HomeNewsFinance & MoneyRugby UnionNew Zealand

New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams seek compensation for format change

Crusaders celebrate winning the 2019 Super Rugby Final (by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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.