22 Apr 2010

NZRU reports biggest deficit to date

8:27 pm on 22 April 2010

The New Zealand Rugby Union has reported a deficit of $15.9 million for 2009, its largest financial loss to date.

The Rugby Union blames the global recession for damaging virtually all its income streams.

Chief executive Steve Tew says the NZRU remains in a very strong financial position with cash reserves of just under $47 million, but it cannot continue to spend more than it earns.

The Rugby Union budgeted for a profit of $700,000 last year, but income for domestic and overseas matches was $4.2 million less than forecast.

Rising costs from player injuries, foreign exchange movements and falling investment returns were a further $7.5 million.

A further $6.3 million of the loss is attributable to the 2011 Rugby World Cup to be hosted by New Zealand, but Mr Tew says most of that money should be recovered eventually.

He says the loss means the NZRU will be focusing on growing revenue and managing costs this year.

Medical costs

Player medical costs are to be reviewed, but the union admits it does not have too many other options.

Injuries to senior players and All Blacks amounted to $2.7 million last year for medical costs, replacement players and a subsequent rise in insurance premiums.

Injured All Blacks are paid for 12 months.

Mr Tew says private insurance is very costly and complicated.


NZRU revenues will be bolstered by a share of a $150 million increase in revenue from television rights.

Earlier in April, Sky Television, Supersport and Fox Sports reached a deal with the South African New Zealand and Australian Rugby Unions (SANZAR) to extend its broadcast arrangements for a further five years.

SANZAR has now revealed the deal, which includes the Super 15, the All Blacks' Test matches in June and the Tri-Nations series is worth $610 million - $150 million more than the previous agreement.

However, SANZAR and the NZRU have not yet revealed how much of the extra $150 million the Rugby Union will receive.