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NZ Rugby pleased with reduced loss

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/04/2017

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New Zealand Rugby bosses say the decision to invest heavily with pre-Lions tour money was the right one.

The national body's books were opened on Thursday, revealing a post-tax net loss of $7.47 million for the 2016 financial year.

Chief executive Steve Tew was delighted that figure was less than the $9 million loss they had budgeted.

Speaking at NZ Rugby's 125th annual meeting, Tew said record investment last year was possible because of a healthy balance sheet and took into account the commercial bonanza they are set to receive from this year's Lions tour.

A strategy of spending money evenly for five years through to the next broadcasting deal in 2020 meant they could splurge, to a degree, in 2016.

Expenditure of $169.2 million featured increased funding to provincial unions, Super Rugby teams, the women's game and to the pool of money to retain professional rugby players.

Revenue ($161.7 million) was also at a record level, mainly through boosted broadcasting rights income of more than $73 million.

NZ Rugby chairman Brent Impey says the forecast sizeable profit for this year will be followed by losses over the three subsequent years.

"Our intention is to reach break-even over that period but it is clear that will be a big challenge," Impey said.

"To sustain that, we need supporters in the stand and backing up financially."

Chief executive Steve Tew was delighted that figure was less than the $9 million loss they had budgeted. © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Chief executive Steve Tew was delighted that figure was less than the $9 million loss they had budgeted. Tew said keeping New Zealand's best players from leaving for the riches of Europe will be an ongoing problem and will continue to eat away at the bottom line.

However, watering the grass roots was also vital, and paid off with a boost in playing numbers in 2016, most notably at junior level.

"The decision to invest so heavily in our game was not taken lightly," Tew said.

"It's worth noting that rugby is an increasingly hungry beast and we'll have to remain vigilant in terms of cost management and revenue generation."

Elsewhere, former Auckland coach Maurice Trapp was elected president, replacing long-serving administrator David Rhodes, who retired following a two-year term.

Former All Black Bill Osborne was elected vice-president.

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