Super Rugby kicks off with private ownership in NZ

The Hurricanes Super Rugby franchise in New Zealand has been taken over by Hurricanes Investments LP which will ensure that the team stays in Wellington for at least another eight years.

Last year the NZRU put out to tender licences for four of the five Super Rugby licences and the Hurricanes Franchise is the first one to be secured on a three year contract with an option for a further five years.

The new board will be led by current Chief executive of NZ Post Group and former partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers and chairman of Rugby NZ 2011 Ltd, Brian Roche.

“The announcement today represents a new phase in the development of the Hurricanes. It’s a privilege for us all to be associated with the opportunities the License arrangement provides. “

“This will ensure that the Hurricanes continue to be a key part of the image and brand of the region – in perspective of both our rugby profile and the economic impact the team brings to the region,” added Roche.

The new entity, Hurricanes’ Investment Ltd Partnership is made up with 50% of shares held by WRFU, and 50% private shareholders including Cohiba Traders (represented by former Hurricanes chairperson, Paul Collins), ForsythMorison (represented by former Hurricanes board member, Liz Dawson) and Welnix, owners of the Wellington Phoenix (represented by Gareth Morgan).

“Welnix’s involvement reinforces the importance for Wellington sports to work together and shows our commitment to seeing the Hurricanes do well as a franchise,” Morgan said.

“This is great news for Wellington and Hurricanes’ rugby fans who now can celebrate knowing their favourite team is staying here. This new structure strengthens the Hurricanes providing the platform to build a sustainable and successful team,” WRFU CEO, James Te Puni said.

“The Hurricanes will continue to be based at our world class training facility while carrying the flag to the whole Hurricanes region.”

A Super Rugby Licensee’s responsibilities includes management of the team both on-field and off-field including, the professional development for members of the squad and promotion of matches and the brand associated with each team.

The Licensee’s revenue generating opportunities could include team naming rights from 2016 onwards and non-rugby activities. Additionally, all costs currently met centrally by NZRU/SANZAR would be retained by them.

A similar arrangement is expected to be finalised for seven-time Super Rugby champions the Crusaders within a month.

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