Kiwi franchises out to tender

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) issued a fascinating invitation today, one that I picked up on the www.allblacks.com website …

It’s an invitation to anyone interested in obtaining Licences to manage and operate one of the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Crusaders Super Rugby franchises …

This follows an independent review of Super Rugby and the Franchises in New Zealand and a period of consultation with Provincial Unions and Franchises.

NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said it made sense as it would provide the additional capital required to ensure the success of the franchises.

“This is an early phase to get a real view of the level of interest in an opportunity to be associated with New Zealand’s brand of rugby.

“The overwhelming feedback during consultation pointed to the need to reinvigorate the Franchise model. This unique opportunity to manage and operate a Super Rugby team is an exciting development,” Steve Tew said.

The successful Licensee will have the right to manage, operate, select and promote the team/brand and the matches played by that team. Under the Licensee proposal, the NZRU will continue to own the brands and be responsible for contracting players and coaches.

“For now we have agreed to allow the Highlanders to stand aside from the process as they are already some way down the track with exploring other alternatives which are commercially sensitive,” he said.

Interested parties have until 9 March 2012 to confirm their interest. Any proposed changes would not be in place before the 2013 season, with the 2012 Super Rugby competition being unaffected.

If suitable Licensee candidates are identified, they will be shortlisted and the NZRU may enter discussions with one or more preferred respondents.

It’s a fascinating development made possible because of the central player contracting system the Kiwis employ – a system that SA just simply have to implement if they want to keep players in the country and manage their game time.

It’s also a step that will not only bring in money, but also professional leadership and management to the franchises – something so massively lacking in a few of the franchises here in SA.

We are still stuck in the amateur era with the blazer brigade running franchises like they are the draconian unions of old instead of modern day businesses needing to be run by open minded and forward thinking professionals!

Put the five SA franchises out to tender I say, and start central contracting from 2013 … Come on SARU – I dare you!