Yesterday the organisers of last year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand reported a loss of NZ$ 31.3 million.
It was also reported that the NZRU will cover NZ$10 million of the loss, with the balance coming from the tax payer, i.e. the man in the street. The man who paid top dollar for tickets to the games and splashed out on a few cold beers and a pie before the game …
This after the IRB declared the 2011 Rugby World Cup to be the second most commercially successful edition of all time earlier in the year – In a statement issued from its Dublin headquarters, the IRB said the tournament was on course to achieve a “net surplus of more than NZ$ 176 million!
Obviously the land of the long white cloud, having welcomed 133 000 visitors to their shores, will continue to benefit economically from successfully hosting the event for years to come. And the huge television audiences and extensive media coverage generated by the tournament will have boosted the country’s international profile. Some suggesting that the event is estimated to have boosted economic activity in New Zealand by more than NZ$ 500 million …
And of course the IRB do a huge amount in the ongoing development of rugby worldwide, with 92% of the global governing body’s profits, coming from the World Cup.
But one can now understand why the NZRU moaned about the financial structure of the tournament at the time. Sure New Zealand benefits from hosting the event, but they are still out of pocket, as is the man in the street. This even though more than 1.35 million fans attended the games, with revenue from ticket sales surpassing NZ$ 268.5 million.
Should the IRB not be picking up the NZ$ 31.3 million tab? Are the IRB heading the way of FIFA, who quite clearly bullied South Africa into spending more money than it needed to in order to host the Soccer World Cup in 2010?
Or perhaps it is for New Zealand to find a way to utilise the money made via tourism to cover the costs?