'Super Rugby will lose money in 2014' - Pulver
February 11, 2014
Bill Pulver - Super Rugby losses add to his headache © Getty Images
As Australian rugby tries to tackle its financial deficit, board chief executive Bill Pulver has admitted this year's Super Rugby competition will run at a loss.
"It will lose money in 2014, but we are putting plans together to try and address that," Pulver told Radio Australia. "On one hand we have an incredibly vibrant competition with five Australian teams playing in the best provincial competition in the world. We are just trying to get the financial model right."
With the current broadcast deal ending at the end of the 2015 competition, Pulver seemed to be banking on the rights attracting a much higher figure on renewal, and to do that he said the structure of the event needed revamping.
"First of all we must agree on the format for the new competition which would start in 2016 and go through to 2020. There is talk of new teams with the possibility of a team from Argentina and a team from Asia adding a little more interest."
The ARU turned in a surplus in 2013 thanks to the income from the British & Irish Lions tour. But with fewer home Tests scheduled in 2014, this year promises to be another one with losses despite a raft of cost-cutting measures.
Speaking to the same station, former Australia skipper Nick Farr-Jones, who is now New South Wales' chairman, said the future was not rosy.
"Super Rugby is hard. We all know that Melbourne has been losing money. It has been tough in Perth and even for the Waratahs it has been hard to break even. We are facing very tough competition from the other winter sports. They are well funded and are getting a lot more out of television rights than we do."
Although centrally contracted players have already taken pay cuts, Farr-Jones said that area still needed looking into. "Can we afford one third of our revenues to to be paid to players?" he asked. "Should they be more on incentive programmes?"
In December, Pulver announced the launch of a new second-tier domestic competition - the National Rugby Championship - which received a mixed reaction, largely because of fears over how it would be paid for. Pulver insisted it would be self-funded through TV deals with Fox Sports and Foxtel, but Farr-Jones said he was also concerned over that.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter