23 Jul 2012

North-South rugby fundraiser financial flop

4:33 pm on 23 July 2012

Dunedin City Council has confirmed a North-South fundraising rugby match made one tenth of the amount originally expected.

The match at the Dunedin stadium a month ago was part of a package to help save the Otago Rugby Football Union from liquidation.

In March, the council and its events management company Dunedin Venues Management Ltd agreed to write off rugby union debt of $480,000, expecting the North-South match would repay at least $200,000.

It was the first North-South fixture since 1995 but was scheduled in the middle of university exams, the day after an All Black test and with few well-known players.

In the end, it drew a crowd of only 7427 and the final income was just $21,412.

Dunedin Venues chief executive David Davies says the city council will get 80% of the profit, and his company the rest.

A Dunedin ratepayers group described the match as a dog and a lemon.

Dunedin Ratepayers and Householders Association chairperson Lyndon Weggery says the city was too optimistic about how much it would make, and leaves ratepayers picking up the difference.