RSM New Zealand

Financial advice for professional sportspeople

Being an international sportsperson has become an extremely lucrative career especially over the last decade.  We have seen more movement than ever before from sportspeople becoming part of the global business of sport.

The landscape for the global business of sport is ever changing; from endorsements to contracts to the field, to fan engagement driving media to meet the demand for accessible sports broadcast coverage and content. 

New Zealand athletes are in high demand, especially in the following sporting codes: Golf (LPGA & PGA), Cricket (IPL), Rugby union (France), Rugby league (UK & Australia), Sailing (Americas Cup), Football (Asia & Europe) Motorsport and Basketball (NBA). Large contracts are being achieved by the athletes to be part of the entertainment production for fans and sponsors to experience.

New Zealand sports-people such as Lydia Ko (Golf), Steven Adams (Basketball), Chris Wood (Football), Hayden Paddon (Rally) and Scott Dixon (Racing) are well known in New Zealand, yet are arguably more widely recognised and famous on the international stage.

As a result, understanding and managing how international sports-people negotiate the business landscape has become a specialised area of accounting and consulting. This is a specialist area for RSM New Zealand, where we have successfully applied specialist skills and sports specific industry-intensive knowledge to benefit our clients in a dynamic and increasingly complex area.

Sportspeople can generate revenue across many differing facets around the world as contractors, employees or both. Appearance fees, sponsorship and promotional fees, endorsements, bonuses, wages, salaries, prize money and intellectual property income are just a few of the most common forms of revenue in the industry. The way these revenue streams are treated for Income tax and GST will vary depending on the nature of the source of the payments and where in the world it is earnt as well as whether tax has been deducted at source in various jurisdictions or not. Being able to understand these transactions is imperative not only from a tax perspective but also from a commercial sense. This allows greater clarity around decision making for sportspeople and their agents to secure the best deals/contracts.

The window of opportunity for professional sportspeople is usually short lived. Therefore, ensuring sportspeople are cared for from a financial and business perspective is vital to protect current and future earnings. Due to their popularity and either their wealth, or the potential for future wealth to be generated from their involvement, our professional sportspeople are approached and presented with many commercial opportunities and investments. As a result, it is imperative they have the right business advisors around them to do the due diligence and assist with identifying which opportunities may be most suitable and beneficial. Many professional sportspeople have leveraged these opportunities well in the business world both locally and internationally to grow their wealth and diversify and thus secured their financial futures.

The global business of sport and how professional athletes are interacting from a financial perspective has become much more innovative. Hence getting good advice is even more crucial for them.

RSM New Zealand are proud to be sponsoring the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open, New Zealand’s first LPGA Tour event. RSM is the presenting partner of the MCKAYSON Pro-Am tournament. We believe it is a great opportunity for all facets of business in sport to come together to be part of a first-time event in New Zealand.  

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