Munster in the red as World Cup hits gates
Munster Rugby is likely to post its first financial loss in six years this season — but the bottom line won’t be made worse by Sunday’s shock Heineken Cup quarter-final loss at Thomond Park, says chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald. He said yesterday that the province was set for a “relatively small deficit”, confirming it would be a six-figure sum.
Unexpectedly lowattendances at RaboDirect games during the World Cup last autumn, increased bank interest rates on the loan on Thomond Park and the absence of any revenue-generating concert at the stadium this year hit the province, said Fitzgerald.
He explained that failing to make the semi-final of the Heineken Cup would not exacerbate the situation. Tournament organisers ERC take the revenue from the semi-finals and any prize money accruing from ultimate success goes to the IRFU.
There would be a small hit in terms of corporate revenue on the day, but nothing of substance, the chief executive said.
He also added that any financial loss would have no impact on recruitment policy, be that for a new coach or for players.
Such items are always factored into the headline figure.
Munster have 39 players on contract this season, with a further six on Development contracts.
That figure will remain necessarily static in 2013 because of the number of international players in the squad.
“If you had no internationals you might get away with 32 or 33 players, but not in any other circumstance.
“There are 23 players in any matchday squad, and a further five or six injured at any time. When our international players are away, it is still imperative we remain competitive in the RaboDirect.
“We will recover this situation in 2013,” Fitzgerald predicted. “Efficiencies we have introduced will help us over the next two seasons.”
The chief executive said that the fall off in attendances at Musgrave Park and Thomond Park during September and October had been approximately 25% greater than expected, even though the province had set modest targets during that period.
He explained that a concert at Thomond Park last year, and two the year before, would also be missing from the 2012 projections.
The interview process for a new coach to replace the departing Tony McGahan is in process but an announcement on an appointment is not imminent, added Fitzgerald.
© This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Wednesday, April 11, 2012