ACT Brumbies secure in RA takeover after confirmed ownership model

Tue, Jul 9, 2024, 9:40 AM
by AAP and Nathan Williamson
Press Conference: ACT Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson

The ACT Brumbies' future in Canberra has been secured after they agreed to transfer operational control to Rugby Australia (RA).

The country's most successful Super Rugby Pacific outfit made the announcement on Tuesday, with the ACT&SNSWRU agreeing to transfer ownership of the ACT Brumbies professional rugby operations and related business assets to a newly established entity that is owned and controlled by Rugby Australia.

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There was widespread pushback from clubs when the prospect was first floated more than a year ago. 

But the Brumbies have now followed the lead of the NSW Waratahs, who handed over the keys at the start of the year.

The financially strapped Melbourne Rebels were axed from the competition for next season, while the Queensland Reds and Western Force remain independent of RA.

Queensland Rugby Union has stated a position of support for high-performance alignment, but not commercial or corporate functions.

The Brumbies, the two-time champions and only Australian team in this year's semi-finals, fought hard for assurances the club would remain in Canberra before agreeing to the deal.

"That was a critical element," RA chief executive Phil Waugh said on Tuesday.

Despite their success, the Brumbies have struggled to generate match-day revenue through ticketing, while RA's funding decrease and failure to secure additional private deals led to the decision.

Uncertainty ahead of the next broadcast deal from 2026 was also a factor, Brumbies chairman Matt Nobbs said.

"There's a number of uncertainties still out there," he said. 

"The big one is the next broadcast deal and what that's going to look like and what the number will be.

"As an organisation, as a board, we're pretty optimistic that number should exceed the current deal with what's on the landscape."

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