely assumed that the new ARLC chairman would put a broom through the business in his first couple of years, but the impact of COVID-19 fast-tracked plans to reduce costs and create a more efficient work place.
“What has inspired me most during the pandemic is how our game has come together,” Abdo said.