The Crusaders may have failed to add to their seven Super Rugby titles in 2012, but their biggest victory of the year has been off the field.
Crusaders Chairman Murray Ellis and CEO Hamish Riach on Wednesday reported an operating surplus of NZ,147 for the 2012 year.
This is a significant turnaround from the financial performance of 2011, which saw the Crusaders Trust record a financial loss as a result of Canterbury's devastating earthquakes.
Their ability to move themselves out of the red and back into the black is the result of a new temporary home, a 25 percent increase in match revenue, and a 136 percent increase in sponsorship.
Riach said the ability to play at home was the single biggest factor in turning around the financial performance.
But he said it's not as simple as returning home and seeing a profit return.
"We still have to have a team that plays well. We still need to work hard with our marketing and our sponsorship. We need to [pay] a lot of attention to ... controlling costs.
"If we subtract the extraordinarily high revenue from the match played in Twickenham in 2011, we grew match revenue by approximately 25 percent this year. We also achieved a 136 percent increase in sponsorship this year and we are extremely grateful to all of our sponsors for their vital support," Riach said.
"Our pleasing financial result allows us to fulfil some of our obligations, such as an additional payment to the Christchurch Stadium Trust as part of our agreement with the Government in getting the new stadium built. We will be making a NZ,147 payment to the Trust, which is over and above the agreed rental amount for the [new] stadium [at Addington].
The organisation will also pay back all but NZ0,000 of their major loan from the NZRU through an insurance claim.
"We are very proud of this result, particularly given the ongoing difficulties that we are dealing with due to the earthquakes," Ellis said.
"We are still working through our business interruption insurance claim from last year, and the loss of the original AMI Stadium in the earthquakes will continue to hit our bottom line for some time due to the reduced capacity for ticket sales and other costs associated with the new stadium.
"In saying that, if it weren't for the new AMI Stadium at Addington, this year's surplus would not have been possible. We are extremely grateful to the Government for driving this project and allowing our team to once again play at home in front of Christchurch and Canterbury fans," Ellis said.
Ellis said the new licence to run the Crusaders announced Tuesday will further add to the financial stability and commercial opportunities for the Crusaders heading into 2013 and beyond.
"There is no doubt that the organisation has been struck with some extraordinary challenges in recent times, however we have emerged from those difficulties stronger than ever and extremely excited about the future."
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