The private companies that own the licences for four Super Rugby teams from New Zealand are seeking compensation from New Zealand Rugby for an expected drop in revenues due to a league format change, according to local media.
Public-service broadcaster TVNZ reported that the Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders expect their gate receipts to fall significantly next season due to a reduction in the number of local derbies. Super Rugby is contracting to 14 teams in 2021, with the departure of Japan’s Sunwolves. The competition is moving from a regional conference format to a single league, round-robin format, meaning fewer head-to-heads between New Zealand teams.
Super Rugby’s private licence-holders run the operational and business functions of Super Rugby teams.
TVNZ reported that the teams have already rejected one offer from NZ Rugby.
The teams also want a move to perpetual licences – the current licence system is time-limited.
There are five New Zealand Super Rugby teams in total – the 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 team.
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”.
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.