The English Rugby Football Union (RFU) saw an 87-per-cent rise in ticketing revenue during 2016-17.

The national governing body published its annual report and accounts yesterday (Thursday).

Overall, investment in rugby was up to a record £99.6m ($134m/€113m), while the results showed an operating loss of £6m in 2016-17. However, it was noted that the lower year-on-year revenues could be attributed to England hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Ticket revenues, excluding World Cup games, increased year-on-year by £17.6m, or 87 per cent, as Twickenham hosted seven games – three Six Nations internationals, plus four autumn Tests.

Some 1.1 million seats were sold for the 17 matches at Twickenham, with the East Stand currently being refurbished to add hospitality space and boost finances.

The report also found that investment in rugby was up £9.8m, or 11 per cent, on 2015-16, bringing the total investment in the five years of the strategic plan cycle to £408m, up by 16 per cent.

RFU chief executive Steve Brown said,: “This was always going to be a period of reinvigoration and I am glad to say that a comparison with the last season with the same match profile and unaffected by the Rugby World Cup 2015 revenues, shows total revenue up by 20 per cent.

“Growth was achieved across the key revenue streams, and our overheads were nine per cent lower year on year.”

The RFU also pointed to a sixth successive year of increased investment in rugby development and its commitment to investment in facilities, including artificial grass pitches.