New Zealand Rugby launches new strategy - Towards 2016

Getty Images     27 Mar 2013     Getty Images

- RWC 2015, Olympic gold, financial health among Towards 2016 goals
- 2012 profit: $3.2m compared to budgeted break-even (2011 operating loss: $3.1m)
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) today unveiled an ambitious set of goals over the next four years as it reported a profit improvement for the 2012 financial year.

"It's important that our organisation has a vision of what success looks like in 2016 so the goals of Towards 2016 are critical to guiding our work over the next four years," said New Zealand Rugby Chairman Mike Eagle.

"We operate in a rapidly changing environment with a range of challenges such as the increased competition for the sports fan’s dollar, the pace of technological change, the persisting economic downturn and the changing demographics of our country.

"It is vital we are prepared and motivated so we can put our resources towards goals which matter most to keeping the game we love special and relevant to the widest cross-section of New Zealanders."

Towards 2016

The six goals of the Towards 2016 Strategy are:

1. All Blacks go back to back at Rugby World Cups in 2015
2. Two Olympic gold medals in Rio de Janeiro in 2016
3. Rugby in New Zealand is financially healthy and well led
4. Rugby is the sport of choice in wider Auckland
5. Rugby brings communities together and is the sport of choice for teenagers
6. Rugby has a positive global presence

NZR's Towards 2016 Strategy is being launched at a gathering of the sporting, business, and community stakeholders at a function in Auckland tonight. An electronic version is available here.

NZR's effectiveness as an organisation is measured against a balanced Annual Scoreboard of objectives which would now be adjusted each year to ensure all objectives are aligned to the Towards 2016 Strategy.

"All our planning and daily activities are now geared towards achieving these ambitious goals," said Mike Eagle. "Success will mean we not only reach our goals, but also deliver on our broad vision of ensuring rugby continues to inspire and unify New Zealanders."

Profit improvement

Maintaining the financial health of the game is a key goal of Towards 2016 and today NZR reported an operating profit of $3.2m for 2012, the first since 2008.

"This is an extremely satisfying result and underlines our success in driving greater commercial revenue and containing our costs," said NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew.

"We had budgeted for a break-even result after recording an operating loss of $3.1m in 2011 so this is a significant improvement.

"We are now in a much stronger financial position. The new partnership with insurance company AIG has made a difference. Significantly, we have secured a major portion of our commercial revenues over the medium term through the relationships with Principal Partner adidas, broadcast partner SKY and now AIG.

"It's important to remember that in recent years we maintained an annual investment of around $19m in funding to Provincial Unions and Investec Super Rugby Franchises in order to safeguard the game during challenging times. The consequence of that was a reduction in reserves and successive operating losses. That was clearly not sustainable.

"Our improved position gives New Zealand Rugby a sound base to make decisions on future investment in the game. We will now take the time to review an appropriate level of reserves for an organisation of our size and risk profile. We will do that once the current negotiations over a new players’ Collective Employment Agreement are completed. That obviously has a bearing on costs over the medium term."

Provincial Union finances

Steve Tew said there were encouraging signs among Provincial Unions. Nine of the 14 ITM Cup unions were in surplus in 2012.

The combined surpluses totalled $626,000 compared to a combined deficit of $631,000 in 2011 representing a turnaround of around $1m.

"There has been a clear focus by the unions on living within their means," said Tew. "We are not out of the woods by any means and it remains a very challenging environment for any union to grow revenue from sponsorships and gates.

"In tandem with the review of New Zealand Rugby's reserves policy, this year we will also be undertaking an assessment of Provincial Union funding.

"Obviously being in a stronger financial position gives us more options. We have clear goals in our Towards 2016 strategy and that will guide our thinking in terms of new funding for the game.

"We will weigh up what this means for individual unions in the months ahead, but whatever we do, we will continue to invest wisely for all of rugby.

We would also like to acknowledge all those organisations and volunteers who support the game at community and Provincial Union level. Their support is critical and is in no way taken for granted."