Rugby: Silver Lake deal numbers 'don't add up,' says former All Blacks captain

Former All Black captain and chairman of the New Zealand Rugby Players Association David Kirk says the numbers "don't add up" in the Silver Lake deal - but New Zealand Rugby are not interested in any alternatives.

The New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) had suggested two alternative funding models to New Zealand Rugby (NZR), instead of the proposed Silver Lake deal which it said carried "a very high level of financial risk".

The Silver Lake deal would give the equity firm a 12.5 per cent stake in a newly created NZR entity called Commercial LP for $387.5m, which would control NZR's commercial interests, including merchandising and ticketing.

"The numbers don't add up to make New Zealand Rugby profitable at least until 2025 and if you want to believe it is profitable after that you have to believe that 100 percent of the growth initiatives that Silver Lake and New Zealand Rugby believe are coming through do come through," Kirk told Checkpoint about the deal that has been signed-off by the 26 provincial unions, but has not been given the green light because the NZRPA have still to agree to terms.

Kirk said the NZRPA agreed with NZR that an influx of new money was needed for the game but he disagreed that funding was a crisis point.

The NZRPA believed the better alternative was selling 5 percent of NZR commercial interests to New Zealanders.

"Get Kiwis to buy shares and if we sold 5 percent that would still leave New Zealand Rugby with 95 percent of its revenue, which means they'd still be profitable even though they had 100 percent of the costs and it would raise $155 million if you sold at the same valuation that Silver Lake are offering and we think that is eminently doable," Kirk said.

A total of $155m was "definitely" enough to keep rugby alive in New Zealand, Kirk said.

When RNZ asked members of the public if they would purchase a slice of the All Blacks for $20 or $50 via a bonus bonds scheme many were keen to do so if it meant keeping the team wholly owned in New Zealand.

However, NZR chairman Brent Impey earlier told Checkpoint that the players association's proposals were "severely scrutinised" by members of the NZR board and Impey said the proposal to sell 5 percent was "fundamentally flawed".

The other option put forward by the NZRPA was NZR taking on a "prudent amount of debt" which was labelled at $60m.

The NZRPA believed "raising debt is much less risky than selling 12.5 percent of revenue forever" and the debt could be paid off by 2027.

RNZ understands that under the NZRPA's debt model, the provincial unions would get around half of the money that they would get in the Silver Lake deal and the amount of money set aside in the proposed Legacy fund would also be halved.