RW Exclusive: Greg Peters Answers

August 21, 2013
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SANZAR CEO last week agreed to asnwer Ruggaworld readers’ questions. Here are his responses:

1) St PetersburgBok asks: “Why this great concern over providing a format for the Aussie to have more derbies? NZ and SA have their own domestic competition which provides viewers this?”

GP: Local derbies were part of the competition design for Super Rugby agreed to by all three countries. Whilst there are concerns from South Africa re the repetitive nature of these due to a similar structure in the Currie Cup they are still the most watched and attended games in all three countries.

2) Jacques (Bunny) asks:  “What is the real option for the Super Rugby after 2016? Their is so much media speculation.”

GP: We are working with the three countries on options. SANZAR is a joint venture between the three Unions and a joint venture is like a marriage it requires compromise. One of the fundamentals for the next version is for SA to have 6 teams. That means the current structure has to change. There are only a limited number of weeks available and player welfare is a priority consideration. All that means there are limited options. The two conference model and and 18 team 3 conference model are the main ones we are considering.>

3) Biltongbek asks: “What is the benefit of lumping SA with Argentina in the proposed Super 18 format? How will revenue be split?”

GP: Argentina has aspirations to join Super Rugby and all three SANZAR countries have agreed to look at ways to make that happen. Realistically due to geographies the only way that can happen is for Arg to be involved in SA conference. Too early to comment on revenue split as that has not been considered yet.

4) Brendon asked:  “Super Rugby is essentially a television-based competition and as a result no lasting memories are created among fans (as would be the case with Heineken and Six Nations rugby)- How do you plan to fix this?”

TV coverage has improved to such an extent in recent years that all sports are facing challenges to keep crowds at the games. I am not sure I agree that there are no lasting memories from attending matches live. There have been some fantastic matches where the live at ground experience has been something special – both in Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship.

5) TonyM asks: “Greg, instead of reviewing SuperRugby in one dimension of the trilogy of SANZAR and the Super 15 & Rugby Championship- is it not time to consider simultaneously growing revenues and TV audiences in new markets with a Tier Two Super Rugby competition, run by SANZAR, with the participation of the 6th South African franchise, two Argentine teams, two Japanese teams and a US team to tap new broadcasters, viewers and corporate sponsors?”

GP: A good idea. The problem is getting the funding to make it work and cover costs. The IRB also has a number of regional competitions e.g. Pacific Rugby Cup. At the end of the day it is the IRB’s job to grow the global game; our job is to do what is in the best interests of the three SANZAR Countries.

6) Boertjie asks:  “It’s no secret that players are overplayed, hence all the injuries. Yet in order to earn what they want, they have to play 30-odd games per year. Is there any possible solution to this catch-22?”

Something we are very conscious of. The number of games is not dissimilar to what players play in the Northern Hemisphere the added issue in the South is the significant travel overlay, particularly for the top group of Test players from the SANZAR countries. We are looking to reduce the travel in the next version of Super Rugby.

> 7) Timeo asks:  “How about distributing the rugby games via the internet again? The Mediazone website was ahead of it?s time. Why was it abandoned? To me it seems, it would be beneficial to cut out the networks and satellite/cable providers middlemen and sell your product directly to the end users?”

GP: The digital space has evolved at a break-neck pace in recent times. Our global broadcasting agreements all have the digital rights included in them giving the broadcasters exclusivity that they value highly. The opportunity to deliver directly to the fan in future deals will be part of our considerations when we go to market again.

8) DavidS asks: 2.  “Is there a saturation point that SANZAR foresees where we have too much or enough rugby?”

We are certainly at the absolute maximum now and there is an argument that there is too much, particularly in SA and NZ. This is another one of the key principles that we are working towards for the design of the next version of Super Rugby.

Thanks so much for this Greg.

PS: We have since received some more questions, particularly from our twitter portal. I will Greg the opportunity to come onto the site and answer in person any further questions, so please fire away!

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10 Comments

  1. avatar Brendon says:
    August 21st, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I would love to see TRC played only once every 2 years and never in a world cup year.

    I also want to see the Super Rugby Champ play the Heineken Cup champ in a neutral venue – like Las vegas!

  2. avatar Timeo says:
    August 21st, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Regarding the digital rights.

    Here in the USA, the networks and the cable providers now clearly see the Internet as an enemy to their business. They buy the digital rights purely in order to restrict Internet based distribution. The model is that you may only watch it via the web, if you have a cable subscription already.

  3. avatar Brendon says:
    August 21st, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I also do not know anyone who has ever toured Oz/Nz to follow their team. Similarly I dont think I have ever met a tour group of kiwis or Ozzies when watching a super game at home.

  4. avatar Timeo says:
    August 21st, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    @Brendon:

    I think they should play the finals portion (S6 or S8) as a tournament rotating between the 4 countries. Perhaps even select a single city or region as a host.

    SR finals coming to Cape Town or Durban or Gauteng every 12 to 16 years would make it very special.

  5. avatar Brendon says:
    August 21st, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    @Timeo:

    makes no sense. Why not make it available online for a fee? In a global world that makes the most sense. TV networks could make a packet if they embrace this – yet Unions and orgs like SANZAR xould potentially make lots more by distributing their product direct to the public- but who produces the content? Who films the games?

  6. avatar Brendon says:
    August 21st, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    @Timeo:

    100% my thinking.

    and imagine being able to plan and book a holiday in 2 years time knowing say Sydney or Auckland will host these games? Even locally people are more likely to go see a string of games in say Durban than travel to Bloem for a once off.

  7. avatar Brendon says:
    August 21st, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    even if Saders tour SA for example, there are 3 games on a Saturday all at a different venue and covered by TV. Why not have at least 2 games back-to-back in same stadium?

  8. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    August 21st, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    @Brendon:

    At twice the price… and break between… who really has the time nor attention span…

    Nup I do my Rebels games (only sometimes watch the curtain-raiser) and there were some crackers this year… like the Stormers and Waratahs upsets… other than that I prefer to watch games at home in Melbourne winters or the local (and I rarely pay for tickets)…

  9. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    August 21st, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Great work on the Peters piece mate…

  10. avatar DavidS says:
    August 22nd, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Glad to see my question was last and the cool sunglasses one…

    The most important thing for me was the realization by SARU and NZRU that playing is at an absolute maximum and expressing concern over player management.

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