The New Zealand Rugby (NZR) governing body lost NZD47.5 million ($29.4 million) in 2022, despite generating record revenue of NZD270.8 million.

NZR had already signaled in December, when it appointed Patsy Reddy as its chair, that a financial loss for 2022 was expected, and it has now confirmed as such in the publication of its annual report for last year, presented to the board of directors earlier this week.

In 2021, while income was much lower, only reaching NZD188.3 million, expenditure only came to NZD183.3 million and NZR made a profit of NZD5.5 million. Last year, it spent NZD318 million.

In terms of income sources last year, NZD102 million came in through broadcast rights, while sponsorship and licensing were responsible for NZD113 million. Both of these sectors saw substantial increases from the equivalent 2021 figures.

Matchday revenue, which took a serious hit in 2020 and 2021 as the Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on sporting attendance, effectively doubled, reaching NZD28.3 million last year.

In terms of expenditure, NZR spent over NZD136 million on competitions in 2022, up from NZD80 million the year before, while just under NZD80 million went to the country’s various national teams, up from NZD56 million in 2021.

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By GlobalData

Jo Perez, NZR’s chief financial officer, said one of the factors behind the loss was a “whole raft of very deliberate and intentional investment” into girls’ and women’s rugby.

Last year, the country’s Black Ferns national side won the Women’s Rugby World Cup on home soil. and, earlier this month, NZR launched a 10-year plan to transform women’s rugby union in the country.

Reddy was appointed as NZR’s first-ever female chair in December, following a career as a lawyer, negotiator, and director.

Last year also saw NZR finalize a protracted deal to sell a minority stake in its commercial business to Silver Lake in February, and in March it set up New Zealand Rugby Commercial (NZRC) as a new arm.

Under the terms of the partnership, Silver Lake invested NZD100 million in July last year and will invest the same amount again in July 2023, it has been confirmed.

The deal will give Silver Lake a stake of up to 8.58% in NZRC.

In September, Ian Nerev was appointed as chair of the NZRC board of directors.

Image: Greg Bowker/Getty Images