A former co-owner and former chair of the Gold Coast Titans are the new owners of the NRL club.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg announced this morning the licence had gone to a consortium including Darryl Kelly and Rebecca Frizelle.
Brisbane-based fund manager Stuart McAuliffe had also submitted a bid for the Titans franchise.
Other prospective owners — including the North Sydney Bears — had expressed interest.
The NRL took the Titans over in 2015 to save it from collapse and put it up for sale in late August this year.
Greenberg said the Gold Coast could not have been given a better Christmas gift.
"We are very pleased and I think the Gold Coast should be smiling today," he said.
"The thing that mattered most to us was the long-term outcome for the club and its connection with the community and the people that sit with me today have delivered that.
"The business plans of this club will be run by the people who now own it … they know their business better than we know the business here on the Gold Coast.
"We were very conscious of making a decision that allowed this community to engage with the Gold Coast for the long term.
"We are not the long-term owner of clubs and I am really pleased that we are leading into Christmas and we have made some transactions with the Newcastle Knights and the Gold Coast Titans.
"Clubs now have the best opportunity to stand on their own two feet across the competition and run sustainable successful business models and I expect that to be the case.
"The game does not have the funds to bail out clubs in the future – clubs need to stand on their own two feet and they have been given the best opportunity in the history of sport to do that."
The move marks a new beginning for the Titans after another year of turmoil, with the departures of coach Neil Henry and star player Jarryd Hayne.
A deterioration in the pair's relationship led to the club sacking Henry in August, as poor on-field performances saw the club finish the season second last on the ladder.
Then in the off-season, speculation about Hayne's future mounted, before the Titans granted him a release from his contract to sign with his old club, the Parramatta Eels.
Co-owner sets goal of breakeven within three years
New co-owner Kelly said he wanted to see the Titans be a success.
"Rugby league is my sport …. the sport I grew up with," he said.
Kelly said the consortium put a comprehensive, five-year financial plan to the NRL.
"Our submission ran to thousands of pages and was very detailed and we are very confident that we will have a sustainable club in the near future — most probably breaking even in three years' time," he said.
The new executive chair of the Titans will be former Broncos chair, Dennis Watt.
Watt said he was sorry to leave the Broncos.
"The Broncos have been my heartland club — there'll always be a soft spot in my heart for the Broncos … they are great people … but the human heart has four chambers and I have more than enough room to place the Titans," Watt said.
"The executive chairman position allows me to work side by side with Graham [Titans chief executive Graham Annesley].
"We'll cover more territory, we'll lift the intensity and we'll drive more results and we will certainly connect and re-connect with all those people in the community who invest their money or hopes in us.
"I think the potential is enormous. It is a rugby league heartland. You straddle two states. Northern New South Wales has a strong rugby league heritage."
The Titans' first game of the 2018 season is against the Raiders in Canberra on March 11.
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