World rugby without fans in a financial scrum | Sunday Observer

World rugby without fans in a financial scrum

8 November, 2020

The financial fallout for rugby from the coronavirus pandemic has been “devastating” with World Rugby effectively operating like a “central bank”, the governing body’s CEO Brett Gosper said on Monday.

European unions have been particularly badly affected due to the ban on spectators attending matches since the season resumed in mid-August after it was originally halted by the coronavirus outbreak in March.

Fans did however attend the recent Bledisloe Cup games hosted by New Zealand and will also be permitted when Australia host the Rugby Championship.

Gosper said it was logical the hardest-hit unions were the largest ones with the biggest stadiums. “It has been devastating from a revenue point of view,” the Australian said in a conference call.

“The more reliant you are on game hospitality and ticketing particularly, the more devastating it will be.

“In the near future we are going to be getting some good broadcast revenues but the rest of the picture is pretty weak.”

England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) is traditionally the wealthiest in the northern hemisphere.

However, their CEO Bill Sweeney predicted last week they are looking at a potential short-term impact of around £145 million ($187 million) in lost revenues. The RFU is seeking help from the British government. Their Irish counterparts, the IRFU, on Monday received 18 million euros from the state, which will help deal with a record deficit of 35.7 million euros.”