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Thread: Broadcasters agree to Supersize

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    Broadcasters agree to Supersize

    Broadcasters agree to Supersize
    Bret Harris | March 18, 2008 Broadcasters agree to Supersize | The Australian

    THE ARU has won the key support of broadcasters for an expanded Super 14, which could significantly boost the income stream from television rights when the next deal is negotiated by SANZAR in 2010.

    ARU chief executive John O'Neill has floated the idea of playing a 26-round Super competition with an increased finals format and a team from Japan.

    Although the concept has met resistance from New Zealand and South Africa, because it would conflict with their domestic competitions, O'Neill said the broadcasters had responded positively.

    The current TV deal between SANZAR, News Limited (publisher of The Australian) and a number of other broadcasters which was struck in 2004, is worth $US355million over five years.

    "What I'm promoting is an ARU view, which we have worked through at the board level and our strategic planning exercises," O'Neill said at a media conference yesterday to announce Qantas re-signing as a major sponsor until 2011. He also confirmed the Wallabies' historic match with the Barbarians at Wembley Stadium in November.

    "That's our preferred outcome. South Africa and New Zealand are still working through their processes. At this point in time they are rejecting it, but it's not off the agenda.

    "New Zealand has to go through their consultative process with their provinces. It shouldn't and won't stop us talking about what we believe is a worthwhile option and we have an understanding, a pretty good understanding, there is a real appetite from the broadcasters for a 26-week competition.

    "Ian Frykberg (SANZAR broadcast consultant) has done some soundings and the response has been pretty positive.

    "There is a risk that if we push too hard, it's an ARU-O'Neill idea so we'll resist it just for that reason.

    "All we are saying is our market is different, but when you think about where we are after 12 or 13 years of the professional era, you are looking at the economics of rugby.

    "What generates the income? It's mass entertainment. With the greatest respect to the Air New Zealand Cup, which has a long history, and the Currie Cup, they don't generate anywhere near the level of income that Test matches and Super rugby do.

    "OK, yes, we have NRL and AFL staring us in the face, but that 26-week model with a round and a half and local derbies and a big finals series is a pretty attractive model and would generate significantly greater income."

    The Wembley match is one of three income-producing games -- the others are against the All Blacks in Hong Kong and Six Nations champion Wales in Cardiff -- on the Wallabies' six-match European tour in November, which will help the ARU record a potential $15m turnaround in its financial fortunes.

    A proposed Test against England at Twickenham in November next year, which would complete a grand slam of games against Ireland, Scotland and Wales, would also be an income-earner for the ARU.

    O'Neill revealed he had begun preliminary negotiations with the Rugby Football Union and there was a 50-50 chance of the Wallabies embarking on a grand slam tour for the first time since 1984.

    "They (England) have a limited window because of (the RFU's) agreement with the clubs," O'Neill said.

    "November 7 is an available date. We are not sure whether that is in or out of their window. I'm sure we could strike a deal if necessary."

    The ARU will also send former Wallabies coach Rod Macqueen to the IRB's meeting with the Six Nations at the end of this month to lobby them to trial the experimental law variations in Europe this year.

    New Wallabies coach Robbie Deans may also be involved in the discussions via a phone hook-up, while a senior Wallaby player could also be sent to sell the new laws, which are being trialled in the Super 14.

    "We just need to convince them that the statistics aren't manufactured," O'Neill said.

    "The game hasn't changed. The fabric of the game is still the same. The game is a better spectacle.

    "You can just see the teams that are executing these laws well are playing a beautiful and exciting brand of rugby."

    * O'Neill clarified his position on the multi-million funding of premier rugby in Sydney and Brisbane, saying the ARU may maintain the current level of support to the clubs.

    The ARU had previously decided to phase out the funding at the end of the year, but O'Neill is open-minded about the issue.

    "It's not just about funding," O'Neill said. "It's about structure and the overall repositioning of club rugby and if the ARU's interests are aligned with the states and the clubs, then we have an open mind about reinstating our premier club funding."

    Barnes must change like I did:

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    Veteran BLR's Avatar
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    Where is any comments from these 'broadcasters', it seems to be all O'Neill at the moment...

    They need to get the next deal in Euros or Pounds...the bloody yank dollar is wrecked...

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    Veteran beige's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLR View Post
    Where is any comments from these 'broadcasters', it seems to be all O'Neill at the moment...
    I agree. However, either way, I'll wager that tv has the final say in all of this...

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    i'm wondering why an expanded S14 season would yeild any better results than an ARC?

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    Chuck Norris has the greatest Poker-Face of all time. He won the 1983 World Series of Poker, despite holding only a Joker, a Get out of Jail Free Monopoly card, a 2 of clubs, 7 of spades and a green #4 card from the game Uno.

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    I'm sure TV would love to see the S14 supersized, but the question will have to be whether they supersize the paycheck too (or look for a bulk discount).

    Shep's comments will prove increasingly valid though - 26 S14 games, 14 test matches and various pre-season games...something would have to give. It is all well and good saying you want to compete with AFL/NRL, but they don't play test matches too!

    Should it fly, I suspect the SANZAR partners will have to make a choice - do they want their revenue through provincial competition or from Tests, as I don't think it will prove possible to have both. It would be interesting to watch the ARU try to force the S14 teams to release players for a mid-week test match - could make the club/country argument in the NH pale into insignificance (as gratifying as it would be to watch the NSW/Q'ld boys arguing that none of their players should be picked for the Wallabies)

    Personally, I think I would rather see the S14 expanded and cut back on Tests - increase state responsibility for their own funding by increased the gate takings, and make Test matches an event again with rarity putting value on the jersey. But from what we've ever seen from the ARU, I am sure they will want both the cake and the eating. And without question, our Sanzar partners have very different motivations and constituents. So the question may come back to: What is plan B and, if everyone else has a domestic competition, how are we going to survive and compete without one?

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    I don't know when club rugby is played but if they play club Rugby ie. playing for Subi/Pally/Cottesloe at a time when Super 14 isn't on and spread the Super14 boys around these teams a bit more.
    This way;
    -the state gets to benefit from its local talent more & the money earned stays in the State & the less ARU would have to cough up. Then we can buy our own stadium!
    -local Rugby clubs get more recognition
    -the Super14 boys get to play more,
    -the clubs benefit from having more attendance hence making more $$$$
    -the up and coming players in the local teams get to work with players who are playing at a higher level and hence learn from them
    -the up & comers get challenged a bit more by playing with the Super14 boys
    -everyone gets more Rugby

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    Last edited by laura; 18-03-08 at 11:26.

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    Veteran BLR's Avatar
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    But laura, the ARU is about making money for themselves, not about expanding the quality of the game and, let's be honest, sincerely wanting the grow the game world wide...the more money in thier coffers = more mungoes bought to get more bums on seats, not more development for union players...

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    Veteran beige's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy View Post
    i'm wondering why an expanded S14 season would yeild any better results than an ARC?
    Obviously, branding - but from a developmental point of view, you could argue both ways. On the one hand it means a smaller playing pool than the ARC but, on the other hand, the players that are there (I'm assuming the Wallabies would be in camp by this point, forcing fringe players to step up) will be exposed to a higher standard of competition.

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    I would be very excited to see this, from what i have read i think what JON wants is a expanded S14 season and less test matches against the teams from the NH. Because as we have seen in recent years, they have provided sub-standard playing rosters, not only that, it is a year to year scenario.

    One year England might come down and sell out Suncorp and Subiaco, next year Italy might come down and only sell a 1/4 of the seats. It doesnt help with and organisation who is trying ot run a budget.

    It would also boost the coffers of the S14 teams because they get a large chunk of funding from gate takings, im sure it would also raise the value of the teams sponsors from the increased exposure.

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    Champion KenyaQuin's Avatar
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    O'Neill's going the wrong way about Super expansion

    Mark Cashman Fri Mar 14 O'Neill's going the wrong way about Super expansion

    Mark Cashman is the editor of Inside Rugby, Australia's leading specialist rugby magazine.

    There’s been lots of good ideas floating about this week about the future direction of the Super 14 competition.

    ARU boss John O’Neill has called for an expansion of the competition to run over 26 weeks with a six-team semi-final series and a team that operates out of Japan to cash in on the Asian market.

    Great idea, sound concept and all that and if the Kiwis and the South Africans take it on board it would make this competition not only more appealing to the general public, but also to the people who want to put it on the telly, the broadcasters.

    Which brings me to my little soap box this week. Let’s forget about expansion plans and all that palava (yes I like that word) for the Super 14 competition for the moment and concentrate on getting more of the “product” on free-to-air television. Good point..won't we love to see that happen..

    Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not unhappy with the job that the learned rugby types at Fox Sports are doing covering the competition, but for Super 14 to make a bigger impression in an extremely competitive sports entertainment market here in Australia, then a free-to-air presence is essential.

    We need to get the quality games up against the AFL and the NRL and in the early part of the season the A-League soccer. It’s about capturing the hearts and the minds of the young and the masses and that sort of coverage would help enormously.

    I realise that the whole roster of games from week to week could not be televised but let’s at least look at getting some of the blockbusters on there even if they are delayed or replayed at a reasonable time of the night.

    That game that we saw last Sunday night between the Western Force and the Crusaders is a perfect example. How good would that have been if it was broadcast live into homes around the country. Can't argue with that..

    I reckon the knock on effect would have been that some kids would have dusted off the old Gilbert this week instead of getting out the old rugby league Steeden or that red or yellow pill that they use in the AFL.

    cont..

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    for Super 14 to make a bigger impression in an extremely competitive sports entertainment market here in Australia, then a free-to-air presence is essential.
    I think many of us here have been saying the same thing for a long time. Nearly all the people I work with are AFL tragics. But many of them are now interested in how the Force are doing. Some of those who have Fox even got out of bed to watch the matches in ZA. But the majority still ask is it gonna be on TV?

    I can't understand Fox's attitude to FTA coverage. Growing your business is a basic tenet of success, isn't it? I especially don't get their drift in new markets like WA and most importantly, before the AFL kicks off.

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    Veteran BLR's Avatar
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    There is no money in free to air broadcasts, Foxtel now has about the same amount of adverts as commercial television so that aspect no longer is a drawing force...

    TOCC, ARU schedules the matches, so when us in Perth are angry to be stuck with Fiji's B side as our test last year, it is because ARU took the Boks game away from us, while booking a sub par team to attempt to keep us happy...if we book Italy to come down instead of England it is not the NH's fault as much it is ARU's fault for not booking a more prestigious team, example. playing Italy instead of Ireland in this years November tests.

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    Champion KenyaQuin's Avatar
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    There is no money in FTA but surely community goodwill must be worth a couple of dollars. How can the market be expanded if the wider community is not catered for or targetted?

    Unfortunately, the hurdle here is the other SANZAR members who again will see little or rather less benefit in negotiating for a FTA provision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLR View Post
    Foxtel now has about the same amount of adverts as commercial television ...
    Not during the Rugby, so far at least (other than half time, and they can do what they want then as far as I'm concerned). If they ever did, I reckon they would lose BULK support.

    For mine, there is an obvious advantage to both Foxtel and Rugby in getting the games FTA. They'd never be shown live, but even replays would grow support. The more that people watch, the greater the support base/revenues and, from Fox's point of view, there will always be people that get Foxtel to get rid of the ads in the replay or want to see the game as it happens. Hell, rugby was at least 80% of the reason I got Foxtel.

    For mine, give it to the ABC and show as a minimum the local team in each state.

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    Veteran BLR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    For mine, give it to the ABC and show as a minimum the local team in each state.
    No one watches ABC though, that's one of the reasons the ARC went so badly, we need it on one of the big 3 stations, then your average viewer will actually tune in, if on at a decent time...

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