ORFU to be run by DVML

Wayne Graham
Wayne Graham
The Otago Rugby Football Union will drop from a high of 36 staff in 2006 to a small core group next year, and move from Carisbrook to an office at Forsyth Barr Stadium, as its non-rugby responsibilities go to Dunedin Venues Management Ltd.

In what ORFU chairman Wayne Graham said was a "massive change" for the union, ticketing, sponsorship and commercial activities would be all taken over by the Dunedin City Council-owned DVML.

The union would have "at least half a dozen employees looking after rugby, from kids to the ITM Cup".

DVML chief executive David Davies said yesterday while the change was going ahead, due diligence was still under way.

The "shape and form" of the relationship were still being discussed, so details were uncertain.

But in a press release yesterday, Mr Graham and Mr Davies said the ORFU and DVML would "align resources with immediate effect".

The move would reduce overheads, share costs and achieve greater benefits for fans, sponsors and all stakeholders.

At its peak, in 2006, the Otago union had 36 staff.

There were 19 listed in the union handbook this year.

Major reviews in 2006 and 2009 led to restructuring and some job losses, but the major reason for the drop in staff has been that the union no longer operates a Super rugby franchise or owns Carisbrook.

ORFU general manager Richard Reid resigned last month, and Mr Graham said there was no rush to make a replacement appointment.

Marketing manager Doug McSweeney and commercial manager Mike Kerr had also left.

The recently advertised sales and marketing and rugby manager positions would be put on hold until the transition had been completed.

The ORFU's last day at Carisbrook would be in the middle of this month, after which the union would move to offices at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Mr Graham said yesterday from Auckland, where he was attending a New Zealand Rugby Union meeting, commercial responsibilities and marketing would go to DVML.

"They are doing that anyway. It is no use us having a commercial arm and them having a commercial arm."

With the separation of Otago and the Highlanders, and the ORFU no longer owning Carisbrook, it no longer had to pay for everything from groundskeeping to building maintenance.

Two staff were doing commercial work, which was costing "a considerable sum of money".

The change would considerably lower overheads.

Mr Davies said DVML would take over game-day operations.

From the outside, he said it was as if the two organisations were "dating, but the relationship is not consummated yet".

Asked what the dowry was, he said the union made savings, and "from our perspective, it gives us a much stronger relationship with our major tenant.

"What everyone is trying to do is get some economies of scale."

Instead of sales staff from two or three organisations trying to get sponsorship, it made more sense for just one to do the work.

There had been discussions with the Highlanders, which were ongoing, he said.



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