For rugby in Australia to survive, it needs to cut costs. Given the deterioration in the media landscape and the game’s waning popularity, revenue will decline and cuts are necessary to balance the books.
Yesterday, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle announced that a deal had been done with the four Super Rugby franchises and the Western Force to run an internal Aussie conference competition.
First, that is great news, if it actually happens.
But given the pace with which governments are announcing Covid-19 restrictions, who knows if it will get off the ground?
If all states close their borders, which could happen in the next few days, it might all be a bust.
But at least they have given us something to be optimistic about, so I am staying positive about it and here are a few ideas.
I know we are short on detail, but since teams need to play in empty stadiums, why not move all the franchises to say Sydney and Canberra for training purposes, and play all the games at one stadium (GIO or Parramatta) and have a so-called Super studio set up for the broadcasts.
Each round could be a double header, with the Force going second, to make up for the time difference.
Someone last week suggested Townsville. It doesn’t matter where the games are played, because it will all be behind closed doors in any case. It may be better to be in the tropics, anyway.
They would need to get the teams here or whenever soon, in case they have to subject themselves to a quarantine period.
The Super studio could be set up for experimental effects, crowd noise and CGI images. All the journos can gather in one place, absolutely minimising travel.
This is a great time for experimenting, and there’s an old saying that crisis presents opportunity.