In an increasingly tough commercial environment for rugby around the globe, it invested £16.1m in its senior men’s and women’s international and pathway sides.
The investment in the professional women’s game has grown to £2.8m in 2023 and the Group spent £37.6m across Wales’ four professional teams – Cardiff RFC, the Dragons, the Ospreys and the Scarlets – and allocated £11.6m to the community game.
A total of 65% of the Group’s income was derived from staging international matches featuring senior Welsh teams and the commercial activities associated with these teams.
Average ticket income per attendee for rugby internationals was £59 and the average attendance was up at 68,000, or 92% of capacity (up from 62,000 in the prior year).
Commercial income increased to £16.4m (2022: £14.5m), with continued support and investment of all of Group’s commercial partners vital to the success and sustainability of Welsh rugby.
“All the profits made by the WRU Group are fed back into the game in Wales, we are guardians of our game and we take this responsibility very seriously,” said interim WRU CEO Nigel Walker.
“We have a stated policy of maximum reinvestment into the game annually, rather than retaining profits, and we have been able to increase our investment in Welsh rugby by £2.4m, up to £65.3m, despite the tough financial climate our game is facing.”
Match income was reduced primarily due to one fewer home fixture in the Guinness Six Nations tournament, but it was still at £39.5m, where it had been £43.0m in the prior year.
Hospitality and catering income was up at £18.7m (2022: £15.9m), driven by a strong WRU and third party event schedule at Principality Stadium.
The Parkgate Hotel was in its first full year of trading, giving the Group more diversified revenue streams. It traded well during the year, recognising increased revenues of £11.1m (YE22: £5.7m).
“We continue to explore other avenues to maximise the commercial potential of our game and take great care to prioritise and invest in new areas that will provide a return that we can plough back into Welsh Rugby – a good example of this is a new roof adventure project (SCALE) which will enhance Principality Stadium’s reputation further still as a visitor attraction.” continued Walker.
Richard Collier-Keywood – the new independent chair of the WRU commented:
“I think that the team at the WRU has delivered a strong performance against a year full with difficulties.
“These difficulties have cost Welsh rugby significant money as the WRU parted company with some significant individuals including a long serving-Executive-and-CEO and also some senior coaches during the year. The costs of these changes are disclosed clearly in our accounts and amount to £1.9m.
“We have also taken a fresh look at some accounting in prior years, and made some restatements which will put us on the correct footing to approach the years ahead.
“These are all fully disclosed in the financial information that we are issuing today”
The WRU Group has taken a fresh look at how it presents its financial information following changes in leadership and a new audit firm being appointed last year.
This means a full version of its audited financial statements will now be published after the Group’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled for next Sunday 19th November.
In the meantime, new WRU chair has written to clubs sending them the draft accounts including a consolidated income statement and balance sheet, along with supporting information in the form of the President’s Message, the Group Chief Executive’s Summary, the Strategic Report and certain notes to the financial statements.
“We are working with our auditors to finalise our accounts and a full version of the audited financial statements will be made available once this process has been completed,” added Collier-Keywood.
“In the meantime a new format for the consolidated income statement for the year to 30 June 2023 and additional disclosures have been made to help member clubs, and our other stakeholders, more clearly understand the underlying performance of the WRU Group.”