Wellington Phoenix receive nearly $1m, Warriors $200k from Sport NZ relief package

The Wellington Phoenix. Picture: STUFF SPORTS.

A-League football club Wellington Phoenix has received $950,000 in Government funding, nearly one-quarter of Sport NZ’s Covid-19 financial relief package for professional sport announced on Thursday.

Sport NZ dished out a total of $4.6 million, the first release of investment from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced last month as part of Budget 2020.

Aside from the Phoenix, NRL club the New Zealand Warriors got $200,000 while Netball New Zealand (NNZ) and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) each got a hefty cash injection to help resume their respective domestic competitions later this month.

NNZ gets $2.2 million for its ANZ Premiership and NZR $1.25 million for Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Basketball NZ missed out on any allocation for its revamped NBL while the country’s two other professional teams the Breakers (basketball) and Tuatara (baseball) are in their respective off-seasons.

In a statement, Sport NZ chief executive Peter Miskimmin said the purpose of this funding was to provide immediate financial relief to help these clubs and competitions remain viable, and to assist with costs required to get competitions back up and running.

“This investment acknowledges the critical role these professional franchises play in entertaining New Zealanders and uniting communities, as well as inspiring young people and providing important end-to-end pathways for talented sportspeople,” Miskimmin said.

“Professional sport franchises do not typically receive government investment, but in the Sport Recovery Package we have an opportunity to provide relief to other organisations who are also critical to our system. We know they have exhausted their financial options and that they make such a valuable contribution to our sector and national and regional economies.”

Each pro sporting club or national body had the chance to present their case to Sport NZ as to their financial position in the wake of the economic crisis created by Covid-19.

Phoenix general manager David Dome said: “Without this support professional football, which is a critical part of football in New Zealand, could be lost indefinitely.

“We hope this, like the return of club football, will provide a positive boost for players and fans around the country.”

The Phoenix are soon to cross the Tasman where they will be based when the A-League resumes.

The Warriors have already resumed their NRL competition and are based in Gosford.

Chief executive Cameron George said the Warriors “are very appreciative and grateful of government and Sport NZ for this financial assistance.

“Like all businesses, in sport or otherwise, it’s been a torrid time and this assistance will help us continue through 2020.”

NZR CEO Mark Robinson said: “Our Super Rugby clubs, along with all areas of rugby and different sectors of New Zealand, have been facing incredible financial challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, so this generous government package will help them kick off and compete in Super Rugby Aotearoa with real momentum.”

NNZ CEO Jennie Wyllie said: “Netball New Zealand is incredibly appreciative of the government’s financial support of the ANZ Premiership Netball League and teams in 2020.

“Like all businesses, Covid-19 has had a serious impact on netball in New Zealand, both at community and elite level. Having government support at this time means we can together get another part of the economic sector up and running quickly.”


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