The organisers of the FNB Varsity Cup has come out to explain why one of the more anticipated games in this year’s competition will not be televised.
As things stand now, the Maties and Tukkies are the only unbeaten teams in the competition, but their clash – which takes place in Stellenbosch – will not be televised on Monday, February 27.
Instead, defending champions FNB UCT’s trip to Port Elizabeth – to face FNB NMMU – will be live on SuperSport One at 5pm, followed by a mouth-watering tussle between last year’s losing semifinalists, FNB Shimlas and FNB UJ (kick-off 7pm).
Varsity Cup Managing Director Duitser Bosman explained: “Two years ago we took the decision to show matches that the public wanted to see – in other words, to televise the more successful teams.
“It was thus written into our constitution that the top two teams from the previous seasons would have five matches televised, teams three and four would have four televised games, teams five and six would get three opportunities on television and the seventh- and eighth-placed sides would get two games on TV.”
The Maties, Varsity Cup winners in 2008, 2009 and 2010, finished fifth in 2011 – hence the fact that they would be televised three times only in 2012.
“We met with SuperSport in August of last year to work out the TV schedule for 2012,” revealed Bosman.
“In order to televise one match, live on SuperSport, you need a crew of about fifty people, so you can’t just go and make changes to a television schedule to suit the in-form teams.
“At the same time, however, we also have a responsibility to all eight university brands, so making late changes would result in some teams losing out in promised live games.”
Bosman also pointed out that it would not be possible to change kick-off times on a Monday – i.e. creating an additional 3pm kick-off time – due to university (for the players and supporters), school and work commitments (for supporters and coaches).
“Monday Night Rugby has worked very well for the Varsity Cup brand,” he said, “it’s not something we could just change.
“Remember, Mondays are not Saturdays… people are not just lazing about at home watching live sport, so we’re appreciative of the great viewership already given that it essentially requires an extra effort from viewers to watch the Varsity Cup.
“I would like the tournament’s supporters to have a look at the fixture list and see how it works out on the whole – in terms of how many games their favourite teams get on TV. It’s not about individual matches, but rather the bigger picture over the whole season.”