AFL and RA Scramble to Resolve Revenue Issues of Halted Fixtures

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Social distancing measures enacted to counter the spread of Covid-19, or coronavirus, have had a magnified impact on aspects of life that typically involve large gatherings of people in close proximity to one another.

If someone were intent on building the perfect dagger to stop sports entertainment in its tracks, it would be hard to imagine a pointier, sharper and more effective blade.

The AFL has secured a line of credit from the banks, which makes it seem as though the 2016 AFL purchase of Etihad, now Marvel Stadium, was a shrewd move, as the property gave the AFL some leverage in the attempt to secure loans to stay afloat in 2020.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan reported that the league is committed to playing out the season, with a Grand Final being played months after the normal finale at the end of September, although that does not mean that fans will be allowed back in the stadiums if and when the league resumes.

Rugby Australia might not be so fortunate.

They lost over $9 million in 2019 and reports suggest that the body that oversees Super Rugby and international football is hanging on by a straw, with only about three months of financial reserves.

But for the grace…the AFL could have found itself in an equally precarious scenario.

Rugby Australia has resorted to cutting executive salaries, but that is more symbolic than anything else, as those executive salaries are a minor percentage of the operating expenses of Rugby Australia.

The dim bright spot in Rugby Australia’s circumstances is that as an international entity, there could be help from World Rugby.

It is not uncommon for RA to experience a drop in revenue in World Cup years, but RA might have a potential lifeline from World Rugby, which should be in pretty good financial shape from last year’s World Cup in Japan.