Super Rugby champions the Chiefs have been issued a seven year license by New Zealand Rugby (NZR) to run the organisation and the Taranaki Rugby Football Union have joined as investors.
The Chiefs licence holding entity is owned by a group of private investors and Provincial Unions and will be known as Chiefs Rugby Club Limited Partnership (CRC).
Taranaki Rugby Football Union is one of the Provincial Union investors and will now transfer into the Chiefs region, after being part of the Hurricanes franchise area since the inception of Super Rugby. This will bolster the playing strength within the region and also provide new commercial growth and fan engagement opportunities for the Chiefs.
The introduction of Taranaki will include the allocation of two competition games in 2014 and 2015 at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth. Waikato Stadium will continue to host a minimum of five home games per year. In 2014 six competition games will be played in Hamilton.
Game allocation in 2015 and beyond will be made on a year by year basis. Pre-season matches will continue to be spread around the region as part of the Chiefs desire to engage its fan base. Rotorua International Stadium will host the Blues pre-season match on 14 February of 2014.
As part of their community programme since assembling on 28 November the squad have already visited Thames, Whangamata, Tairua, Waihi, Mercury Bay and Te Aroha with many other community engagements planned.
Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman said "It is great to have our provincial unions involved as part of our investor group and with Taranaki joining us, we look forward to embracing the fans in one of New Zealand's most passionate rugby communities."
As part of the new era of the Chiefs, long term sponsor and iconic New Zealand company Gallagher will be the principal partner and naming right and front of jersey sponsor of the Chiefs Rugby Club from 2016. They will maintain their current sponsorship until 2015 and in 2016 the Chiefs will formally become the Gallagher Chiefs.
Sir William Gallagher, CEO and Chairman of Gallagher said, "We are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the Chiefs, and to significantly increase the level of our partnership with them. This relationship is based on integrity, ethics and passion, values that we at Gallagher value highly and practice daily ourselves."
Both organisations display commitment to the highest standards of performance, which is what makes this such an exciting sponsorship partnership."
The 3.3 million dollar investment into the Chiefs Rugby Club has been made by the Counties Manukau, Waikato, Thames Valley, Bay of Plenty, King Country and Taranaki Provinical Unions who jointly make up 50% of the capital investment, and a number of private investors who contributed the other 50%.
The capital investment breakdown is as follows:
Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union 11.55%
Waikato Rugby Union 11.55%
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union 11.55%
Taranaki Rugby Football Union 11.55%
Thames Valley Rugby Football Union 1.9%
King Country Rugby Football Union 1.9%
Waikato Syndicate 24.93%
Taranaki Syndicate 11.18%
Private investor 13.89%
Chiefs Chairman Dallas Fisher said, "It has been a significant project over the last nine months to pull together the commercial structures required to provide an outcome that is extremely robust, sustainable and will provide an exciting future for the Chiefs Rugby Club going forward."
"We acknowledge the contribution of all private and rugby investors who are all highly committed to a new and exciting era for the Chiefs. We now have the ability to invest in the future and continue to develop the Chiefs Rugby Club while providing resources to ensure our organisation continues to be world class."
Business capital will be deployed to a number of investment projects including the purchase of strength and conditioning equipment, rehabilitation systems and enhancement of the outside training facilities. There will also be further investments into commercial growth.
An Establishment Board has been set up. This Board will be responsible for the process of appointing the new board of seven members which will be comprised of five independent directors and two investor appointees. This process is expected to take two months.