SA fans losing interest in Super Rugby

A complicated format and South Africa's lacklustre performances have resulted in declining TV and crowd figures for Super Rugby in this country.

Rapport recently revealed that SuperSport had 3.8-million fewer viewers for the tournament in 2016 than in 2012. Newlands (52%) is the only local venue to be more than half full this season (with an average crowd of 26,992), followed by Kings Park (45%, 23,591), Loftus Versfeld (35%, 17,921), Ellis Park (32%, 19,808), Free State Stadium (17%, 7,780) and Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (15%, 6,914).

Sanzaar has asked consulting firm Accenture to do a strategic review of the two-group, four-conference Super Rugby format and provide a road map for the next 10 years.

'The Pacific Islands is a region that can be incorporated if Sanzaar wants to expand the tournament,' CEO Andy Marinos told Rapport. 'The current structure presents challenges. The goal is to have the best possible format that caters for all the expectations of the various role players.'

According to Rapport, SA Rugby is expected to ask for more local derbies and for all of its teams to play against New Zealand sides. Under the current format, the South African teams in the Africa 1 conference play Australian and not New Zealand sides.

Marinos says the quantity of rugby and South African franchises' lack of success are other reasons for declining TV and crowd numbers.

'Obviously the declining figures are worrying. But you have to take into account the amount of rugby that is now being broadcast and the way in which consumers use digital content.

'The performance of South African teams at the moment plays a role in that. Successful teams and high-quality matches drive attendance and TV audiences.'

Photo: Tertius Pickard/Gallo Images

Post by

Simon Borchardt