New Zealand Rugby banks massive profit from Lions tour

New Zealand Rugby [NZR], buoyed by last year's British & Irish Lions tour, has announced a record $NZ 33.4 million profit for the 2017 financial year.

NZR earned $NZ257m in income, offset by $NZ224m in expenditure paying salaries and hosting the Lions tour, three Rugby Championship fixtures and a Test against Samoa. They also grew sponsorship by 14 percent.

NZR chief Steve Tew said the Lions series came in slightly ahead of budget, and its profits would be spread out over the coming years. They made $NZ40m more from the 10-match Lions series - including three Tests - than they would have in a typical three-Test June series.

The Test series ultimately ended in an extraordinary 1-1 tie, after the third and deciding Test concluded in a 15-15 draw.

"The New Zealand Lions Series generated massive interest both here in New Zealand and globally and that's reflected in the numbers, but it needs to be put in the context of being a one-in-twelve-year-event," Tew said.

"If you look at 2017 we had an unusual number of top quality international rugby matches played on New Zealand soil and, as a result, NZR benefited from a significant spike in income, mainly from increased gate takings and broadcasting revenue."