Big All Blacks Pay Rise Boosts Hopes of Retaining Stars

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 15: Richie McCaw of the New Zealand All Blacks performs the haka prior to The Rugby Championship, Bledisloe Cup match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Wallabies at Eden Park on August 15, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Steve Hansen’s Christmas wish-list to retain his All Blacks stars might come to fruition after the announcement of a €48 million pay increase for New Zealand players over the next three years.

A rise in the player payment pool from $121m (NZD) to $191m from 2016 to 2018 was announced by New Zealand Rugby after successful negotiations with the Players’ Association were completed. The increase in the pool stemmed from a 100% revenue gain from international broadcasting sales in 2016 and sponsorship revenue as well as the huge potential earnings from the June 2017 British and Irish Lions tour.

New Zealand rugby players’ unique revenue-sharing model has been retained, with players maintaining their slice of 36.56 per cent, but $15m of the total will be saved for  future years when revenue generation may not be as easy.

Notable points of the agreement are:

  • $24.8m allocated to add contract sweeteners to retain All Blacks – up from $15.9m in the previous agreement.
  • Each Super Rugby side will see their salary cap budgets  rise from $650,000 per year to $4.65m per team.
  • A mandatory player welfare educational induction programme in which players must complete several modules such as respect and inclusiveness, player conduct, mental health and wellness, anti-doping, wagering and corruption and concussion management
  • Another initiative introduced to aid player health and well-being is a new illicit drug education and awareness programme.
  • Long-serving provincial players will have their loyalty rewarded with a one-off $35,000 cheque for players who have played five years or more and choose to play provincial ITM rugby and a rise in the minimum and maximum Super 18 retainer wages.
  • A new retirement saving scheme in which players can contribute to throughout their careers and which also gives ‘windfalls’ at age 34 and 40 received $9-10 million.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew lauded the agreement as a further demonstration of NZR’s holistic approach to player careers which goes far beyond writing out cheques.

“We’re delighted to have concluded this important piece of work. We believe that our partnership with players continues to be a critical factor in the success of New Zealand Rugby at all levels of the game. And we recognise that that close relationship is part of our competitive advantage.

“In a highly competitive global market, we can’t compete purely on money. For us, the difference has to be in the environment we offer and the strength of our support for players to have the lifestyle they want. This new deal further enhances that while the overall increased and expanded investment across a number of areas, means that our packages are increasingly competitive.”

Players’ Association leader Rob Nichol was also satisfied with the agreement, and in particular the new initiatives to safeguard player welfare and the retirement savings scheme..

“This agreement provides an on-going level of certainty around the competitions and the overall contracting model, while also resulting in significant additional investment in player education, retention and welfare, and a fantastic new initiative in the incentivised player savings scheme.

“As with previous collectives the players are proud of the results the process and final agreement has produced for rugby in New Zealand but we know we still have on-going challenges and opportunities to address to ensure rugby’s long term growth and success.

“We operate in a global sporting and entertainment market place that continues to evolve. The players believe we can never take anything for granted and that we must continue to work hard, create the best environment possible and strive for success.”


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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. View all posts by The PA Team