NZ to keep lion’s share of bumper tour prof­its

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

WELLING­TON: New Zealand Rugby re­vealed yes­ter­day that the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions se­ries is set to de­liver a bumper profit, but ruled out shar­ing more of it with the four na­tions whose play­ers made up the tour­ing team.

NZR chief Steve Tew said the 10-match tour was vir­tu­ally a sell­out, with 342,000 tick­ets sold as tens of thou­sands of Lions fans poured into New Zealand for an event that only hap­pens once ev­ery 12 years. “It’s a bit early in terms of wrap­ping up costs and in­come, but we were very close to selling out ev­ery game which was our bud­geted ex­pec­ta­tion, so we should be on track. There were no red flags, that’s for sure,” he told Fair­fax New Zealand. The loss-mak­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion has pre­vi­ously said that prof­its from the tour were cen­tral to its plans to break even by 2020, a point Tew re­it­er­ated. “It will be a big in­come spike this year, but it needs to be spread out over a num­ber of years of ex­penses,” he said.

Tew did not be­lieve in­come-shar­ing ar­range­ments needed to be re­vis­ited, say­ing the All Blacks did not re­ceive a share of rev­enue when they toured north­ern hemi­sphere na­tions and helped fill their sta­di­ums. “We con­sider the in­come that the south gen­er­ates from a Lions tour as a re­ally im­por­tant part of equal­is­ing what is an inequitable dis­tri­bu­tion of money when we tour north and they tour south in a nor­mal year,” he said. Tew did not re­veal NZR’s profit pro­jec­tions but the amount is al­most cer­tain to be more than the NZ$20 mil­lion ($14.5 mil­lion) the or­gan­i­sa­tion banked af­ter the last tour in 2005. While dis­ap­pointed that the three-Test se­ries ended in a draw, Tew said the num­ber of tal­ented young­sters who emerged was a good sign for the fu­ture. “We’ve ended up with a lot more younger play­ers play­ing this se­ries than we would have planned for, but they’ll be bet­ter for it,” he said. “That ex­pe­ri­ence will be banked for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and will be in­valu­able.”


For­mer All Blacks and Lions coach Gra­ham Henry said the Lions tour showed that the New Zealan­ders’ main threat in 2019 would come from the north­ern hemi­sphere, not the south. He said the Wal­la­bies and Spring­boks were strug­gling but the Lions had showed how to pres­sure the reign­ing world cham­pi­ons, par­tic­u­larly on de­fence.

“Over the next cou­ple of years the signs are that the All Blacks will face more com­pe­ti­tion from the north­ern hemi­sphere coun­tries than they will ex­pe­ri­ence here in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship,” Henry wrote in Lon­don’s Daily Tele­graph. “Aus­tralia and South Africa in par­tic­u­lar have tailed off and that is a bit of a neg­a­tive for the All Blacks.”

Mean­while, Lions coach War­ren Gat­land has re­vealed he was left “hat­ing” be­ing on tour at times be­cause of the per­sonal crit­i­cism lev­elled at him by his fel­low New Zealan­ders. Gat­land was de­picted as a clown by one news­pa­per and there were ac­cu­sa­tions he was “un­rav­el­ling” un­der the pres­sure of tour­ing his home­land.—AFP

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