Hurricanes first off the block with new franchise ownership

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew

The Wellington-based Hurricanes Super rugby franchise is the first to settle with a new owner 10 months after the New Zealand Rugby Union put out the call for potential bidders.

The new entity, Hurricanes Investments LP, will be half-owned by the Wellington Rugby Football Union, a quarter held by former Brierley Investments boss Paul Collins, and the remainder divvied up between Wellington Phoenix operators Welnix and interests associated with Liz Dawson and Colin Oldfield, the NZRU says in a statement.

The franchise runs for three years, with a five-year right of renewal. No value was given.

The Canterbury-based Crusaders have agreed in principle on a licence arrangement, while the Auckland-based Blues have been given more time, with international and regional bids made. The Waikato-based Chiefs failed to put forward a final bid.

"This move gives the game at the professional level a better chance to be run profitably, to build on its appeal to fans and to enhance its ability to feed a winning All Blacks team," NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said.

"This was always a step into the unknown so to have secured two new operators is a good result."

The national sports administrator has been looking at ways to make the game more profitable as provincial unions face the squeeze from dwindling attendance and, in some cases, poorly managed finances.

The NZRU embarked on a programme of selling the franchises after financial reviews found extra investment was needed to ensure the sustainability of the Super level of rugby.

Franchise holders will be responsible for the management of the team, marketing and promotion of matches, and will keep gate takings and some sponsorship income.

The NZRU will retain ownership of the brands associated with each team and continue to pay for player and coach contracts and international travel through the SANZAR body.

(BusinessDesk)

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3 Comments & Questions

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A good move. It should bring some financial discipline to management, rather than jobs for the boys, with grassroots rugby suffering as a result.

Headoffice should be next.

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I forsee all sorts of problems mostly financial watch wait and see, in 18 mths there will be all sorts of defections and contracts torn up, and the owners trying to play hardball, we just do not have the population base to support this, along with the income streams, we will end up right back at the beginning again, with some very empty pockets along the way bad bad move NZRFU.
Also will the NZRFU be able to help themselves to who ever players that they like, when they are now going to be under contract or owned by a private business?? yep it's going to be interesting.

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I have just heard on radio some of the rules concerning these ownership deals, it sounds like you will just be a "LACK LACK" on behalf of the NZRFU with no rights at all, in actuall fact you will be a money suplier {donor} to the franchaise it would seem and sweep the office floor.
I might have to move my Kiwisaver if this was an investment decision??

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