Ministry of Sport

New Zealand Rugby Suffer Financial Losses In 2018 & The Future Doesn’t Look Much Better

New Zealand Rugby, the national governing body for rugby union and the organisation behind the All Blacks, has suffered a loss of NZ$1.9 million for the 2018 financial year, with future budget predictions looking bleak.

After posting income of $257.3 million and a profit of a $33.4 million in 2017, the governing body is predicted to face a NZ$30 million cumulative deficit over the next five years.

A written commentary on the result signed by New Zealand Rugby Chair, Brent Impey and Chief Executive, Steve Tew, noted that while they were “pleased” with the outcome, “these are still challenging times for rugby… our long-term financial projections still show us spending more money than we are earning.”

The statement advised “while the upcoming broadcast deal and advancements in digital technology will provide us with short-term revenue gains, the costs of our game continue to escalate… there are no silver bullets.”

Yet despite these losses, NZR are 44 per cent ahead of budget thanks to a NZ$68 million boost from commercial sponsorships.

A vast majority of this income came via the commercially successful 2017 Lions Series, which then allowed the body to invest NZ$191 million into domestic rugby.

Commenting on the country’s successful bid to host the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup, the pair advised that they could not “overstate how much of a highlight it was to be in Dublin for the announcement”.

New Zealand was chosen to stage the event by World Rugby at its Council meeting in the Irish capital last November, beating only rivals Australia by 25 votes to 17.

Broadcast rights remained the biggest source of income for New Zealand Rugby in 2018, generating $73.3 million, down from $104.6 million the previous year.

Sponsorship and licensing income was not far behind, at $68.1 million, up from $62.5 million, while match-day income fell to $28.1 million, down from $64.6 million.

On the expenditure side, administration accounted for only $13.3 million – or around 7% – of the total of $191.4 million for 2018.

Game development absorbed $31.6 million, while competitions accounted for $88.5 million and so-called “teams in black”  $57.3 million.

The All Blacks will attempt to secure a third consecutive World Cup victory, and a record fourth overall, in Japan later this year.

However, the Rugby World Cup will see fewer Tests staged in New Zealand during the current season which is likely to put further downward pressure on New Zealand Rugby’s income.

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney