Coronavirus: Sport NZ provides $4.6 million in financial relief to professional clubs

Wellington Phenix will receive $950,000 from Sport NZ.
Wellington Phenix will receive $950,000 from Sport NZ. Photo credit: Getty

Sport NZ is set to provide New Zealand's professional sports teams a combined sum of $4.6 million to help ease the financial impact of COVID-19. 

The NZ Warriors will receive $200,000, while the Wellington Phoenix will receive $950,000. New Zealand's five Super Rugby franchises will split $1.25m, with$2.2m going to the ANZ Netball Premiership teams.

Sport NZ has also engaged with other teams and sports, including the New Zealand Breakers and Auckland Tuatara, but as these teams are currently out of season they have not yet been impacted as significantly as those in season when the COVID-19 crisis hit. 

Sport NZ says it will continue to work with these sports and teams to determine what support they may require moving forward. 

The money is the first investment from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced as part of Budget 2020, with the funding to be made available from July 1. 

"This investment acknowledges the critical role these professional franchises play in entertaining New Zealanders and uniting communities, as well as inspiring young people and providing important end-to-end pathways for talented sportspeople," says Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin. 

"Professional sport franchises do not typically receive government investment, but in the Sport Recovery Package we have an opportunity to provide relief to other organisations who are also critical to our system.

"We know they have exhausted their financial options and that they make such a valuable contribution to our sector and national and regional economies."

The Warriors are receiving $200,000.
The Warriors are receiving $200,000. Photo credit: Photosport

Sport NZ says approximately $78m will be focused primarily on community, regional and national level bodies, while $15m has already been providing immediate relief to grassroots sport. 

The Warriors are New Zealand's only professional sports team to have returned to playing. They are currently based in Australia so they can take part in the revamped NRL competition.

"The Warriors are very appreciative and grateful to the government and Sport NZ for this financial assistance," said Warriors CEO Cameron George. 

"Like all businesses, in sport or otherwise, it’s been a torrid time and this assistance will help us continue through 2020."

New Zealand's Super Rugby clubs are back on the field on June 13, taking part in the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. 

"Our Super Rugby clubs, along with all areas of rugby and different sectors of New Zealand, have been facing incredible financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic," says NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson. 

"This generous government package will help them kick off and compete in Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa with real momentum."

The ANZ Premiership will resume on June 19 after the competition was suspended after just one round. 

"Netball New Zealand is incredibly appreciative of the government’s financial support of the ANZ Premiership Netball League and teams in 2020," says Netball NZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie. 

"Like all businesses, COVID-19 has had a serious impact on netball in New Zealand, both at community and elite level. Having government support at this time means we can together get another part of the economic sector up and running quickly."

The Phoenix will likely have to travel to Australia to resume their A-League campaign next month.

"Without this support professional football, which is a critical part of football in New Zealand, could be lost indefinitely," said Phoenix general manager David Dome. 

"We hope this, like the return of club football, will provide a positive boost for players and fans around the country. 

"We would also like to acknowledge the initial financial relief provided by Sport NZ to football’s regional bodies and clubs. They too are a critical part of our game."

Coronavirus: Sport NZ provides $4.6 million in financial relief to professional clubs