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!