by Gordon Deegan
New Leinster captain, Johnny Sexton was compared to soccer legend, Lionel Messi this week and the star Irish No 10 displayed some nifty footwork off the pitch himself last year to increase profits at his company to almost €1.6m.
New accounts lodged by Sexton’s Jas Management & Promotions Ltd show that profits at the company increased by €28,719 from €1.567m to €1.596m in the 12 months to the end of September last.
The profits last year are quite modest compared to the profits of €431,788 earned by Sexton’s firm in 2017.
However, this is partly explained by the company directors, Sexton and his wife, Laura enjoying almost a seven-fold increase in pay from the firm going from €22,350 in 2016 to €150,864 last year.
During the same period, the company’s cash pile increased by just under €100,000 going from €1.1469m to €1.2463m.
The value of the company’s investments also increased during the year going from €351,729 to €376,773.
Sexton - who turned 33 last month - was a relative late-comer to the international scene and has been making up for lost time in the commercial world.
The almost €1.6m in accumulated profits at Sexton’s firm compares to accumulated profits of €476,099 at the firm at the end of 2014.
Sexton has enjoyed a stellar 2017/18 season where he led Ireland to a Grand Slam and Leinster to a European Cup.
Currently, Sexton’s off-field commercial deals are being guided by Conor Ridge’s Horizon Sports where Sexton is the firm’s most high profile client - other clients include Munster’s Peter O’Mahony and golfer, Shane Lowry.
Horizon Sports had a very public falling out with superstar golfer, Rory McIlroy where an out of court agreement in February 2015 in Dublin resulted in Horizon Sports receiving a reported €21.8 million ($25m) from the golfer.
The Dubliner is the most successful current Irish player from a playing - and commercial point of view - but he has some way to go to match the commercial success of his former - and retired - Leinster and Ireland team-mate Brian O’Driscoll whose main firm enjoyed profits last year of €880,913 to result in accumulated profits of €5.94m.
Sexton set up his firm in 2010 and is one of a number of rugby players with their own management companies to handle earnings from commercial ventures such as sponsorships and image rights.
Sexton’s off-field earnings in 2017 would have been boosted by the Lions tour of New Zealand - Sexton also acts as a brand ambassador for a number of companies.
Sexton is in no hurry to retire and has recently declared his aim to be part of the Lions tour of South Africa in 2021.
However, when he does retire, Sexton will be able to avail of the Government’s scheme for retired sports stars that allows them to claim back a 40% tax deduction on their gross earnings from sports activity over a 10 year period.
That includes wages and match bonuses, but does not include sponsorship money, payments for writing media columns or fees for appearing in advertisements.
The scheme costs the Government €300,000 per annum to operate.