RFU investment in rugby grows for fourth year

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The RFU 2014 Annual Report & Accounts published on November 14th shows investment in rugby at all levels growing for the fourth consecutive year. The total investment into rugby was £75.3m, up 13% on 2012/13 with a substantial proportion of this growth focused on the RFU’s commitment to building a lasting Rugby World Cup legacy across the whole sport.

The commitment to maintaining growth in rugby investment results in a planned loss for the year of £9.5m, comfortably accommodated by the RFU Group’s profit and loss reserve, which remains at a healthy £10.2m.

Group revenue for 2013/14 reached over £150m, down only £2.3m from 2012/13, despite the low match profile year, largely due to a 26% increase in sponsorship income and the non-match day growth of hospitality and catering revenues.

The RFU’s long-term financial position is further strengthened by the purchase of an additional 7.5% shareholding in Twickenham Experience Ltd (TEL) on 30 June 2014.

The drawdown against the £50m RBS revolving credit facility, used to fund the upgrade of Twickenham Stadium, peaked at £40m during the year, but was reduced to £37m by 30th June and will be fully repaid before the end of November. The stadium upgrade project is on track to provide a world class facility ready to host the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

All year 2 Strategic Plan priorities have been delivered, and the long term objectives of delivering sustained and growing investment in rugby up to and beyond the Rugby World Cup in 2015 is well on track.

Said Chief Financial Officer Stephen Brown, “This significant success and fourth consecutive year of rugby investment growth is in line with the strategic objectives we set in 2012.

“It is underpinned by turnover of more than £150m, despite Twickenham hosting fewer matches than in 2012/13. Sponsorship, with an already strong base, grew by 26% year on year and our single largest revenue stream, hospitality and catering, continued at around £37m, thanks to attracting non match-day business.”

Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive Officer, added, “Investing in the game means investing in all of our people and all the places that rugby is played and enjoyed. This has never been more important and we are committed to creating a real and lasting legacy from Rugby World Cup 2015. In the past year we significantly increased our investment in both professional and development rugby, with a record £75.3m invested directly with clubs and in operating the English game at all levels.”

Among the highlights for the year were:

  • Investment in rugby grows for the fourth successive year driven by a commitment to our RWC 2015 legacy
  • Investment in rugby as a whole rise of 13% over previous year
  • Strong revenue performance at over £150m despite low match profile year
  • On track with delivery of all strategic priorities
  • Additional 7.5% share in Twickenham Experience Ltd bought on 30th June 2014
  • During the season 1,104,754 seats sold for Twickenham matches
  • Commercial partnerships extending from England team to the grassroots game
  • Continued investment and preparation for Rugby World Cup 2015
  • Second year of Lead Up & Legacy work
  • UNITY project working with 17 nations to support growth of the game across Europe
  • Twenty years’ endeavour sees England Women become World Champions
  • England U20s win second consecutive IRB Junior World title
  • England U18s win third consecutive FIRA/AER European Championship
  • England Qualified Players agreement with clubs for World Cup season

Click here to view the Annual Report