Super Rugby Aotearoa saved New Zealand Rugby from financial turmoil, according to KPMG report

Jam-packed crowds have been a feature of Super Rugby Aotearoa
Jam-packed crowds have been a feature of Super Rugby Aotearoa Photo credit: Photosport

Super Rugby Aotearoa has rescued New Zealand's five franchises from financial ruin, according to a report from KPMG. 

The financial consultants prepared a COVID-19 impact analysis report for Sport NZ that concluded on May 16 and figures released on Monday revealed New Zealand Rugby was in a precarious financial state. 

The report shows NZR had projected a NZ$44 million loss for 2020, before the pandemic hit.

But the impact of a three-month nationwide lockdown had seen that loss blow out to $76.3 million.

The report states NZR only provided a three-month report on the impact of COVID-19 to its accounts.

"Some sports did not provide a forecast for six-month disruption, stating that they would not be able to continue in that case," the KPMG report said.

NZR confirmed it had to let go of 25 percent of staff - a number that would have been much higher had Super Rugby not kicked in, once New Zealand moved out of lockdown.

The revamped competition has been a hit with fans, with several games playing out in front of capacity crowds, delivering a desperately needed financial boost to NZR's coffers. 

Sport NZ contracted former NZR chief executive Steve Tew to assist assessing with the payout of $4.6 million to various professional sporting codes, including rugby, which received $1.25 million in financial assistance. 

In its Professional Club Report, Sport NZ said the five Super Rugby franchises had nothing left in their financial reserves. 

"All Super Rugby Clubs have made significant cuts to their cost bases, with none of their private investors in a position to contribute significant injections of capital, especially given the uncertainty of the future of Clubs’ operational licences."

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