Scottish Rugby puts Murrayfield changes at heart of financial plan

Murrayfield Stadium

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Scottish Rugby is formulating a redevelopment plan for Murrayfield Stadium as it seeks to address losses of more than £15m over the last two years.

Rugby’s governing body in Scotland has issued a financial reset programme after seeing a loss of £6.7m during the 12 months to May 2024. This followed a £10.5m loss during the previous accounting year.

A new two-year timetable to reset Scottish Rugby’s financial position includes changes at Murrayfield, the national rugby stadium in Edinburgh. The body is to allocate capital investment to focus on stadium improvements and development to improve customer experience and revenue opportunities through increased hospitality offerings.

It is understood that the Murrayfield plan is still a work in progress. While “significant funds” have been agreed to undertake the work, Scottish Rugby is still scoping out what this will entail and a detailed timetable.

“Significant funds will be allocated for investment in Scottish Gas Murrayfield over the next two financial years to cover essential remedial and customer improvement works and also to create additional revenue streams through an enhanced hospitality offer,” Scottish Rugby said in its financial reset statement.

Scottish Rugby eyes return to profit

Scottish Rugby believes the programme will lead to a significantly reduced loss, projected to be around £3.1m, in the 2024-25 financial year. This is expected to be followed by a breakeven position in financial year 2025-26 and a return to profit in the following year.

The programme includes a review of operational spend and a pause on recruitment, with the exception of the chief executive and performance director roles. Mark Dodson, the body’s chief executive since 2011, announced earlier this year that he would depart this summer.

A review of headcount in every Scottish Rugby department, in light of the reprioritisation of activities and financial reset, has identified around 35 positions as being potentially removed.

Scottish Rugby Ltd chair, John McGuigan, said: “The financial sustainability of Scottish Rugby is our absolute priority as it enables all the other things we aspire to do to work. We have taken proactive steps to achieve this and the Scottish Rugby board will continue to keep our financial position at the forefront of its decision-making.

“We tasked our executive team to reprioritise resources, so we can follow our planned strategy for future investment and growth. This will be challenging in the short-term, but necessary. For our sport and business to grow we have taken the difficult, but we believe the right, and responsible approach to secure the longer-term future of our game. This reset is critical to realise the ambitions we are committed to as part of our strategy.”

Scottish Gas took on naming rights to Edinburgh’s Murrayfield as part of a wide-ranging sponsorship deal with Scottish Rugby signed in July 2023.

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