Euro club rugby to hit jackpot

GAVIN MAIRS, writing in The Telegraph, says a new Champions League-style tournament will be a money-spinner for Europe's elite clubs with lucrative sponsorship and TV deals to be first priority.

According to Mairs, a European accord to establish three tournaments to replace the existing European Cup and European Challenge Cup is due to be signed by the nine stakeholders by the end of this week.

'The commercial value of the new streamlined elite competition, which will be reduced from 24 to 20 clubs, is also expected to soar,' he added. 'One industry insider predicted yesterday it would double over the next three years, even with little time to have new sponsors in place for the start of next season.

'This season’s European tournaments have generated a total of €52.7-million, a rise of 147% since 2004. That figure could double again over the next five years.

'The inaugural season of the tournament will see the revenue distribution split between the English clubs alone rise from €10.8-million to more than €20-million, an significant boost given the most Premiership clubs are still loss-making entities.

'The English and French clubs are so confident about expected growth in revenue that they have guaranteed that the first €20-million generated will be paid to the clubs in the Celtic Pro12, as well as the first €4-million made over the €60-million mark.'

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