News article - Style A 1861

Ospreys bosses have promised to reinvest on and off the pitch after today revealing that they will post their second consecutive annual pre-tax profit in excess of £300,000 when they file their financial accounts for the year to May 2007.




The Ospreys became the first of Wales"€™ regional sides to post a profit when they declared a similar surplus last summer, and today"€™s announcement comes after a season that saw the Ospreys secure a second Magners League title in three years, as well as reaching their first major cup final when they faced Leicester Tigers at Twickenham in April. The profit comes on an increased turnover of £5,947,697.


Mike Cuddy, Joint Managing Director, commented:

"€œEverybody at the Ospreys is delighted to be able to report that once again we have recorded a substantial profit over the last year, a period which has seen us go from strength to strength on and off the pitch.   Having declared a profit last summer, we made a significant investment in the team ahead of the 2006/07 season, in the form of Justin Marshall, Filo Tiatia, Lee Byrne and Nikki Walker, and the benefits were clear to see as we regained the league title and reached the EDF Energy Final.


"€œOver the course of the season we firmly established our position as the leading region in Welsh rugby with a squad packed with quality and strength in depth, and we enjoyed the highest attendances of all the Welsh regions. Our average attendance of 9,820 was a six per cent increase on the previous season, and this summer, we have introduced a range of matchday and season ticket packages that we believe will help to take this average past the 10,000 figure for the first time. The response has been phenomenal, with record season-ticket sales of over 5,000 recorded already this summer, which is obviously hugely encouraging for the coming season.


"€œUltimately though, we aren"€™t looking to settle for being number one in Wales, we have to look at the bigger picture. We have a business plan in place that will help us achieve our premier target of being considered one of European rugby"€™s elite clubs, both commercially and in terms of playing success. To achieve this aim we have to be looking at continuous development on and off the field, sustainable growth based on a sound business plan. As was the case last summer, any profit made is being reinvested to make us stronger on and off the field to ensure that future success is built on solid foundations. Of course, rugby at the Ospreys is still very much about what happens on the pitch, but with the modern game, it is commercial success that enables the type of investment needed to ensure sustained sporting achievement.


"€œAlready this summer, we have secured the signatures of Ian Gough, Mike Phillips and Mark Taylor and we will continue to look at areas in which we can strengthen. In addition, we have recently confirmed that a number of key players have all committed themselves to the region long-term, which again brings with it considerable expense to the region. We have put together a squad that boasts real strength in depth, which is needed when you consider how many of our players are likely to be involved in international duty throughout this season, at the World Cup and the Six Nations.


"€œWe also continue to invest heavily in the development of young, local talent and remain absolutely committed to doing so. Despite our short history, we have already excelled in this area with more young players coming through our Academy to feature in the senior Wales set-up than the other regions combined, with James Hook and Aled Brew coming to the fore during the last twelve months. Nurturing young talent is integral to what we are about and is an essential part of our long-term plans, and the latest intake of eight youngsters are our most exciting yet."€


Roger Blyth, Joint Managing Director, added:


"€œOur financial accounts for 2006/07 are testament to the hard work of everybody involved within the Ospreys, and underlines the importance of a professional corporate governance. We have in place an effective management and control structure that is enabling us to flourish as a business, and in addition to on the field investment, we have also invested heavily in additional backroom staff, and will continue to do so as the Ospreys brand continues to grow.


"€œAs I"€™m sure anyone would appreciate, when a business more than doubles turnover in just four years, and sees its customer or fanbase increase beyond all recognition in that period, demands on its employees also rise significantly. Investment has to be made to ensure things don"€™t grind to a halt and to date we have doubled the number of backroom and admin staff since we formed in 2003 and that number will continue to grow as required.


"€œCommercially, we continue to go from strength to strength. Our shirt continues to be one of the biggest sellers in the UK, with sales in excess of 40,000, whilst we achieved merchandise sales to a value of more than £800,000 at our Liberty Stadium club shop, an almost tenfold increase on our first season when the value of merchandise sales was just £90,000. Match-day hospitality continues to be a key earner for us, with 13 hospitality boxes booked out for the whole of last season and 20 already taken for the coming campaign, whilst our Business Club sold out for the coming season, demonstrating a growth of more 150 per cent.


"€œWe also continue to endeavour to develop strong roots in the community generating enormous good feeling from supporters and member clubs alike. Initiatives such as the matchday bus/ticket scheme and the kits for clubs offer impact directly on the bottom line at clubs across the region, and in turn strengthen relationships both ways. In addition, we have recruited additional Rugby Development Officers who work closely with schools and clubs in the region, helping youngsters to identify with the region, and the number of children attending our training camps during school holidays continues to grow, leading to an increase in the number of courses being operated.


"€œThe Ospreys are now very much part of the community and people across the area are identifying with the region. The Ospreylia campaign ahead of the Australia match was a huge success and has created a true geographic identity for the region. Supporters and broadcasters alike now refer to Ospreylia and Ospreylians, and that has helped to increase our support base, particularly in the far-flung areas of the region that used to belong to the Celtic Warriors. Rugby fans can see the efforts we are making to embrace fans from all our member clubs, and our rising attendances year-on-year is evidence that more and more people are starting to consider themselves Ospreylians.


"€œOur next challenge is to continue building on the good work done to date, on and off the field, to bring continued success to the region during 2007/08 and beyond. We are still very much a business in its infancy, and with each year we are becoming more and more assured. We have come a very, very long way in just four years, but everybody within the organisation is aware that we still have a tremendous way to go if we are to fulfil our potential, and that is what we will all be working towards achieving over the next year and beyond. With the stadium and training facilities we have in place, combined with our growing support base, playing squad and administrative set-up, the future for the Ospreys looks extremely positive."€