Not shackled: Rugby New Zealand puts unlimited licenses on the table for franchising | Instant News


Not shackled by expiring license restrictions, the future of New Zealand’s five Super Rugby franchises looks bright.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has put unlimited licenses with fewer restrictions on the table, opening the door to new investment and commercial opportunities for cash-strapped franchises.

Crusaders, after joining forces with four other franchises, last week were the first to sign new licenses, which essentially secured their future in Super Rugby, and gave them more control off the pitch than in the past.

Consultations continue on the four remaining franchises, including the Chiefs, which chief executive Michael Collins confirmed will finalize with investors and their board of directors in the coming weeks.

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“It’s really positive but it will take a long time. I’m sure there are good things to come soon. “Said Collins.

Delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this new model has been in production for about two years, and ends the old licensing model, which results in it expiring at the end of every broadcast deal.

Crusader chief executive Colin Mansbridge, left, and Crusader chief Grant Jarrold.

Kai Schwoerer / Getty Images

Crusader chief executive Colin Mansbridge, left, and Crusader chief Grant Jarrold.

“It’s a marginal financial model and there’s a bit of tension around where certain commercial rights are. “Most clubs barely make money for a decade, and the entire Super system at club level has broken even for about a decade,” said Crusader chief executive Colin Mansbridge.

“We [Super teams] said let’s see if we can change the model. “

One of the biggest complaints with the old model was regular expiration, so it was unattractive for private investors to commit.

That hasn’t stopped some from joining the team, but it is understood they have long been frustrated by a lack of certainty and longevity.

ALDEN WILLIAMS / STUFF

Simon Thomas, the Crusader head of strength and conditioning, explains why he wanted to measure the speed of the barbell.

“We need investors or shareholders to be able to invest in something that will be around for a long time,” Mansbridge said.

Asked how much capital he wanted to raise, Mansbridge was reluctant to calculate it but said the potential “tens of millions” of dollars was there.

There are other limitations under the old model.

Postponed a year due to the pandemic, Crusaders last year announced plans to enter an academy at Wollongong University in Australia.

The new revenue source took more than a year to negotiate with the NZR to cross the line, and came with many conditions.

New Zealand Rugby will still pay players' salaries and add them to the franchise.

Kai Schwoerer / Getty Images

New Zealand Rugby will still pay players’ salaries and add them to the franchise.

“Those things, we’ll be able to do as a right, as long as we don’t take the game into a bad reputation,” Mansbridge said.

Reworked commercial rights will allow franchises to innovate and create revenue streams, while existing revenue streams will be redirected back to them from NZR, including advertisements from virtual banners and space on t-shirts.

If new rights are discovered, those rights will default to the franchise.

“It’s a fundamental break from a survival mentality, where every broadcast has you limping to the end,” said Mansbridge.

NZR will continue to pay the salaries of two coaches per team, and hire players and put them on the Super side. Everything else, including staff salaries / salaries, game hosting fees and academy programs, remains the responsibility of the franchise.

Chiefs boss Michael Collins said his team was not ready to sign a new license yet, but was excited about the future of the Super Rugby team.

Michael Bradley / Getty Images

Chiefs boss Michael Collins said his team was not ready to sign a new license yet, but was excited about the future of the Super Rugby team.

The Kiwi Team has an obligation to participate in Super Rugby. However, theoretically, they could compete elsewhere off-season, just not with NZR contract players unless there is agreement.

“I am very pleased with the commercial terms under the proposed new license, and paired with some very good opportunities around the competition and potential competition, I think it will put us in a very strong position moving forward,” said Collins.

The Crusaders had recruited the PWC, which had struck a deal in the northern hemisphere, to seek out potential investors and partners, some of whom were introduced.

That said, Mansbridge doesn’t expect to reach any agreement before August.

“We think the club’s brand and core intellectual property will lead to some good partnerships. Again, it’s not just about price, it’s not just about cash, but also about added value for both organizations. “

The Crusaders belonged to their six provincial guilds, whose colors were seen on Crusader horses ahead of the stable.

Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

The Crusaders belonged to their six provincial guilds, whose colors were seen on Crusader horses ahead of the stable.

Crusaders have been supported by Christchurch-based businessman Brent Francis, who owns the West Coast coal mine, since 2012. Francis is also on the board of directors.

Mansbridge emphasized that the nature of the relationship going forward will be less guarantor and more equity holders.

The 11-time champions will also remain shareholders owned by the six provincial unions in their catchment area, and potential investors or joining partners should be given the green light by them.



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