Lions Generate £5m Surplus In 2017

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2 May 2018

Peter Jackson writes in The Rugby Paper that he understands that the British and Irish Lions tour in 2017 generated a record £5m surplus for equal distribution among the four home countries.

The £1.25m return for each of the home countries provides further proof of the Lions’ unique commercial clout. The New Zealanders made not far short of £20m from the tour.

The NZRFU have reported a total income from last year’s tour of more than £125m, prompting chief executive Steve Tew to acclaim it as ‘an incredibly successful event’.

Jackson reveals that, despite the success, the future of the Lions is under threat. Premiership clubs are opposed to retaining the ten-match schedule because of the impact on the finale of their domestic season. Negotiations for the next three Lions tours with SANZAR had been scheduled for completion in the next few weeks.

That was before last week’s departure of Lions’ and Six Nations’ chief executive John Feehan after 16 years as one of the most successful power-brokers in the world game.

Feehan has warned that ‘if the Lions are killed off over the next three tours the Northern Hemisphere leverage is gone and a great brand of rugby is gone’.

On the Six Nations front, Feehan ran into flak last winter from Scotland and Wales as both countries were critical of the failure to raise more than £14m-a-year for the title rights.

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