SA’s Super15 revenue deal is ‘laughable’

Former South African Rugby Union (Saru) president Brian van Rooyen has accused his successors of “handing SA’s crown jewels on a platter to its Sanzar partners” after agreeing to compromise on the Super 15 deal and described the new agreement as “laughable”.

Under the new SANZAR deal South Africa will have their previous percentage of the funds generated cut by 5% from 38% to 33%.

South Africa bring the biggest numbers in TV viewers to the SANZAR deal which justifies the extra 5% revenue share.

This 5% reduction works out at R137 million in reduced revenue for South Africa over the next five years – if the deal stays at the same value which is unlikely given the expansion of the Super 14 to a Super 15.

SA Rugby however say that they have never been better off financially as they were able to un bundle the Currie Cup and June Internationals from the deal.

The SANZAR deal will now only include Super Rugby and the TriNations.

In the last deal SA Rugby included the Lions tour and as the next Lions tour will be in Australia they will be able to sell those rights off as they will retain the rights as all rugby outside of Super Rugby  and the TriNations is excluded from the SANZAR deal. This alone will be an enormous windfall for Australia given that South Africa has shared the current rights in the currently running deal.

Van Rooyen says that SA should have called Australia and New Zealand’s bluff following their threats to break away from the Sanzar alliance and form a new trans-Tasman competition with Japan, saying they would never have followed through with it.

“This new deal has cost us R137m and it has buggered up our domestic competition (the Currie Cup), the domestic tours and our rugby calendar,” Van Rooyen told Zeena Isaacs of Business Day.

“They (Saru’s bosses) have no clue what they have done in this deal.”

“They have also given up the sixth franchise because Australia has made it clear that they would not allow SA to have it.

“New Zealand and Australia are laughing all the way to the bank.”

SA Rugby MD Andy Marinos (pictured), however, disagreed with Van Rooyen’s views in a statement and said with the domestic rugby rights having been sold to SuperSport, the new Sanzar deal included only the Super Rugby and the TriNations rights.

“Contrary to some ill-informed reports, the manner in which SA Rugby’s broadcast rights have now been parcelled and sold has resulted in the organisation being in the best position it has ever been financially, in respect of its television rights,” Marinos said.

“SA Rugby was in favour of and agreed to the distribution in three equal parts of the revenues from any future sale of rights to the Sanzar properties of Super Rugby and TriNations as part of the Dublin agreement.

“Previous Sanzar agreements included other domestic South African rugby competitions such as the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup as well as our June Tests, and the former distribution model reflected that.

“The rights to those properties have already been sold to SuperSport for R700m (a 100% increase in value) for the period 2011-15. The removal of those properties from the basket of Sanz

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