The Australian Rugby Union has recorded its worst financial loss in over a decade, recording a deficit of €6.57 million last year.
ARU Chief Executive Bill Pulver described the loss “as the last of an extremely difficult number of years” and attributed the lack of visiting teams and the financial survival of the Melbourne Rebels as primary contributors to the loss.
“It’s not something we’re proud of, but it is something we forecast,” said chief executive Bill Pulver via Sky Sports.
“There were no surprises in the number, but it’s not a good number. We knew that 2015 was going to be the last of a series of extremely difficult financial years. We knew that when we started working with the Rebels around their situation that would exacerbate the problem.”
The Rebels have been in financial problems for several years now and were handed back to the ARU in 2013 after original owner Harold Mitchell lost somewhere between €10-13 million under a private ownership structure.
The ARU injected just under €3.5 million into to the Melbourne Rebels to try and keep their youngest Super Rugby team afloat. It is now hoped that the ARU will no longer be burdened by this expense after the Melbourne based club were bought by investment group the Imperium Group in June 2015.
Sky Sports reported that the ARU were given €12.5 million by World Rugby as compensation for only having two home tests last year, with that payment still not significant enough to stem the losses.
Pulver also said that he was confident that a new broadcast deal for 2016-2020 would provide the Union with an extra €114 million over the next five years, a number that falls far greater than the NRL and AFL’s deals in Australia which are worth between $1.8 and $2.5 billion deals respectively.