The first was related to the recent World Bowls Championships in Christchurch. The article, from the organiser of the World Bowls Championships, stated that the event was a huge financial success, and that they had made a surplus of $330k. Revenues had come from commercial sponsorship, major events, and community (although ticket sales were disappointing) to fund the $1.5m event. This makes a funding surplus of just over 20%. Specifically, Christchurch City Council looked to put in $275k, based on economic benefits totalling $5.6m. NZCT looked to put in over $300k, and Major Events fund, who don’t actually identify their grants, seemed to put in $100k (based on the latest annual report from Bowls New Zealand). Now, the actual break downs of costs etc will not be available, as the event is run through a company, Bowls Events NZ Ltd. But we should be able to see a summarised view in due course which will hit the website sometime late next year.
What possibly won’t be readily available is a business case review: based on my back of the envelope calculations, there were 290 competitors, $5.6m in projected benefits: if we assume that each competitor brought three supporters (admin and family) then that means each person was responsible for $4,800 in local spend. Heck of a party!
And of course, this is only part of the story. There are club costs relating to the preparation of venues for the World Cup: I have previously looked at the funding to Bowls by CERT.
Now, I have no issues with profit making events. What I do have an issue with is Not for Profits taking community money as grants on the back of worst case budget preparation, and then not having the desire to return it when “real” income, such as sponsorship, ticket sales and broadcast fees push that budget into the black. I get a need for reserves, but how much is too much?
The other article that raised my blood pressure was of course news of the pay increases to rugby players. In case you missed it, NZRFU will be paying their professional players more through improved broadcast and sponsorship deals. Now, you may recall that I have been looking into grants for a while. In 2014, Rugby Union received $3.5m in Canterbury alone: if we extrapolate that up to a national figure, say 10%, then that would suggest $35m has gone from community funders into Rugby Union: an amount that’s half the professional player payment pool increase (gone from $120m to $190m over the next three years).
It’s great that NZRFU are looking to share their revenue gains with professional players. But how about those gains are shared with those people who put those professional players there in the first place: the grass roots clubs – the training institutions if you like. Then requests to community funders could drop accordingly, and that money go to organisations who perhaps could do more with it.
As an aside, just under 90% of that rugby union funding in Canterbury in 2014 came from gaming trusts: quite possibly funded by those with big dreams of wearing the black strip, peaking at the high school third 15.
Both these stories illustrate the same thing: the role of community funding within sports. For those sucking on the teat of philanthropy, its super easy to request and receive this sort of funding based on nebulous community benefits.
My Christmas wish? Aside from world peace, an end to poverty and for all children to grow up in safe and loving homes, it’s for better information so we, the community on whose behalf this money is spent, can understand exactly what’s happening within the funding ecosystem: where the money comes from, and where it goes. And I know just the girl to do that. If anyone else cares about transparency and having good information to make decisions, make it a new year’s resolution to give me a call.