Crusaders not expected to lift stadium's income

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 29/11/2013

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A soft Crusaders balance sheet won't have a major impact on the financial projections of Christchurch's temporary stadium.

The Crusaders are expected to reveal a "break even" scenario at next month's annual meeting, meaning the Stadium Trust cannot bank on the rugby franchise boosting their income with a healthy dividend.

Last season the Crusaders posted a $174,294 profit which resulted in them giving half - $87,147 - to the trust as part of the agreement with the Government who built the new stadium at Addington.

The Crusaders have already warned this is unlikely to be repeated this year.

Although they had an extra round-robin match and hosted the qualifying final against the Reds their crowds were down by about 10 per cent at an average of around 15,000. The stadium has a capacity of approximately 17,500.

Stadium Trust chairman Jim Anderton was not concerned that the Crusaders are likely to only contribute a small payment, or nothing at all.

"We don't rely on that deal. It's [the Crusaders dividend] not a large item on the income budget of the stadium," Anderton said. "As with all stadiums it costs an arm and a leg to run.

"It would be nice if they made $20 million a year and we got a share of that but we are not likely to.

"Running football franchises and running stadiums are very costly exercises and you are very optimistic if you are [thinking of] making money out of them. I don't know a stadium in the world [that makes a profit] and ours certainly doesn't."

In July it was announced the stadium turned an $111,000 profit but Anderton warned it could be heading for a $397,000 deficit over its five-year life.

The Crusaders and the Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU) are major contributors to the stadium's income through their rental payments. It's understood those contracts are worth around $1 million per annum.

"The truth is that in the first year [2012] the stadium was full for most games and then this year it wasn't full for most of the games," Anderton added.

"Although to be fair our numbers [to games] in Christchurch were higher than most and we held our own in terms of the national average."

Attracting just 14,000 fans for the Reds playoff, and also having to pay an appearance fee of A$75,000 to the Queenslanders, meant they posted an undisclosed loss from that fixture.

The Crusaders also had to contribute to a third of the Reds' travelling and accommodation costs but received a payment of A$100,000 from the Chiefs when they met them in the semi in Hamilton.

The temporary stadium was completed in March 2012.

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In 2011 the Crusaders lost around $700,000 because earthquake damage to Lancaster Park forced them to play all their games outside of Christchurch.

The CRFU will release their financial statements at next year's annual meeting.

- Fairfax Media

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