NRL limits damage from pandemic after $65 million cost cutting mission

The NRL has slashed its operating costs by a whopping $65 million over the last year in a desperate bid to ensure the game’s survival during the coronavirus pandemic and in the future.

According to The Sydney Morning Heraldthe governing body has saved more than $65 million in operating costs during the past financial year.

It comes ARLC chair Peter V’landys oversaw the cutting of costs by almost one third last season in the biggest financial reset in the game’s history.

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The figures reveal consolidated expenditure dropped by $82.5 million to $444.4 million with the findings to be released at the annual general meeting of the Australian Rugby League Commission on Friday.

However the NRL will still report a loss despite the massive cost cutting measures.

But the revenue from the State of Origin games was not included in the year-ending period to October 20, which would have improved the balance sheet further.

Had the Origin takings been included the ARLC were looking at posting a deficit of just $3-$5 million.

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It is still a stunning turnaround after the NRL received massive criticism as the pandemic broke when it was revealed they were spending $181 million annually just to run the competition, which equated to almost $500,000 a day.

The savings have come from a reduction of staff at head office, reduction of staff wages and the cancelling of events.

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Meanwhile events like the Dally M Awards went ahead at a considerably reduced cost.

The Herald obtained a copy of the financial report that was sent to clubs, which showed revenue for the year was $419,672,860, as opposed to $555,914,757 the previous year.

The operating deficit was $24,742,261 after posting a $28,982,716 surplus 12 months earlier.

The downturn was due to the downwards renegotiation of the broadcast rights deal and a decrease in game receipts, sponsorships, government grants and merchandising because of COVID-19.

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One-off football costs came in at $11.4 million, which includes charter and relocation costs of $4 million – to run the game during the pandemic.

Recurring football costs were $19.7 million, down from $25.6 million the previous year.

The NRL under ARCL Chairman Peter V’landys and CEO Andrew Abdo have pledged to cut $50 million from the bottom line and told clubs the days of overspending are a thing of the past.

Given the pandemic it is understandable the NRL won’t make a profit for last year, but signs are good that the game will be in a much better financial state going forward into the future, especially when COVID-19 is in the rear vision mirror.

Originally published asNRL limits damage from pandemic after $65 million cost cutting mission

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