The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has announced a healthy profit, boosted substantially by the controversial deal to put advertising on the All Blacks’ playing jersey.
The union announced a profit for 2012 of $NZ3.2 million ($A2.6 million) on Tuesday, up considerably from the $NZ3.1 million ($A2.5 million) loss of the year before.
After three years of reporting losses, NZRU chief executive Steve Tew was delighted to exceed the break-even result they had initially budgeted.
“This is an extremely satisfying result and underlines our success in driving greater commercial revenue and containing our costs,” Tew said in a statement.
A new relationship with United States insurance company AIG played a major part in the improvement.
The decision to advertise on the chest of the All Blacks’ playing jersey upset traditionalists but was defended by the NZRU as a necessity if the game was to continue flourishing at all levels.
“Our improved position gives New Zealand rugby a sound base to make decisions on future investment in the game.”
Tew said the NZRU would not need to dip into its reserves to the same degree that has been required in recent years.
The reliance on its reserves would be reviewed once negotiations for a new players’ collective employment agreement were completed.
Tew praised the provincial unions for tightening their belts.
Nine of the 14 NPC unions recorded a surplus last year. The combined surplus of $NZ626,000 ($A504,000) improved on a $NZ631,000 ($A508,000) deficit in 2011.
“There has been a clear focus by the unions on living within their means,” Tew said.
“We are not out of the woods by any means and it remains a very challenging environment for any union to grow revenue from sponsorships and crowds.”
Tew said the NZRU’s strong financial base might result in a change to how the unions were funded but it would continue to invest “wisely”.
Meanwhile, the NZRU announced a set of six goals to achieve over the next four years.
The two most tangible are for the All Blacks to defend their Rugby World Cup crown in 2015 and for the New Zealand men’s and women’s sevens teams to win gold medals at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.