Queensland Rugby Union will report a profit at its Annual General Meeting next month despite a $1 million loss in 2019 and ageing headquarters.
While the $32,000 net profit is a modest return, it comes with more than 95 per cent of its operating profit spent on the depreciation of its Ballymore home.
Last year, the organisation reported a $1.09 million loss after the failure of collapsed property group Majella to honour a seven-figure sponsorship and $366,000 in ‘onerous’ contract payments to Quade Cooper, James Slipper and Karmichael Hunt.
However, in 2020, the state body is heading in the right direction, with the Federal Government pledging $15 million towards the development of the National Rugby Training Centre (NRTC) at Ballymore, which is set to provide some much needed financial reprieve.
The NRTC will become the national headquarters for women’s rugby, as well as the base for the Reds and a winter training facility for the Wallabies.
QRU chief executive, David Hanham, said Ballymore would be a ‘world-class precinct’ and a destination the rugby community could be proud of.
“We’ll begin this work by delivering the NRTC, which will have training space for more than 80 elite rugby players as well as our academy, game development and community staff and other programs,” Hanham said.
The continued support of naming rights sponsor St George Bank and the addition of a significant four-year deal with Santos has also bolstered the Reds finances and helped push them back into the black.
But Hanham said there had been a focus over the past 12 months on building a strong connection with people across the state.
Along with the Reds re-signing many members of a squad that is largely homegrown and the continued development of women’s and junior rugby, Queensland continues to be a heartland of the game.
“One example of this has been the success of our Reds to Regions tour late last year, which saw our coaching staff and players rolling-up their sleeves in our rural heartlands, and was one example of our determination to reconnect with our communities and local rugby clubs and schools,” Hanham said.
“The financial result we’ll report at the AGM is further confirmation that this organisation is heading in the right direction.
“It’s also pleasing to have the strength of our corporate partners behind our vision.
“Our naming rights partner St.George Bank has been with us for over a decade and Santos joined us as a commercial partner on a four-year deal last November.”
The QRU continues to be in discussion with the Queensland State Government on a matching $15 million contribution to the $35 million project, which will form the centrepiece of the rejuvenation of Ballymore.