* required fields
By Waratahs Rugby Media Unit
Waratahs Rugby today reported a net operating profit of $49,990 for 2011, its first full financial year of operation.
The result is the state’s best in five years and comes off the back of a $201,939 loss for the six months to December 2010. At last week’s Annual General Meeting, Chairman Edwin Zemancheff called the result “exceptionally pleasing”, adding that the year had been a turning point in shaping the long term direction and economic viability of professional Rugby in NSW.
“In the face of significant financial challenges and in only our first full year of operation, it is exceptionally pleasing that Waratahs Rugby Limited reported a successful year, contributing $1,175,000 to the community game through License Fees and other grants to New South Wales Rugby Union, yet still recording a net operating profit of $49,990,” said Zemancheff.
In June 2010, NSWRU established NSW Waratahs Ltd, a distinctly independent subsidiary, and granted it a licence to administer all aspects of professional rugby in NSW, including the HSBC Waratahs’ participation in the Super Rugby competition.
“This financial result is an exceptional achievement for the whole of Waratahs Rugby and all of our stakeholders,” added Chief Executive Officer Jason Allen.
“For the management team to turn around the business in such a short period of time is testament to the commitment and desire of everyone here to deliver a sustainable future for Rugby in NSW. I’d like to say a big thank you to all involved, including our partners, members and fans alike,” said Allen.
On the field, the HSBC Waratahs made the Semi-Finals of the 2011 Super Rugby competition, a considerable achievement given the brutal injury toll with which they had to contend. That success was due in part to Head Coach Chris Hickey who signed off his three-year tenure with an outstanding 63% success rate and two departing legends of the game, Phil Waugh and Al Baxter, who between then amassed an extraordinary 250+ NSW caps and whose positive influence on NSW Rugby cannot be overestimated.
Off the field, notable achievements of 2011 included:
* Revenue from membership grew by $496,827, with the number of ticketed memberships up by 33 per cent versus 2010.
* Over 90 per cent of sponsors were retained from the previous year and the year also saw the commencement of an exciting new sleeve partnership with Volvo Car Australia.
* Revenue from sponsorship increased by $409,206.
* Income from Corporate Hospitality also grew by $225,729.
The 2011 season also saw the creation of a new media platform, in the form The Code: Behind the Scenes with the HSBC Waratahs, aired as an eight-part weekly series on Fox Sports. In a first for Australian Rugby, the documentary was compelling viewing for its unique insight into the inner sanctum team environment, attracting an astonishing 851,633 TV viewers, with countless more connecting with the team through the resulting enhancements to its digital and social media presence.
Continuing its commitment to key stakeholders, in October 2011 Waratahs Rugby launched a new Community Connection program, aimed at bringing players and supporters closer together through a host of school, charity and community events planned for NSW through 2011/12 and beyond.
The 2011 season also saw the organisation further its understanding and appreciation for the fundamentals of the Waratahs Rugby identity. One of the key outcomes of this research was the establishment of match day themes for 2012 that both celebrate NSW Rugby history and help the club to better engage with the greater Rugby communities, from the introduction of two afternoon games and the inclusion of junior march pasts, to the special celebration of 130 years of NSW and Queensland Rugby rivalry that was commemorated with the opening match of the new FxPro Super Rugby season.
But Allen warned that plenty of significant challenges await the sport in 2012. “There remain a number of significant challenges to be overcome in forthcoming seasons, starting with the areas of membership and matchday attendances, which remain crucial to the continued sustainability of our business model,” he said.
“As a sport, our bid to create market credibility for rugby will see us strive to differentiate our product in the increasingly crowded Sydney and NSW marketplace. The need to generate new income streams will see us explore new and innovative opportunities and the requirements on newcomers the Melbourne Rebels to progressively reduce their foreign player numbers will challenge the Player Contracting Protocols and further test the depth of Super Rugby players that could become a real issue moving forward.”
A full copy of the 2011 Waratahs Rugby Annual Report is available online at www.waratahs.com.au.
Sat Mar 19, 7:40PM AEDT
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney