The Crusaders, who were affected drastically by the earthquake that shook Christchurch earlier this year, have announced a loss of nearly 0 000 for a difficult financial year which ended on August 31.
Crusaders chairman Murray Ellis said that despite the Crusaders having a fantastic year on the field in 2011, the loss of the home ground of AMI Stadium in Christchurch created significant financial pressures.
The seven-time Super Rugby champions managed to reach the final despite not being able to play a single game at home, but all of the travelling put significant financial pressure on the franchise so the loss of 6 300 is understandable.
Ellis commented: "We are immensely proud of what the team achieved in almost claiming the Super Rugby title without a home game, but unfortunately a 'season on the road' came at a financial cost.
"The support from the communities of Nelson and Timaru in particular, also Napier and Wellington, was immense and very humbling – but the revenue generated was insufficient to match our overall needs.
"Hosting home games at smaller venues with associated costs that were greater than normal due to travel, accommodation etc. meant that we were never going to be able to generate enough income to cover costs," he said.
These results are in contrast to the 5 714 surplus the franchise made the previous year.
Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach said that 2011 was a difficult year financially, clearly impacted by the earthquake on February 22, but also by the amendment to the financial year to end August 31, which meant this reporting period was a 14-month year.
He said: "We were extremely grateful for the loyalty shown by many commercial partners (despite no games in Christchurch), the generous support of the New Zealand Rugby Union and Canterbury Rugby Football Union, and the contribution the whole region made to campaign in 2011 – particularly the South Canterbury Rugby Football Union and Tasman Rugby Union - through hosting games at very short notice.
"With the new stadium at Rugby League Park going ahead, we are optimistic about the next few years. This venue will enable us to play in front of fans and commercial partners in Christchurch, and go a long way towards financial sustainability over the next 3 – 5 years," Riach added.
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