New Zealand Rugby and its five franchises are undertaking a complete review of the sustainability of the country’s Vodacom Super Rugby model.
NZ Rugby announced on Monday that Super Rugby will come under immediate scrutiny in a wholesale review of the tournament. The review, which will be called Aratipu, will look at various options for the competition in New Zealand, specifically how it can grow, regenerate and invigorate after a prolonged period of falling interest.
Led by Blues chairman Don Mackinnon, the review will focus on how the competition can remain relevant both locally and internationally.
It will also confront issues around fan engagement and financial sustainability.
A review of franchise licences was already under way, but Covid-19 has prompted officials to take a deeper look at the future of the competition.
‘The work we are announcing today will look at a range of options for the future of Super Rugby in New Zealand,’ said Mackinnon.
‘With the goal of offering a competition that engages fans, is financially sustainable whilst continuing to develop outstanding players ready for national representative rugby.
‘All of the Super Rugby licenses were up for renewal in 2020 and a review was already under way as part of that. However the impact of COVID-19 creates another dimension and means we need to take a broader look at how we continue the 25-year legacy of Super Rugby for New Zealand.’
NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said it was the natural next step, after NZ Rugby’s sweeping review earlier this year.
‘The review is about ensuring our Super Rugby remains relevant, sustainable and our fans are entertained and engaged,’ said Robinson.
‘The recent “Review of Rugby” highlighted areas of opportunity for Super Rugby in terms of both revenue and cost. We are now also factoring in the impact of Covid-19 to look at a range of scenarios for the clubs and competition to keep the Super Rugby legacy strong and fit for purpose.’
Mackinnon and Robinson will be joined by Chiefs chair Tonia Cawood, Hurricanes chair Iain Potter, Crusaders chair Grant Jarrold, Highlanders chair Doug Harvie, NZR chair Brent Impey and private investor representative Liz Dawson.
A preliminary report will be provided to the NZR board at the end of June 2020, and the complete findings will be provided later in the year.
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