File picture: REUTERS
File picture: REUTERS

Wellington — New Zealand Rugby has announced a record profit of $23.8m on the back of 2017’s British and Irish Lions tour.

The 10-match tour was virtually a sell-out, with 342,000 tickets sold as tens of thousands of Lions fans flooded into New Zealand for an event that happens every 12 years.

New Zealand Rugby said the tour poured an extra $28.8m into its coffers, doubling the amount it made the last time the composite side visited in 2005. It said government data estimated the economy as a whole benefited to the tune of $176.7m.

New Zealand Rugby generally runs at a loss — it was $5.4m in the red in 2017 — and CE Steve Tew said the organisation would use the windfall wisely.

"The reality is we won’t have those advantages over the next three years, but we have planned for that."

The three-Test series ended in a 1-1 draw as the Lions — made up of players from England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland — exceeded expectations against the All Blacks, the world champions.