The Directors of Ospreys Rugby Limited have revealed that accounts for 2015/16 show an operating loss of £73,000.
- The business incurred an operating loss of £73,000 during financial year 2015/16
- Although the Rugby World Cup in autumn 2015 has a significant impact on all areas of the business, the board report increased commercial, sponsorship and ticketing revenue with crowds also up year on year
- Discussions continue with a number of parties, including WRU, to secure additional long-term funding to close the gap on competitors
Overall business performance was extremely encouraging with increased commercial, sponsorship and ticketing revenue.
A number of leading Welsh businesses, such as Symltech, Ledwood, and Morganstone, entered into partnership with Ospreys Rugby during this period, while OSTC extended their front of shirt sponsorship.
Ticketing revenue saw a small increase over this period despite the first part of the season clashing with the Rugby World Cup in England. The decision of the Guinness PRO12 not to delay the start to the season impacted significantly on crowds across the competition in the opening seven weeks of the season, teams weakened considerably by the absence of international players.
Combined with what was, ultimately, a disappointing season on the field as the team missed out on both the PRO12 semi-finals and Champions Cup qualification, it made for a challenging scenario so we can take great satisfaction from the continued rise in ticketing revenue.
However, direct costs have also increased, with the inflation of salaries across the sport continuing to be a major challenge, particularly given the well-documented funding gap compared to other nations.
A number of one-off exceptional items resulted in an overall trading loss of £511,000.
Ospreys Chairman, Roger Blyth, said:
“As was predicted in the 2014/15 report, this year proved to be a challenging one for the business. In particular, the Rugby World Cup had a major impact on all areas of the business and, although there were robust plans in place to deal with the specific challenges a World Cup year brings, its impact was felt in several ways.
“The combination of improved off-field performance and continued tight financial management meant that the business continues along the path we’ve been on since 2012. We are projecting a similar outcome for 2016/17 with the business operating at close to break even.
“While we continue to grow our own revenue streams, the ongoing financial imbalance in the game continues to have an effect. English and French clubs continue to enjoy the benefits of lucrative broadcast and commercial deals while, within the PRO12, our Irish, Italian and Scottish counterparts benefit in terms of greater governing body support.
“As such, we continue to be in regular dialogue with various parties, including the WRU, to secure replacement and additional long-term funding and remain hopeful that these discussions will help produce a positive outcome for the business.”