Scottish Rugby generates £50million turnover for first time

2016/17 Highlights
- Annual turnover breaks the £50million mark for the first time; a £4m rise from 2015/16 through increased commercial incomes
- Income rises from ticketing (+25% vs 2014/15 season), broadcast (+22%) and sponsors, advertisers and events (+7%) all contribute to record turnover figure
- Nearly 600,000 fans watched international and professional matches in Scotland last season, including a record 101,000 fans visiting Scotstoun to see Glasgow Warriors
- Average debt reduced by £3.3m to £5.2million
- Scotland rose to 5th in World Rankings, Scotland U20s achieved highest ever finish of 5th in Junior World Championship, Scotland Women recorded highest Six Nations finish since 2010 and Scotland 7s won London round of World Rugby Sevens Series and recorded highest ever finish of 7th in overall series standings
- Investment in club support and development reported at £2.8million
- Growth recorded in women and girls’ teams, student rugby and Schools & Youth Conferences participation 
- Successful launches of Tartan Touch and #BeTheBestYou participation projects

Scottish Rugby has broken the £50million turnover mark for the first time it will be reported at its 2017 Annual General Meeting tomorrow (Saturday 5 August).

Increases in ticketing revenue, achieved through three sell-out RBS Six Nations matches in 2017 and growing crowds at other matches, improved broadcast rights payments and continued commercial growth from sponsors all contributed to creating a £4million increase in turnover to £51.4million from the 2016 accounts.

Scotland’s rose to 5th in the World Rankings achieved through 7 victories from 11 internationals last season underpinning the landmark turnover figure and supported by improved performances by Scotland 7s, Scotland Women and Scotland U20s. 

Nearly 600,000 fans watched an international or professional club game in Scotland last season which in turn led to a 25% rise in ticketing revenue, compared to the last non-Rugby World Cup year 2014/15, and a 22% rise in broadcast rights income. 

A surplus of £1.7 million was achieved in the 2016/2017 financial year and a £3.3million fall in the average debt, which was reported at £5.2million.

Investment into club support and development was £2.8million, alongside additional revenues for the domestic game from sportscotland and the Government’s Cashback for Communities Scheme.

Scotland’s two professional teams have also seen growth in key areas. 

Glasgow Warriors sold a record 4,839 season tickets and welcomed a record 101,889 fans to Scotstoun last season. Edinburgh Rugby increased its commercial revenues by 24% and welcomed six new sponsors into its portfolio. The capital club also hosted a sold out opening game at its new home at Myreside last season.

Scottish Rugby Chairman Colin Grassie said: “I’m delighted to report this year’s turnover of £51.4m was £4m higher than the previous year. This was due to increased ticket and broadcast income, as well as higher commercial income from a number of sponsorship agreements. 

“While this is pleasing, we cannot be complacent as professional player costs continue to rise and competition for broadcast and sponsorship deals remains fierce. Scottish Rugby is at a pivotal moment. We need to be creative to combat the challenges ahead while also driving forward our ambitious modernisation and commercial strategies.”

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson said: “It has been a successful season on a number of fronts, from Scotland winning all three home RBS 6 Nations matches in front of sell-out crowds to generating record revenue in a difficult financial climate. 

While we’re in a period of financial growth we must also be proactive and plan for the future, which is why we have set ourselves the long-term objective of generating significant external investment to secure the future of our game in Scotland. 

“The reduction of our average debt and the fantastic support from fans and all our partners is making it possible to significantly invest across the game in Scotland and the success of initiatives such as the Mitsubishi Schools & Youth Conferences, Tartan Touch and the #BeTheBestYou campaign demonstrate we are making positive progress in key areas.”

Scottish Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer Dominic McKay said: “We experienced our most successful season yet for Scotland crowds with three sell- out RBS 6 Nations games, a first for Scottish Rugby, following record autumn test sales. 

“Not only are more fans flocking to Scottish Rugby events than ever before, our broadcast reach continues to grow with Scotland games broadcast to millions of fans worldwide and hundreds of thousands of fans interacting with us daily across social media. 

“Our family of sponsors continues to grow with a range of diverse brands who assist in enhancing the match- day experience, including our principal partners BT and Macron.”

The 2016/17 financial figures will be presented at Scottish Rugby’s Annual General Meeting tomorrow – Saturday 5 August - at BT Murrayfield.

The 2017 AGM will not feature an election for President and Vice President as both offices had their terms extended to two years. Rob Flockhart, President and Dee Bradbury, Vice President therefore remain in post for the coming 2017/18 season after their appointments last year.