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Melbourne Appointed As 15th Super Rugby Team From 2011

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Melbourne Appointed As 15th Super Rugby Team From 2011

SANZAR has announced Melbourne as the 15th Super Rugby Team to join the competition when expansion occurs in 2011.

An Expert Determination Panel was asked by the SANZAR Executive Committee to decide on the location of the 15th Super Rugby team. The Experts were former Rugby World Cup-winning captain David Kirk and retired New Zealand High Court Judge, the Hon Barry Paterson QC.

The key reasons for the Experts selecting Melbourne over the other applicant, the Southern Kings from South Africa, were:

The Experts commented that both applicants were able to point to excellent infrastructure support, and both provided sound business plans and financial forecasts, with the support of their National Unions, guaranteeing financial viability.

The Southern Kings proposal was more advanced with regard to business and financial planning and organization structure and governance. The Southern Kings were also able to point to a strong rugby tradition, a large playing base and presented a stronger case than Melbourne as to their rugby readiness.

These strengths of the Southern King's Application did not, however, offset the benefits in geographical location and commercial value to SANZAR (both of which criteria the Experts were asked to place considerable weight on) that the Melbourne Application was able to deliver.

The 15th Super Rugby team will play in the Australian Conference under the new Super Rugby competition format from 2011. This means they will play both home and away against the other four Australian Conference teams. As a result the Southern Kings would be required to make two crossings of the Indian Ocean in a season. The local derby aspect of matches in Australia, an important issue for generating attendances and broadcasting value, would also have been diluted and it would not have been possible to schedule at least two matches in each country each weekend. In addition having the team resident in South Africa introduces additional costs to SANZAR of around NZ$720,000 per annum.

The Melbourne Application provided considerably greater commercial benefit to SANZAR than the Southern Kings Application. Evidence was provided that revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights to Australasian broadcasters would be reduced by US$15-20m over the course of a five year agreement should the 15th team be resident in South Africa, with little or no commensurate rise in the value of South African broadcasting revenue.

Media are advised that the members of the Expert Determination Panel will not be making any further comment and any questions should be directed to the SANZAR unions.

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