Provincial rugby is in solid financial health, the latest audit of the 14 ITM Cup unions shows.

The unions achieved a combined annual surplus of around $3.2 million, up from $500,000 the previous year and the largest collective surplus recorded, according to the third edition of the Deloitte Sports Review "State of the Unions" report released today.

The report examines the annual financial accounts of the 14 semi-professional and amateur rugby unions competing in the ITM Cup.

It revealed there has been an overall improvement in financial performance in 2013, delivering a second straight collective surplus on the back of positive results for each of the 14 unions.


The combined revenue was $69.1 million for the 2013 financial year (FY13) - a $2.1 million (3.2 per cent) increase over the FY12 results, but still down $7.5 million (9.8 per cent) from FY09 revenue.

Deloitte partner Grant Jarrold says the collective surplus is because of increased revenue and decreased operating costs, putting the ITM Cup rugby unions in a solid financial position for the future.

"These results represent a solid turnaround for the unions over the past few years. They have collectively sidestepped their way out of some of their past financial challenges and can now focus on continuing to enhance the match day experience for the fans and increasing the support base from local communities. It would appear that fiscal prudence and governance have improved and this can only bode well for the future of our national game at all levels," Jarrold said.

A change to the NPC competition format has seen operating expenditure for the provincial unions decrease by $15.7 million since the 2009 financial year. A breakdown of expenses for the last financial year showed around 47 per cent went towards team and match related costs, 32 per cent for growing the game and 21 per cent for administration.

"The unions collectively invested more than $20 million in growing the game in FY13, an increase of $1.2 million from the previous year, supporting the future of New Zealand's favourite game," he said.