WRU CEO Steve Phillips has welcomed CVC’s acquisition of a 14.3% stake in Six Nations Rugby, adding to their existing investments in the Guinness PRO 14 and Gallagher Premiership.
Six Nations Rugby includes the Guinness Six Nations Championship and the autumn international fixtures.
He explains the sale of this equity is to be invested in long term projects which will pay regular dividends in the future – for the long-term benefit and sustainability of the whole of Welsh rugby.
The total capital proceeds to the WRU, if the deal attains regulatory approval, will be up to c.£51m over a five-year period, prior to costs. It is also expected that annual long-term revenues from the Six Nations will increase.
“This is a pivotal moment in the history of the international game in Wales,” said Phillips.
“Ultimately, this deal will be a catalyst for the growth of our game. It will directly improve the international tournaments we participate in, further engaging new and existing fans alike. Increased interest drives other opportunities both on and off the field. Indirectly the investment will in turn provide the foundations on which the whole game can flourish.
“I would like to warmly welcome CVC to the Six Nations and thank them for their professionalism and enthusiasm during the negotiations that have allowed us to reach this point and, as those negotiations reach their culmination, express sincere gratitude for the value they have placed on our game. I would also wish to acknowledge the collegiate approach adopted by FIR, FFR, IRFU, RFU and SRU in securing this deal with CVC.
“We look forward to welcoming the laser commercial focus that CVC will add to the historic organisation that is Six Nations Rugby Ltd. CVC have a track record of successfully investing in sport and their proven commercial and technology expertise will benefit the game enormously.
“The initial investment is obviously extremely attractive. We have our own investment strategy as evidenced by the hotel on Westgate Street. Once approved, this deal will enable us to both continue and accelerate these plans.
“And it is also important to note that the Unions have retained total autonomy in terms of rugby matters.”
The new strategic partnership covers Wales’ autumn international matches as well as Six Nations controlled tournaments in the Women’s game and at U20s level.
The potential for growth in the Women’s game has been a particular attraction for CVC and the WRU’s own stated intentions to continue to drive investment in this area of rugby union in Wales add strength to this element of the partnership.
WRU chairman Robert Butcher agrees that, for the WRU, the success of the deal will be found in the ability of Six Nations and their new partners to improve the earning potential of their tournaments as well as the way the WRU re-invest over the next five years to replace lost future earnings.
“This is an exciting day, but the hard work starts here at both Six Nations and on a domestic front in Wales,” adds Butcher.
“Our responsibility is to the future of the professional game in Wales and to sustainability and development at community level.
“We need to make this money work hard for Welsh rugby in the long term.
“We now have the opportunity to advance and develop our game once we come through the current crisis, to secure its future and enter a new era for rugby.
“If the recent challenges faced across the sporting landscape teach us anything, it is that diversifying our income beyond the traditional stadium income model is vital.”