Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: New partnership for Blues

The Blues have announced a new partnership with a private investment company to run the franchise for the next seven years. Photo / Getty Images.
The Blues have announced a new partnership with a private investment company to run the franchise for the next seven years. Photo / Getty Images.

The Blues have announced a new partnership with a private investment company to run the franchise for the next seven years.

Bolton Equities, a private investment company run by Murray Bolton, will have a 40 per cent share of the deal which will see the Blues operate from September 1 under a new board chaired by Tony Carter, who is the current chairman of Fisher and Paykel Healthcare.

"We are very pleased to secure this new arrangement in our biggest city," NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said.

"This will ensure rugby at the professional level can keep thriving in a region where it faces stiff competition for sport fans' attention.

"The Blues are tracking well this year, but we all know one good season is not enough to sustain the game long term. This new arrangement is therefore a step forward in terms of building a stronger foundation for Investec Super Rugby in Auckland.

"With fresh thinking and new capital we believe the Blues will be better equipped to face the challenges ahead.

We are very pleased with the calibre of the new faces on the Blues board and welcome them to the rugby business where we are sure they will make a difference."

Bolton said the Blues were a key part of rugby's domestic and international landscape.
"I believe having local organisations with a vested interest in seeing the Blues exceed expectations by securing the management and operational rights, is an important step for the business and the region."

Tew said ensuring rugby was the sport of choice in Auckland was a key goal for New Zealand Rugby as part of its Towards 2016 strategy and the new operator would play a role in that.

"Winning in our biggest city is critical for us. We are working with our partner unions and others there to ensure rugby continues to attract fans and players so getting the structure right at the professional level will certainly help in that regard."

Last year New Zealand Rugby awarded licences for the Hurricanes and Crusaders. Good progress was also being made with the Chiefs which is the remaining licence available.

- NZ Herald

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