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Thread: Super rugby broadcast deal may refloat the lost ARC

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    Super rugby broadcast deal may refloat the lost ARC

    Wayne Smith | June 04, 2009

    Article from: The Australian

    HOW well Australia does out of the SANZAR broadcast deal could decide whether a new version of the disbanded third-tier Australian Rugby Championship is set up.

    The ARC lasted only one season, 2007, before a $4.7 million blowout forced the Australian Rugby Union to axe it. But while it may have been a financial disaster, from a purely rugby perspective it was a triumph, so much so that ARU boss John O'Neill is considering reviving it.

    "I'm not abandoning the notion," O'Neill said. "Once we get the broadcast deal bedded down and once we've got a decision on where the new (expansion Super 15) team is going, and once we understand what we can and cannot afford, then we can turn our minds to the third tier.

    "What the ARC did show was that there was an abundance of talent. Although it only went for one year, it shows if you give some of those players (from the Sydney and Brisbane club premierships) a chance, they can rise to the next level."

    Indeed Ben Alexander jumped three levels in 12 months, going from second grade at Eastwood into the Western Sydney Rams, where he performed so strongly he was admitted to the Brumbies Academy at the end of 2007. Six strong performances off the bench for the Brumbies saw him plucked from obscurity to make his Test debut against France in Sydney last year and he now is firmly entrenched as a key member of the Wallabies squad leading into the 2011 World Cup.

    "There is no debate from me about the concept, eight teams playing the best," O'Neill said. "I think the configuration should have been tighter and the competition should have been run on the smell of an oily rag. But once we know where we are post-SANZAR deal, let's look at some options."

    Almost certainly one of those options would be a super-club competition but presumably the same rationale that caused the ARU to steer away from such a concept in 2007 -- namely that it would be grossly unfair to split the Sydney and Brisbane premierships into have and have-not clubs -- would still hold true.

    Yet equally the 2007 model which delivered fairness by basically giving no one exactly what they wanted, would need to be seriously overhauled.

    The creation of arbitrary and artificial teams such as the Gosford-based Central Coast Rays, the eventual champions, and the Western Sydney Rams meant the competition was starting from scratch, unable to tap into a century of club tribalism and having to build support from the ground up.

    The fact that the competition was started in a World Cup year compounded the problem because it meant that more than 30 of the country's leading players weren't able to participate. If a new ARC is to be created, it would need to be up and running next year or else delayed until after the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

    Any competition "run on the smell of an oily rag" almost by definition would be forced to exclude a Perth-based side because the travel costs, involved in sending teams to and from Western Australia during the 2007 series, helped doom the concept.

    So too did the habit of ARC teams acting like mini-Super rugby sides by flying to away games two days in advance, sending accommodation costs skyrocketing. Any revived competition will have teams flying in and out on the day of the match.

    Nor would it be likely the ARU would pay the ABC to televise the competition, as it did in 2007. But such was the quality of rugby played that year that broadcasters such as Fox might decide to tap into it of their own accord.



    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...015651,00.html

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    forced to exclude a Perth-based side because the travel costs, involved in sending teams to and from Western Australia during the 2007 series, helped doom the concept.
    Rather than exclude Perth, I would have thought the smart move would be to examine how Perth managed to turn a profit and try and replicate this across the board?

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach View Post
    Rather than exclude Perth, I would have thought the smart move would be to examine how Perth managed to turn a profit and try and replicate this across the board?
    good call, especially when you consider the fact that the Perth Spirit had to travel east 4 times as opposed to 4 opposition clubs having to travel west once each

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    Last edited by jargan83; 04-06-09 at 09:27.

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    I don't know the details, but since they reckon travel was one of the killers, doesn't that suggest that the travel money came from the competition itself rather than the individual clubs?

    By that I mean, the Spirit turned a profit despite all it's travel because the ARU gave them the $$ to cover it, which contributed to their shortfall.

    That aside, I wonder if the Spirit's relative financial sucess wasn't the result of having one team (as opposed to the NSW folks deciding whether to support Fleet, Rams or Rays) or if ET's sponsorship was more generous than the other teams (those lads sure like their rugby)

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    Last edited by Swee_82; 04-06-09 at 09:34.

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    You're an ideas man, Coach!

    But we'll have to see if such tricksy, logical thinking is able to be adopted by the Powers That Be.

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Second thought on travel, wasn't QANTAS a sponsor of the whole competition? Surely some form of concession was available?

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    It really depends on whether the inbred heartland want or can be convinced to make it work.

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    Senior Player Contributor WF2006's Avatar
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    I thought the biggest expense was relocations costs for Melbourne??

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    Veteran Contributor normie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WF2006 View Post
    I thought the biggest expense was relocations costs for Melbourne??
    I read the same thing somewhere. Almost the entire squad had to be housed in Melbourne for the duration.

    Its a fair bet that the Channel 10 Digital sports channel would be interested in a bit of broadcasting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by normie View Post
    Its a fair bet that the Channel 10 Digital sports channel would be interested in a bit of broadcasting.
    When I heard about the dedicated sports channel I hoped that this would help the ARC rise again.

    We really need this to help Australian rugby

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    They won't be able to ignore our non wallaby players - our coaching staff have done wonders with them - they'll have to come up with a plan

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by normie View Post
    I read the same thing somewhere. Almost the entire squad had to be housed in Melbourne for the duration.

    Its a fair bet that the Channel 10 Digital sports channel would be interested in a bit of broadcasting.
    I also read the same thing.

    Why did the ARU pay the ABC to televise the ARC? Surely going with no TV and having to fork out to have it televised would have been better. Given the lack of advertising of the ARC, TV exposure wasn't going to be an issue. How much did they pay the ABC as well?

    Good call about the introduction of the Digital sports channel, it has been raised before by a few people. Given that alot of their (One HD) sport is from Overseas, the US in particular you would think they would be chasing some sports that may appeal to Aussies more the AFL

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swee_82 View Post
    That aside, I wonder if the Spirit's relative financial sucess wasn't the result of having one team (as opposed to the NSW folks deciding whether to support Fleet, Rams or Rays) or if ET's sponsorship was more generous than the other teams (those lads sure like their rugby)
    I would like to think that its because its what we wanted/needed. Sydney and Brisbane didn't need an ARC or want one for that matter as the ARU pumps a lot of money into their competitions. They saw the ARC as a threat and so of course they were going to kick up a fuss and fail financially. It probably helped that Perth had one team but really it can work for everyone so long as everyone sees that it is essential for Australian rugby to move forward.

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    Veteran beige's Avatar
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    Being just one team, it also meant a lot of the players were already on the (Force) pay roll to begin with...

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    (a.k.a. Mr Pinkbits) Stone Cold's Avatar
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    Good news that ARC is back on the agenda...not so happy about not having Perth Spirit in the mix though...

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    coz Stone Cold says so

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