RFU invests record amounts back into rugby

  • The 2017 Annual Report & Accounts can be accessed here
  • RFU special general meeting approves governance reforms

The Rugby Football Union Annual Report & Accounts show a record £99.6m investment into the game of rugby - a rise of 11% on the previous year, despite lower year-on-year revenues due to the Rugby World Cup 2015 revenues in 2016.

The operating loss for the year was £6m, reflecting the RFU’s commitment to invest all profits into rugby.

The RFU balance sheet remains strong with net assets of £215m, with profit and loss reserves of £18.5m putting the RFU in a strong position to comfortably manage the four-year Rugby World Cup cycle’s affect on the number of games at Twickenham Stadium.

In summary, the highlights for the year were:

  • £184.9m revenue, 20% up on last season with same match profile (2012/13) and unaffected by Rugby World Cup 2015 revenues
  • Record £99.6m investment in rugby as a whole, rise of 11% over previous year
  • This despite lower year-on-year revenues due to first year of normal trading following Rugby World Cup 2015
  • Investment in Professional Rugby £63.7m (up 14% year-on-year), including year one of both Professional Game Agreement and players deal
  • Investment in Rugby Development £35.9m (up 5% year on year)
  • Total investment in rugby over complete five-year Strategic Plan £408m, up 16% against target
  • Publication of new four-year Strategic Plan
  • Ticket revenues (excluding RWC 2015) increased £17.6m (87%) thanks to four Old Mutual Wealth Series and three Six Nations home internationals
  • Growth in net assets largely driven by £28.2m of debentures sold including those for the new East Stand facilities

“This was always going to be a period of reinvigoration and I am glad to say that a comparison with the last season with the same match profile and unaffected by the Rugby World Cup 2015 revenues, shows total revenue up by 20%," said RFU Chief Executive Steve Brown.

"Growth was achieved across the key revenue streams, and our overheads were 9% lower year-on-year.
“Our investment in Rugby Development grew for the sixth consecutive year, increasing by £1.8m from £34.1m to £35.9m, an increase of 5%. We delivered the first of our Artificial Grass Pitches (AGPs), having committed to investing more than £50m into 100 floodlit AGPs nationwide by 2019. Seven are already up and running, with three more to open in early 2018.

“Our Professional Rugby investment was up £8m and includes the first year costs of both the new eight-year Professional Game Agreement and the new four-year players deal.
“During the season, 1.1m tickets were sold to 17 matches at Twickenham, notwithstanding work on expanding the East Stand to bring all England Rugby corporate hospitality under one roof. Having created England Rugby Hospitality as the exclusive provider of official match day hospitality, the RFU is also on track to sell out all 2,230 East Stand enhanced debentures.
“Having successfully delivered the last Strategic Plan, our recently launched four-year plan and its priorities will help us respond to the changing sports landscape and keep rugby ahead of the game."