NZ Rugby announces multi-million dollar loss for 2019, project worse for 2020

Despite a NZ$7.4million financial loss in 2019, NZ Rugby has warned that worse is yet to come, once the full financial effects of COVID-19 are revealed. 

Chief executive Mark Robinson predicts revenue may fall as much as 70 percent short of forecasts, with a genuine possibility the All Blacks may not play on home soil this year. 

Speaking at the NZR annual meeting, via video conference, Robinson has revealed the organisation achieved a slightly better financial result in 2019 than expected. 

The national body budgeted for a loss of more than $11.8 million last year, but finished $4.4m better off, thanks to increased broadcasting and merchandise revenue.

Robinson says NZR is braced for a substantial financial hit, with Wales and Scotland almost certainly not touring in June, and Super Rugby currently suspended. 

"We are working within Government and Ministry of Health guidelines to make sure we can get rugby back on the field as soon as possible," he says.

"But in the meantime, we’ve had to cancel most of our budgeted activity across all levels of the organisation this year.

"This is an opportunity for us to focus on what our priorities are, for rugby to get through this challenging time together."

Robinson also notes 2020 was the end of NZ Rugby's four-year strategic plan and the coronavirus pandemic has completely stalled planning past the current season. 

"The post-2020 strategy exercise has been paused, as the business turns its focus to the immediate response to the pandemic. 

"But I wanted to reassure you that rugby’s longer-term strategic objectives have not been lost and are guiding our decisions that have medium-to-long-term implications.

"The pace of the execution we are after may be impacted by the level of this immediate change, but it’s important to us that everyone remains focused on inspiring and unifying through rugby.

"We will continue to work closely with all of you throughout the rest of 2020 to ensure we get through this crisis together, and into recovery and growth mode stronger than ever, and as soon as possible."

  • NZR gave themselves a score 73.5 out of 100 for 2019 - 20 points lost for the All Blacks not reaching the RWC final or winning the tournament, and points lost due to not meeting fan-engagement targets around crowd attendance and watching highlights of Super Rugby
  • Forecasting a 70 percent decline in revenue in 2020, due to COVID-19 (revenue was $187 million in 2019)
  • Jennifer Kerr, Bart Campbell and Bailey Mackey join the NZR board - Kerr becomes second female board member, joining Dr Farah Palmer
  • All Blacks legend Ian Kirkpatrick named patron