The tumultuous rise and fall of the European Super League are being seen as a warning to New Zealand Rugby (NZR).
The governing body is due to vote on a proposed deal to sell a stake in the organization to US private equity firm Silver Lake at its annual general meeting on 29th April.
According to New Zealand’s TVNZ, the 26 NZR provincial unions will support the deal, in contrast to the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association (NZRPA), which last month expressed its opposition and threatened to block the investment.
The TVNZ report said the Silver Lake acquisition will be for a 12.5 per cent stake in future revenues, and a new commercial company to be set up by NZR, paying close to NZ$400 million (US$288 million), less than the figures that have been reported in the past few months.
The players union claims the deal could damage the relationship between rugby and the New Zealand public, and said there is a risk of real or perceived cultural misappropriation, given Silver Lake is an Anglo-American private equity firm.
Several leading All Blacks internationals, including captain Sam Cane also cited the protection of the Māori and Pasifika game and also stated that funds can be raised without selling a piece of NZR’s commercial rights.
Former NZR chief executive David Moffett told the New Zealand Herald (NZH), the backlash from soccer fans in England to the European Super League should also be a warning sign.
Moffett cautioned that the investment could potentially lead to the All Blacks playing meaningless games that would devalue the brand.
“Silver Lake are not benefactors. They are not going to pump a whole lot of money into New Zealand Rugby without expecting a return (so) I am struggling to see how they can increase the revenue return to NZR and ultimately themselves that New Zealand Rugby haven’t been able to do on their own,” Moffett said.
This content was originally published here.