Australian clubs facing financial meltdown
January 31, 2014
The Waratahs are not the only Super Rugby team with money woes, with Melbourne Rebels and Western Force also battling financial instability.
Waratahs chief executive Jason Allen told The Australian the Sydney club's finances were unsustainable and that poor crowd attendances this season "could send them to the wall". Allen said the franchise was "50% worse off" than at the corresponding period last year, mainly because of the loss of HSBC as full naming-rights sponsor.
Western Force are also facing ongoing revenue shortages after finishing 13th last year, one spot behind the Rebels. Making matters worse, the Force have lost major sponsor Emirates, leaving a Aus$1 million black hole in their budget.
They are desperately flogging player-by-player sponsorships, with companies offered the chance to have their logo on the front of an individual jumper for the entire season for Aus$50,000.
The Rebels have managed to retain their naming rights sponsor Rabo Bank, but chief executive Rob Clarke admitted the Victorian club's fiscal security was not much better. "I think it is widely known that we've got our challenges here financially," he told SEN.
Clarke said on-field success was the only way for the Rebels to strengthen their long-term future. "[Winning] doesn't automatically link to financial success. But without it you certainly will fail financially. Particularly in this cluttered sporting market here [Melbourne], a winning team is essential," he said.
The Rebels have received funding assistance from the Australian Rugby Uinon since they were founded in 2010, and Clarke said that was money well spent. "You can't grow the game nationally without having a strong presence in the biggest sporting market - and that is here in Melbourne. The ARU have been fantastic supporters in making sure that the Rebels are alive and well and have a long-term plan. Strategically it is critical that the Rebels are here and have a bright future."
The Rebels play under new coach Tony McGahan for the first time against the Waratahs this Saturday in a practice match in Albury. The temperature is expected to reach 41C, but both clubs are hoping up to 8000 fans turn out at the border town.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Communication error please reload the page.
Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 4. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups as they are named to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks
Karmichael Hunt has pleaded guilty at Southport Magistrates Court to four charges of cocaine possession
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hailed a massive victory for his side against West Ham to retain their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League on a night all of their rivals won
Ashley Young believes Manchester United got their "just rewards" after his late goal secured a vital win at Newcastle on Wednesday, but manager Louis van Gaal believes his side endured a narrow escape
"South Africa is hungry to once again host rugby's greatest occasion, SARU chief says Jurie Roux after World Rugby announced the tender process
One of world rugby's ultimate professionals, Super Rugby's milestone man Keven Mealamu quickly learned the value of a spare pair of boots
The Chiefs are keeping the ball alive when going into contact, and this makes their low turnover rate all the more impressive, Richard Kelly writes
Join Steve Bunce and Barry Jones each week for the latest news, views and debate from the boxing world.
Head injuries are not a trivial matter in sport - especially in one which will never fully eliminate the danger posed to its drivers
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood was so delighted with his side's last-gasp win over West Brom that he said the three points were better than his wife winning the Euro Millions jackpot
Amir Khan is unlikely to face Kell Brook this summer as he looks to negotiate a fight with Miguel Cotto in America
Louis van Gaal wants his Manchester United players to cut out the backpasses to David De Gea as frustrations mount among supporters over his side's unadventurous approach this season
Brendan Rodgers admits Liverpool's defeat at Crystal Palace in November left him fearing for his job at Anfield
Andre Ward has warned Carl Froch that he will be calling all of the shots over their proposed title unification bout
Emre Can sees his long-term future at Liverpool as a midfielder, but insists he will never be the new Steven Gerrard
Eight years ago, Steve Bunce was offered the chance of buying a 'share' in Tyson Fury, and it would have been a shrewd investment if he had the money
He may try and play down his obsession with his appearance, but Cristiano Ronaldo has apparently been sending a personal stylist to regularly brush up his waxwork model
Who was the 100th man to win a world championship Grand Prix?
Paul Butler tells Inside Boxing he turned down the chance of a trial with Liverpool in order to focus on boxing - and it was the right choice
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner