Sport NZ provides $4.6 million in financial relief to professional clubs
Sport NZ has provided a total of $4.6 million to the Wellington Phoenix, Vodafone Warriors, Super Rugby clubs and the ANZ Premiership Netball League and teams to ease the financial impact of COVID-19. This is the first release of investment from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced as part of Budget 2020, with this being the only allocation available for release before 1 July.
The purpose of this funding is to provide immediate financial relief to help these clubs and competitions remain viable, and to assist with costs required to get competitions back up and running.
The Wellington Phoenix will receive $950,000 and Vodafone Warriors $200,000, while $1.25 million will go to New Zealand Rugby for its five Super Rugby teams and Netball New Zealand will receive $2.2 million to support the running of the ANZ Premiership Netball League and teams.
“This investment acknowledges the critical role these professional franchises play in entertaining New Zealanders and uniting communities, as well as inspiring young people and providing important end-to-end pathways for talented sportspeople,” says Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin.
“Professional sport franchises do not typically receive government investment, but in the Sport Recovery Package we have an opportunity to provide relief to other organisations who are also critical to our system. We know they have exhausted their financial options and that they make such a valuable contribution to our sector and national and regional economies.”
Today’s announcement has been welcomed by teams and national bodies.
Wellington Phoenix General Manager David Dome says: “Without this support professional football, which is a critical part of football in New Zealand, could be lost indefinitely. We hope this, like the return of club football, will provide a positive boost for players and fans around the country. We would also like to acknowledge the initial financial relief provided by Sport NZ to football’s regional bodies and clubs. They too are a critical part of our game.”
Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George says: “The Vodafone Warriors are very appreciative and grateful of government and Sport NZ for this financial assistance. Like all businesses, in sport or otherwise, it’s been a torrid time and this assistance will help us continue through 2020.”
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson says: “Our Super Rugby clubs, along with all areas of rugby and different sectors of New Zealand, have been facing incredible financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, so this generous government package will help them kick off and compete in Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa with real momentum.”
Netball New Zealand Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie says: “Netball New Zealand is incredibly appreciative of the government’s financial support of the ANZ Premiership Netball League and teams in 2020. Like all businesses, COVID-19 has had a serious impact on netball in New Zealand, both at community and elite level. Having government support at this time means we can together get another part of the economic sector up and running quickly.”
Sport NZ has also engaged with other teams and sports, including the New Zealand Breakers and Auckland Tuatara, but as these teams are currently out of season they have not yet been impacted as significantly as those in season when the COVID-19 crisis hit. Sport NZ will continue to work with these sports and teams to determine what support they may require moving forward.
The balance of the first response phase of the $265 million Sport Recovery Package (approximately $78 million) will be focused primarily on community, regional and national level bodies. This funding will be available from 1 July. Sport NZ is already providing immediate relief to grassroots sport through its $15 million Community Resilience Fund. Applications for this remain open through the network of 14 regional sports trusts, with $1,000 available for clubs and $40,000 for regional bodies.
“Play, active recreation and sport are key to maintaining individual health and welling, bringing our communities together and keeping these communities strong,” says Peter Miskimmin.
“It is vital that organisations at all levels of our sector remain viable and that’s why it is critical we are able to provide immediate financial relief.”
More information of the financial support already provided by Sport NZ to ease the impact of COVID-19 can be found here.