New Zealand Rugby has announced a $18.7-million operating loss and total loss of $34.6m for the year of 2020.
On Thursday, the 26 provincial unions and New Zealand Māori Rugby Board (NZMRB) voted unanimously in favour of the Silver Lake proposal at the governing body’s 129th annual general meeting where NZR posted an operating loss of $18.7m.
A further $16m writedown of Sky Television shares created a total loss for the year of $34.6m.
However, it was still just $5m below the pre-Covid-19 budgeted loss.
NZR chief executive officer Mark Robinson said the 2020 balance sheet was a reflection of rugby’s adaptability and resilience.
‘A year ago we were facing a collapse of more than 60% of our revenue and had to make some hard decisions in a short amount of time in order to keep costs down, while getting our players on the field and keeping our stakeholders engaged.
‘From the Heartland unions’ decision to cancel their representative season, to the extra hours our staff and players have put in, the past year has been difficult, and we acknowledge the hardships felt by our people at all levels across the game.’
Notable on-field innovations to create revenue and content for fans included:
- The creation of Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa
- The revival of the Steinlager North vs South match
- A Possible vs Probables Black Ferns trial
- A two-match series between the Black Ferns and New Zealand Barbarians
- An historic match between the Māori All Blacks and Moana Pasifika in Hamilton.
‘We could not have done this without the support of our fans, who turned out in force, the New Zealand Government, Sport New Zealand, our broadcast partner Sky TV, ACC and loyal sponsors like adidas and AIG, as well as the media,’ Robinson said.
While rugby was not immune to falling player numbers, with Covid-19 severely limiting the ability to run school-age tournaments, it allowed NZR time to reprioritise the community game, he said.
‘Private equity would provide the impetus for us to water the grassroots and resource the areas most in need at our clubs and provincial unions. It’s an exciting time to be involved.’