21 November 2022

The Brumbies prepare to sell up to 49 per cent of the club to ensure its sustainability and remain competitive

| Tim Gavel
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Brumbies players warming up in a ruck

Brumbies players warming up in a ruck. Photo: Brumbies Media.

The value of the Brumbies brand is about to be tested on the open market with up to 49 per cent of the club up for sale.

The prediction is that it will attract plenty of interest as the brand is recognised globally as the most successful Australian Super Rugby franchise.

The Brumbies are currently 100 per cent owned by ACT Rugby Union. Under the proposal, ACT Rugby will retain control through a 51 per cent holding.

Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson said Freshwater Strategy has been engaged to put the proposal together.

“It’s something we have discussed at board level for a number of years and we have now decided to go to market to explore private interest,” Mr Thomson said.

The ACT has returned to Brumbies Rugby name

The Brumbies brand is recognised globally as the most successful Australian Super Rugby franchise. Photo: ACT Brumbies.

The money raised will be invested in the Brumbies’ community-based programs at a grassroots level, as well as bolstering the Super Rugby and Super W programs.

The initiative also responds to growing pressure to keep pace with rival Super Rugby programs.

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The financial boost from private investment will ensure the world-class program is maintained and enhanced.

It would also provide the organisation with sustainability.

Private investment is commonplace in sports such as the NBL and baseball in Australia and has been embraced by many sports overseas, including in the English Premier League and across US sports.

Brumbies at Canberra Stadium

Brumbies at Canberra Stadium. Photo: File.

It would appear now is a good time to test the worth of the Brumbies brand both locally and overseas with a runway of major events involving the sport on the calendar, notably the 2027 Men’s World Cup and the Women’s World Cup in 2029.

So what is the monetary value of the Brumbies to a potential investor? So far, the Brumbies are staying mum.

“We’ve done a lot of financial modelling. We’ve come up with a number but it remains commercial-in-confidence,” Mr Thomson said.

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There are plenty of success stories of private investment in sporting teams, but there are also disasters associated with 100 per cent privatisation.

This is the primary reason why ACT Rugby Union will retain 51 per cent of the club and the Brumbies will remain community-based.

Phil Thomson is also well aware of the importance of compatibility with a potential investor.

“There will be a lot of due diligence on both sides. It’s important to find the right investor.”

With the word now out that the Brumbies are in the market exploring potential private investment, it’s expected to create plenty of interest and speculation at the same time.

The Brumbies’ effort comes at a time when Rugby Australia is also exploring further private investment. It was reported in 2021 that Rugby Australia secured a $40 million short-term funding deal with the US asset management firm Ares Management.

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I thought the sale of the land at Griffith was supposed to set them up financially for the long term.

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