Brumbies show Australian rugby struggling for funds
December 20, 2013
The Brumbies barely broke even on their first home final since 2004 © Getty Images
The Brumbies have announced a financial loss for 2013, despite their most successful season since 2004, illustrating the parlous nature of Australia's rugby finances.
The Brumbies reported an operating loss, before depreciation and amortisation, of $141,085 despite hosting and defeating the British & Irish Lions and contesting the Super Rugby grand final having qualified for the play-offs for the first time since 2004. That figure represents an improvement on the $346,198 loss reported for 2012, but Brumbies chairman Sam Hammond told Fairfax Media the franchise had projected a profit.
Hammond also told Fairfax the Brumbies could have been broke by the end of this year had the ACT Government blocked the sale of their Griffith training site. "The Brumbies have equity of more than $9 million courtesy of the $11.375 million sale," Fairfax Media reported, "but Hammond said the Super Rugby club must invest wisely and return to a sustainable operating profit after coming close to insolvency."
Hammond said: ''The reality is without the sale of the site at Griffith we wouldn't have been able to fund last year's loss. we're fortunate that's happened. If the sale was not going to occur, we would have had serious financial issues … we would have been insolvent at the end of the year if the sale hadn't gone through, if the sale was never going to go through. If it was deferred, then we would have been able to come up with some short-term financing."
Hammond said the financial losses in 2013 were due mainly to reduced Brumbies crowds and corporate hospitality on match days, noting the club barely broke even on its first home final since 2004 as the fixture against the Cheetahs drew only 14,000 fans.
''We need the organisation to become profitable,'' Hammond told Fairfax Media. ''Other than the [Queensland] Reds, all the other Australian rugby teams are reporting losses this year and the ARU's got some issues in 2015 going into a World Cup year where their revenue has dropped by about $40 million."
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