Ministry of Sport

Rugby Australia Facing $120 Million Revenue Loss

Rugby Australia (RA) has announced it could lose up to $120 million in revenue if professional competitions did not resume this year due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global pandemic.

This estimate is based on projections if Super Rugby and the Wallabies’ domestic Test matches are cancelled in 2020.

RA chief executive, Raelene Castle, announced the revenue loss projection after announcing RA were standing down 75 percent of its staff and Castle was taking a 50 percent pay cut.

“Our extensive modelling shows that as a code, we could lose up to $120 million in revenue should it not be possible for any rugby to be played in 2020,” Castle said.

“Of course, that is the worst-case scenario, and we are very hopeful that we can recommence the Super Rugby season and domestic Wallabies’ Test matches at some point this year,” she said.

Along with the projection, RA also announced it will stand down three quarters of its workforce from April through to at least June 30, with remaining staff being given significant salary reductions and/or reduced hours.

“The measures we will implement from April 1, although extremely painful, are necessary to ensure the sport remains financially viable and to ensure that we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis fully-operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild,” Castle said.

“It is our priority to keep all of our valued team connected and engaged through this period,” she said.

This hiatus with the Super Rugby competition and the Wallabies’ domestic Test matches has meant Rugby Australia has decided to suspend its plan to implement a five-team domestic competition, aimed at developing rugby in Australia.

This plan was aimed at tackling RA’s reported $9.4 million provisional operating deficit in 2019 and the lack of interest in the Super Rugby competition in recent years.

The estimated revenue loss of $120 million if professional rugby was to be cancelled in 2020 would undoubtedly add a further blow to the already challenged Rugby Australia.

Some analysts have since predicted RA will require large government assistance to make it through the challenging times caused by the Coronavirus.

Joshua Hodson

Joshua Hodson