Rugby Australia could still walk away from Super Rugby in 2024, with the governing body disappointed after New Zealand rugby reneged on its promises.
“They’ve been naughty boys,” RA chairman Hamish McLennan told foxsports.com.au.
It comes as RA responds to calls for private equity deals, which promise to inject between $100 million and $200 million into the game.
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Almost six weeks ago, the longtime partners met in Adelaide ahead of Australia’s historic double against New Zealand’s Black Ferns and South Africa’s Springboks.
In the City of Churches, the NZR board, led by chief executive Mark Robinson, sat in a meeting room with their RA counterparts and tried to hammer out a deal to secure their national future until ‘in 2030.
There, Robinson, NZR board members Bart Campbell and Bailey Mackey, and Blues chairman Don Mackinnon showed whiteboard modeling of the way forward for Super Rugby Pacific.
They spoke to RA CEO Andy Marinos, McLennan, manager Matthew Hanning, Waratahs chairman Tony Crawford and Brumbies chairman Matt Nobbs.
At the center of the fixtures was a financial imbalance and how the two Unions could once again make Super Rugby the envy of the world.
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Right now, there’s a huge imbalance between the two broadcast deals, with RA’s Stan/Nine deal only worth $33 million a year. This is well below the estimated $100m Sky Sport pays NZR.
So when Robinson came to the drawing board with his version of RA’s 50-50 split, the governing body, with the support of its various stakeholders, agreed.
Since then, however, the tide has changed with NZR presenting an alternative proposal.
With a Lions series on the horizon in 2025 and a home World Cup in 2027, as well as a looming private equity deal, RA believe they would be shooting themselves in the foot if they agreed to the deal .
“The idea of this meeting in Adelaide was to bring everyone together and try to get a deal done,” Nobbs told foxsports.com.au.
“And they had done a lot of work, but it looked like they had done the heavy lifting before consulting with their members.
“It seems like once they introduced us they then went back to their members and said that was our proposal to RA and I think their members obviously left, wait, ‘I think you have to Probably try a little harder and see if we can squeeze out a little more RA’.
Nobbs said RA and their Super Rugby franchises were simply trying to achieve ‘parity’.
The Brumbies chairman backed McLennan’s call that if an equal deal is not presented, they will still consider forming their own domestic competition.
“I think if you want to have a fair and equal partnership, which RA strives for, you don’t want a situation where you have a dominant partner,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we have to try to make this competition the best provincial competition in the world, and I don’t think that’s the case at the moment because I think if you look at the results of the Wallabies and the results of the Kiwis against Ireland, the idea that this is the best provincial competition in the world no longer holds.
“I think these nations in the northern hemisphere have caught up with us.
“Personally, I think we need to work together to make this a really, really strong competition.
“To do that, it has to be a fair and equal partnership, because you don’t want one dominant party trying to screw up the other.”
Tensions arise as NZR tries to push RA into signing a private equity deal with Silver Lake.
After a year of negotiations, the NZR has signed an A$180 million deal with the US company. A number of other unions, as well as Six Nations, have signed agreements with CVC.
This means that the NZR could be isolated if RA does not sign an agreement with Silver Lake.
“I mean they’ve done a private equity deal on the condition that Australian teams will be part of a Super Rugby competition in the future,” Nobbs said.
While Nobbs admitted both unions had time up their sleeves, he said it was vital they made the competition as “robust as possible”.
“It’s important that it gets done, we have time but certainty is the most important thing, especially when you have commercial departments who want to sit down with potential sponsors or partners,” he said. declared.
“It’s much easier to turn around and say, ‘Look, we’ve signed a deal with New Zealand Rugby until 2030, the competition is here to stay. We’re going to make this the best provincial competition in the world.
“Then suddenly you have a much easier conversation with potential sponsors and investors than if you have a competition that runs year after year.”