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Tri-Nations exceeds $4m profit
The Tri-Nations series might have been criticised from the ARL, NRL and the clubs but it has been an outstanding success with profits to exceed the $4million mark.
Crowd figures, sponsorship and TV revenue will see the Tri-Nations have an estimated profit of around ?2million, which is AU$4.8million
A total of 182,313 people turned up to the seven Tri-Nations matches, which included three complete sell-out crowds, two very close to capacity, a strong London turn out for Australia vs New Zealand and one match in New Zealand.
RFL Executive Chairman Richard Lewis said,
"A million-pound figure would be misleading but it has been a profitable tournament and I think the biggest beneficiary will be the International Federation because it has re-established their finances on a sound footing.
"They can invest in the international game and that is something we will see the fruits of in the future as we plan and invest for the World Cup in 2008. It's important to expand the international game.
"It's the first year in which really significant funds have come into the International Federation coffers since 2000.
"The game is in very good health. It's growing and we deliver very good value for money for sponsors.
"Gillette are absolutely delighted with the tournament. It has exceeded their expectations and they have indicated they would like to be in it for the long term. That's the message that will go around the corporate world.
"We've had a lot of interest and entertained a lot of companies during the Tri-Nations to show rugby league at its best and everyone has been impressed.
"I felt before the final that it is was highly likely that we would be able to play the tournament again in England in 2005 and I still think that's the case. I certainly think that's the right thing to do.
"The final was very disappointing after all the expectation but I don't think in the overall scheme of things that the defeat will have made a huge amount of difference to the issues.
"The fundamentals weren't changed, the tournament was a massive success. It captured the imagination not just of the rugby league fans but sports fans around the country.
"I have no doubt that the media profile was raised quite significantly and I think, when we get those hard facts and feedback from TV and sponsors, that the case is going to be very strong to hold it again in Britain next year."
Unfortunately, there are calls from the "visionaries" in Australia to have the Tri-Nations scrapped for 2005 but the levels of support, interest and much-needed income for the developing nations makes it absolutely imperative that the Tri-Nations continues in the same format in 2005 and inveriably works to extend the Tri-Nations to championship consisting of the top four Nations in non-World Cup years.