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Reduction in match days prompts New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams to seek compensation
The owners of the licences for four of New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams are seeking compensation for an expected drop in revenues due to a league format change.
Public-service broadcaster TVNZ has reported that the owners of the Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes expect their gate receipts to fall significantly as of the 2021 season due to a reduction in the number of local derbies.
With Super Rugby moving from a regional conference format to a single league, round-robin competition - and contracting to 14 teams - in 2021, there will be fewer head-to-heads between New Zealand teams.
As a result, TVNZ has reported that the reduction in derby games in Super Rugby next year has created a "major faultline" between New Zealand Rugby and the private investors in the franchises.
News website Stuff.co.nz reported that NZ Rugby, New Zealand’s 26 provincial rugby unions, and the five Super League clubs are currently working on a major review of rugby in the country, to set it up for “sustained success over the next decade”.
There are five New Zealand Super Rugby teams, but the Auckland-based Blues no longer have a private licence after it was acquired by NZ Rugby last year due to poor performance on and off the pitch.
NZ Rugby is currently looking for a new private licence-holder for the Blues.
Super Rugby’s private licence-holders run the operational and business functions of Super Rugby teams and they also want a move to perpetual licences - the current licence system is time-limited.
While the simplified structure will be popular with fans, and players will be relieved to not have to play so many intense matches against their fellow New Zealanders, the halving of derby games from four to two is likely to have a negative effect on gate takings.
This is likely to force licensees to have to anticipate a drop in revenues, because the clashes between New Zealand teams traditionally draw the biggest crowds.
TVNZ has reported that because licensees don't receive any money from TV rights, they rely on ticket sales and sponsorships from those marquee matches to bolster their balance sheets and as a consequence are demanding compensation from NZ Rugby to bridge the shortfall.
TVNZ also reported that this week’s announcement of a revamped Japanese league posted a challenge to teams in New Zealand in terms of retaining their best players.
Japan’s Sunwolves are dropping from Super Rugby at the end of this season.
Image: The jersies to be worn by New Zealand's Super Rugby teams at the 2020 season launch.
31st January 2020 - World Rugby looks to create global tournament for emerging unions as of 2021
23rd January 2020 - Vodafone Super Rugby launches 25th season
20th December 2019 - Taranaki Rugby relocates Mitre 10 Cup matches to Inglewood’s TET Stadium
23rd November 2019 - Rugby World Cup drives enhanced global fan interest for the first time since 2007
21st November 2019 - New Zealand Rugby and Aktive extend Auckland partnership
20th November 2019 - New Global Rapid Rugby series to offer new competition in 2020
29th October 2019 - Eden Park to stage NRL and Super Rugby double header
21st October 2019 - Japan looks to future rugby growth and enhanced international opportunities
15th October 2019 - NZ Rugby secures stake in Sky TV as part of new broadcast deal
21st September 2019 - Competition opening sees Japan looking to stage ‘best-ever’ Rugby World Cup
10th September 2019 - New Zealand Rugby names former All Black as new Chief Executive
26th August 2019 - New Zealand’s Sky Network acquires RugbyPass streaming service
21st August 2019 - Taranaki Rugby slashes ticket prices at New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium
9th August 2019 - Injury concerns force World Rugby to introduce new tackling laws
9th August 2019 - Alarming decline in secondary school rugby in New Zealand
20th June 2019 - World Rugby scraps plans for new Nations Championship
22nd March 2019 - SANZAAR to axe Sunwolves from Super Rugby after 2020 season
10th November 2017 - Highlanders’ Super Rugby fixtures deliver near $2 million boost for Dunedin
13th December 2016 - Sunwolves look to engage Singapore sport fans in second Super Rugby season
24th June 2016 - Fiji ready to host first ever Super Rugby fixture
23rd May 2016 - Super Rugby set for 2018 competition overhaul
20th February 2016 - Super Rugby looks forward to expanded new season
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