Rugby Australia announces $9.2 million deficit for 2023 financial year

Australia had a disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign  last year in France
Australia had a disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign last year in France

Rugby Australia reported a $9.2 million deficit for the fiscal year 2023, attributing the World Cup as the primary factor behind the significant loss.

This follows a profitable year in 2022, when the organization recorded an $8.2 million surplus. Operating expenses soared to $11.5 million in 2023 due to the World Cup, despite the Wallabies' failure to advance beyond the tournament's group stage in France.

Nonetheless, this loss was lower than the deficits incurred during the previous two World Cup cycles in 2019 ($9.5 million) and 2015 ($9.8 million).

CEO Phil Waugh acknowledged the financial challenges ahead for Rugby Australia in 2024, particularly in sustaining the Melbourne Rebels franchise.

“From a revenue perspective 2024 will be another challenging year given we have had to take on the unplanned cost of the Melbourne Rebels’ operations for 2024, as well as additional investments and distributions to member unions, Super Rugby clubs, the community game, pathways and women’s rugby,” Waugh said.

“We could have reduced costs further for 2024, however this could have had a detrimental long-term effect for the game,” he added.

“It is essential that we set the game up as best we can for the major revenue events on the horizon in 2025, 2027 and 2029.

“Sales to date for the (2025) Lions tour have been exceptional, both in our market and in the UK. This once-in-12-years event creates the opportunity to repay debt and get over the legacy of Covid-19 that the game is still facing.”