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Rugby Australia announce near eight-figure deficit

By AAP
Glen Vaihu and the Rebels players run onto the field for the round four Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and Queensland Reds at AAMI Park, on March 15, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia has announced a $9.2 million deficit for the 2023 financial year amid forecasts of more challenging times to come before the governing body hits the jackpot with a British and Irish Lions series and two home World Cups in three years.

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The considerable loss was partly due to $11.5 million being invested during a World Cup year, including an unapproved $2.6 million overspend on Eddie Jones’s disastrous campaign in France.

The results were revealed following RA’s annual general meeting in Sydney on Monday.

The year also included a $4.9 million reduction in revenue, largely due to lower match-day income as a result of only being able to host two Wallabies Tests in the World Cup year, compared with six in 2022.

Video Spacer

Nemani Nadolo on his peak and once being considered “too big”

Former Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo chats to Liam Heagney about when he reached his peak and how he was actually at one stage considered too big to play rugby.

Video Spacer

Nemani Nadolo on his peak and once being considered “too big”

Former Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo chats to Liam Heagney about when he reached his peak and how he was actually at one stage considered too big to play rugby.

RA said additional high-performance investment in the Wallabies, Wallaroos and Australia A programs, increased spending in Super W, and higher player payments reflecting 2023 being the first year of a new collective bargaining agreement, contributed to the deficit.

The governing body reported an uplift in participation across clubs and schools, with significant increases in young people taking up the game.

There has also been a 16 per cent rise in female participation as professional opportunities in the women’s game continue to grow.

In the third year of RA’s broadcast partnership with Stan Sport and Nine, free-to-air viewership for Saturday night Super Rugby games was up 15 per cent on 2022’s average, while club rugby viewing figures also increased, RA said.

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The Wallaroos were the growth standout of RA’s digital channels, with an increase in video views of more than 500 per cent, while the sevens teams also proved popular.

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RA boss Phil Waugh said while he expected 2024 to also be difficult, the future looked positive – anchored by ticket sales for next year’s British and Irish Lions tour.

“From a revenue perspective, 2024 will be another challenging year given we have had to take on the unplanned cost of the Melbourne Rebels,” Waugh said.

“We have set a clear path forward … to ensure a thriving future for Australian rugby.”

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Waugh was unable to give a timeline for a decision on the future of the cash-strapped Rebels as anxiety grows at the club, refusing to guarantee a call would be made before the end of the season.

“Ideally it will be,” he said.

“I acknowledge it is a frustrating time and we do want to accelerate the decision. There’s a lot of inputs that go into that.

“One of the ones that I did talk about was the administration process, and creditors are meeting this Friday, as well as other inputs including broadcast implications.

“We haven’t finalised all those inputs yet, however, we understand the urgency and the time pressure given staff finish at the end of end of June and players need certainty, as do staff, for 2025 and beyond.

“I don’t want to anchor ourselves to a date except for the fact that we need to acknowledge that the sooner the better.”

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Comments

3 Comments
W
Willie 76 days ago

Send the bill to McLennan.

J
Jacinda 76 days ago

I hope they didn’t pay Jones fee?

J
JD Kiwi 76 days ago

Great to see more community spending leading to higher participation in the community. It's a long road but that's a good first step.

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