Sports marketing experts warn the NRL faces a financial fallout for years to come as a result of rugby league's scandal-plagued off-season.
The code has stumbled from one ugly headline to the next over the summer and some are tipping that it will result in a backlash from sponsors and exodus of money from the game.
The NRL will, as expected, announce a profit when it unveils its financial results at its annual general meeting later this month.
But Ben Parsons, founder of the Ministry of Sport, said recent controversies would be leading companies to question their investment in clubs and the game in the months to come.
"You've got to remember the way planning cycles happen for clients," Parsons said.
"They don't wake up and go 'I want to sponsor a team', it doesn't happen like that.
"It's at best a quarter away, at best, normally a year. All your missed opportunity, you see the problem in six-to-12 months.
"If you look at the Westpac group, their plans are four years out, they've got plans for 2022 already," he said.
Cronulla have already lost three major sponsors in Opal Solar, Bang and Olufsen, and Martec while the Andrew Fifita and Josh Dugan podcast scandal forced a prospective backer to pull out of a five-year deal worth $6 million.
Parsons accused the NRL of not pressing home to players their responsibilities as brand ambassadors.
"No-one's actually showing (the players) what good brand is, the NRL are hopeless," Parsons said.
"I put them in my top five worst administrators for brand and reputation management for individual athletes."
He said basketball's NBA exemplified a winning approach.
"And the reason is because they understand ... LeBron (James) doesn't go just because you play well on the field (that behaviour doesn't matter). They've got a very holistic attitude on what the player signs into."
PR and marketing guru Max Markson said it was difficult to put a figure on how much the off-season, described as a "train wreck" by NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg, had cost the game.
However he said it would undoubtedly cost clubs, regardless of whether their players had been involved in offences or whether they were cleanskins.
"It would affect every club in the NRL," Markson said.
"It's on-going. It's like Chinese water torture - drip, drip, drip, drip. It continues to erode the brand of the NRL. From a long-term perspective of a company, they'll think 'Do I want to get involved in the NRL? No, I'd rather get behind a sport that's clean'."