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All Blacks look into private equity investment

The All Blacks rugby team are considering offers from private equity investors as financial difficulties persist from the Covid-19 pandemic.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is exploring different funding avenues, including that of private equity, after the team saw its cash reserves reduced by almost half from the disruption caused by the locking down of the country.

The world-renowned rugby team expended around 47 per cent of its NZ$86 million cash reserves, according to NZR chief executive Mark Robinson. It was expected that the national team would earn NZ$100 million in revenue before the suspension of the sport.

Rumoured talks of an investment from private equity firms have been circulating since May but it appears with the pandemics relentless resurgence across the world, the talks have started to become even more serious, with the three-time world champions not expected to fall short on offers.

An investment would likely be beneficial to both parties as the team is viewed as one of the most valuable in world rugby, according to British consultancy Brand Finance, who values the team at £144 million.

Rugby as a sport has previously been investigating different ways to maximise its potential earnings, as it continues to fall far below that of its sporting counterpart, football, which is one of the most profitable sports in the world. Deloitte has valued the European football market at £25.1 billion as of last year.

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners purchased shares in rugby’s English Premiership and Europe’s Pro14, with rugby clubs and national teams already struggling financially prior to the pandemic.

It has been reported that the firm is also in talks with Six Nations Rugby tournament, as CVC continue their march across the sporting landscape, having invested in the Italian Serie A and having previously owned Formula One.

New Zealand Rugby will be hopeful of attracting interest from a private equity firm, much like CVC, if the coronavirus pandemic continues to unsettle the sport and damage the already dwindling finances within it.

Author: Jake Wilkin