Heather du Plessis-Allan: Buying into NZR is not smart


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This counter-proposal to allow Kiwi mum and dad investors to buy into NZ Rugby is crazy.
This has been mooted today by the Rugby Players Association, which is desperate to kill off the plan for Silverlake to buy 12.5% of the game.
So instead, they want you and me to buy collectively 5%, through a public float, raising $191m.
Which mum and dad investors are going to be silly enough to put their money into the game of rugby in NZ at the moment?
You might like the idea of owning a slice of the black jersey, but you’d be throwing your cash away.
The game isn’t growing. It’s doing the opposite.
Mums are worried about concussion.
Boys are off to the basketball court instead.
The audience is dwindling.
Let me remind you how NZR’s books look:
$34 million loss last year
$7.4 million loss 2019
$1.9m loss 2018
$33.4m profit 2017 (because that was a Lions tour year)
But, 2016, $7.5 m loss
2015, nearly half a million dollar loss
And so it goes.
Putting more money into a failing thing is not going to stop it failing, it’ll just buy time before the money really runs out.
So like I say, we’d be wasting our cash.
Silver Lake’s investment, though, is a different story.
Now, I have reservations about the Silver Lake deal, especially after watching the way the renegade football league completely forget about core fans.
Same thing could happen here.
But on the upside, from what I understand, Silver Lake’s appeal is that they bring more than money.
They bring the understanding of how to take All Blacks rugby beyond the local and existing fan base.
Because there are untapped fans out there in the globe, NZR just doesn’t know how to reach them and reap their money.
But Silver Lake, because of its history investing in clubs internationally, apparently does.
So Silver Lake will be also be throwing money into a loss-making enterprise.
But they might have the ability to whip that enterprise into shape.
We don’t, you and I don’t.
Luring mum and dad investors into wasting money on buying into NZR is not a smart game plan.

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