Welsh Rugby Nets Best Financial Results In Its 131-Year History
The Wales rugby union team, which just won the Six Nations grand slam in '12, has led the national association to "its best financial results in its 131-year history," according to Graham Ruddick of the London TELEGRAPH. The Welsh Rugby Union Ltd. said revenues rose 16% to £63.2M ($102M), while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 6% to £27.6M ($44.7M) in the year to June 30. The results "could be a boost to the sport in Wales," where the domestic game and four main Welsh teams are "struggling to deal with the recession, dwindling crowds and competition from the French and English leagues." The rise in revenue and profit has been driven by sponsorship deals -- including agreements with kitmaker Under Armour, carmaker Seat and drinks groups Heineken and Brains. Also aiding revenue have been "strong crowds" at the Millennium Stadium, and TV deals with BBC and Sky (TELEGRAPH, 10/1). The BBC noted that the report showed a £4.1M ($6.6M) rise in player costs, which included the extra matches played in the Rugby World Cup and Grand Slam bonuses. The total financial package paid to CEO Roger Lewis was £321,000, ($520,000) a marginal rise on the previous year. Among the future challenges, Lewis cited the difficult financial circumstances of the regions and the loss of high-profile players who moved to clubs in France (BBC, 10/1).