The North Sydney Bears say two private investors are ready to tip in money should they be given the go-ahead to take over Gold Coast.
And they say they can put the club, which has lurched from scandal to scandal during the past several NRL seasons, on a solid financial footing.
The Bears, led by chief executive Greg Florimo, are exploring whether the club could buy out the NRL’s licence on the Gold Coast, which would see the franchise renamed and some matches taken to the Central Coast.
For the past several years, the foundation club has been pushing for a reintroduction into the NRL, but with expansion seemingly off the table, the Bears are exploring other avenues.
Florimo accepts a takeover of the Titans licence could be the club’s final chance of a rebirth and they are in preliminary planning.
The heritage club has not had a presence in the NRL since the Northern Eagles – its merger with Manly – folded in 2002.
Florimo has been working behind the scenes to return the club to top-flight rugby league.
In 2015, NRL clubs lost a combined $42.7 million, with the Titans recording a $3.3 million loss.
“We can provide a sustainable club that’s going to be here in 20, 50, 100 years’ time,” Florimo said.
“We’ve got a couple of private investors, one who’s had a history in the game. And they’re ready to go – they’re very keen to see this come to fruition.”
Under Florimo’s proposal, about two matches would be taken to the NSW Central Coast each year, while other clubs would still be encouraged to move some home games there.
The Bears have a number of leagues clubs set up on the Australian east coast, including the Tweed Heads Seagulls Leagues Club, which has an affiliation with the Titans.
Florimo is yet to meet the Titans board, but in a letter to Bears members and fans on Tuesday he outlined how the club’s financial position, history and loyal fan base could help the rugby league infrastructure on the Gold Coast.
He said the Bears retained a solid fanbase, including around southeast Queensland, and was confident that could translate into increased attendances on the Gold Coast.
“We want to pack Robina Stadium and all our games as well and want to have a successful footy club,” Florimo said.
“But more importantly you have to engage and connect with the Gold Coast community.”