South Africa the BIG losers in Super15 deal

Australian rugby boss John O’Neill (pictured) has yet again emerged as the big winner of the SANZAR alliance’s latest deal in which the partners agreed to continue with Super Rugby and expand it to a Super 15.

O’Neill has a history of looking after Australia – remember the 2003 Rugby World Cup when New Zealand lost the hosting rights and then backing Japan for the 2011 Rugby World Cup – and it appears that O’Neill has done it again for Australia.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed to the Sunday Star Times that in the upcoming deal the partners will split their future revenue three equal ways.

In the previous broadcasting deal brokered with News Ltd in 2004, Australia received about 29%, New Zealand 32% and South Africa 38%.


However, with the spoils split three ways, as are costs, that should result in a big windfall for the cash-strapped ARU.

South Africa will take the biggest knock as it means that they will receive 5% less of the USD $323m which the last deal went for – and the Super 15 deal is expected to go for more as it will have more matches and therefore more content.

In South African terms that equates to USD$ 16.15 million or a ZAR 133.7 million knock which is enormous given that South Africa are the Rugby World Champions and bring in “well over 50%” of the value in the SANZAR deal due to them being in line with the bulk of the world’s rugby population which brings in big TV viewer numbers.


When the last SANZAR deal was done South Africa included the rights to the British and Irish Lions which was further justification for their higher percentage but now all of the extras have been unbundled so Australia get to keep the full rights for the 2014 British and Irish Lions tour.

Further to this, under the old agreement, revenue generated from New Zealand’s national provincial championship was thrown into the Sanzar pot but those rights have now been unbundled.

That means Tew can on-sell them and keep all the money rather than having to give Australia and South Africa a percentage.

How much New Zealand will get for them remains to be seen given the competition’s drop in prestige. The same could be said of the June internationals, which have also been unbundled, but are in desperate need of re- invigoration.

Tew said they were both significant gains.

“We have come out of it OK. It gives us greater power over our own destiny in terms of how we sell our domestic Air New Zealand Cup.” he said.

“We also got a later Super 15 start date, more local derbies and a competition that goes for longer that gives us more traction.” he told the Sunday Star Times.

South Africa’s concession is offset by the independent sale of its Currie Cup rights but the fact is, the South Africans still bring in “well over 50%” of the Sanzar broadcasting revenue, Tew said.

“We argued last time that it should have been a third, a third, a third. We ended up conceding some percentage points to get South Africa across the line in 2004.

“I think now everybody agrees the new model is fair. If we fell back to the previous model we would have lost money and we were not willing to do that.”

Assuming broadcasters are at least willing to pay what they have in the past, Tew feels that New Zealand should finish better off than in the past and

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