The NRL is currently discussing with club CEOs about potentially allowing club sponsors employ team members for services and pay these players outside of the salary cap. Each club will only be allowed two players under this scheme.
Allowing sponsors to be involved in negotiations to gain or retain players can be advantageous to those clubs who have a solid sponsorship base and/or an ability to attract new sponsors to their team. While in theory all clubs have the ability to attract new sponsors, this policy will no doubt advantage some clubs more than others:
One Team Towns in Rugby League Heartland: Newcastle, Brisbane, North Queensland, New Zealand and Canberra. They have a larger geographical base to gain sponsors from, the team can monopolize a market and not have to worry about competition from other teams.
Traditional Teams Currently With Star Players: St George, Parramatta, Canterbury, Penrith, Cronula, The Roosters. Their jerseys are more famous than any player who has worn them. They seem a tasty prospect for a sponsor who can rely on a star such as Trent Barrett to appeal to the youth market while older fans respect the traditions of the Red V.
Traditional Teams Without Star Players: Manly, Souths, Wests. These teams may have tradition by the bucketload, but lack that one or two star players that inspire the public. Sponsors will seek players that impact more than just the diehard fans of that club and unfortunately, without such players, these clubs will struggle to compete with their more powerful neighbours. These teams are compromised as they will not attract decent players without sponsor�s funds, but cannot attract these fund without a stable of star players.
Pioneer Teams: Melbourne Once again Melbourne can argue they are disadvantaged by their location. Sponsors will shy away from players who cannot even get recognized in their own city.