2 Mar 2021

Latest Covid-19 limits cost Netball NZ $500k in lost revenue

From Checkpoint, 6:08 pm on 2 March 2021

Netball NZ chief executive Jennie Wylie says the organisation has lost "just shy of" $500,000 in revenue due to the latest Covid-19 alert level restrictions.

The Silver Ferns are hitting the court against their arch rivals the Australian Diamonds on Tuesday night - but because of Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no crowds. That means there'll also be no money from the ticket take.

Wylie told Checkpoint they have had to put down venue and accommodations deposits as well. 

"It's quite significant when you put all those things together, it's just shy of half a million bucks. That's material for us as a leading female sport in this country. We were aware that this could've been a possibility when we went into this series but it's certainly going to hurt the bottom line."

She said they were fortunate to have put some cash in reserve last year to help them cushion this blow.

"For this Test series we are [in the red] ... But Netball New Zealand only sits on about three or four months of operating revenue in reserve.

"We will need to dip in reserves to be able to fund this."

To cover MIQ costs for England Roses last year, it was $7000 per person and "that was only part of the cost and the government wore some parts of that."

"That has been a changing number as we go into Australia, but not too dissimilar, so we are sharing the cost with Australia this time around 50-50 and we have condensed the series in order to be able to minimise their time away from Australia as well.

"But these added level restrictions really do play a part in increasing those costs."

Wylie said they have had some government support and it had been made clear to them that they needed to have contingency plans in place for situations like this.

"We've been planning for this ourselves. Last year, we actually cut into the muscle of our business, we didn't run so many of our domestic events, that was both because of Covid but because we needed to put stuff aside.

"We went into this with our eyes open but unfortunately one of the worst case scenarios has slightly played out."

She said she had heard of some saying they want to donate their ticket costs to ensure events go ahead.

She said not to have a crowd on the first Test match against the Australians since 2019 was a "surreal" experience.

"Nothing beats a Kiwi crowd, I think it's an important factor for the players. But I think in many ways our ANZ players have gotten used to not having crowds.

"They're able to get themselves up, but it will change the dynamic for them no doubt."

If alert levels change by the weekend, they would love to get crowds back in the stadium, she said.