The governing body of rugby in New Zealand has announced financial losses in the region of NZ$1.9 million for the year of 2018. The announcement was made at an AGM meeting in Wellington by NZ Rugby chairman Brent Impey.
However, despite the reported losses; it has also been announced that the governing body are still 44 per cent above the registered budget. This is mainly because of the $68 million that has been made from licensing income and commercial sponsorships.
Impey stressed that hard and challenging times were ahead for the sport after last years benchmark year for investment. The year of 2017 saw more than NZ$191 million in investments- mainly generated from the profits from the 2017 Lions Series.
“Although we are pleased with our latest financial result these are still challenging times for rugby as we look further ahead,” Impey told NZ Rugby. “The pressure to retain our talent and support the growth in our community game puts pressure on our long-term financial projections.”
Impey went on to praise the commercial team’s effort for the growth made, while also congratulating the organisation for retaining 87% of the contracting players. He has little doubt what will drive the New Zealand rugby scene to the next level in 2020- broadcasting of the sport.
“Agility and pace are now mantras for us as leaders of the game. NZR can and must show leadership, but we need our stakeholders as partners. None of us has all the answers,” he said.
“In this world, new cultures of co-operation, sharing of information, being open to new structures, and being prepared to question the status quo must be our new norm.”
Last year also signalled a landmark year for women’s rugby. This is due to the Black Ferns players being able to sign their first professional contracts and the announcement that the country will be hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2021.
Steve Tew, the chief executive of NZ Rugby, was thrilled with the progression in women’s rugby. However, he was alerted to the decreased participants in schoolboy rugby.
“It was pleasing to see an increased number of New Zealanders signing up to play the game in 2018. A substantial increase in female registrations again led this,” he said. “This year we ran Quick Rip competitions across the country involving 84 secondary schools, encouraging younger kids to participate in an easy-form of the game.
“The NZR-led Secondary School Review shed light on the falling numbers of secondary school boys registering to play our sport, and now we have clarity over the steps we need to take to address this. It will be a major focus in 2019.”