If rumours that CVC, the venture capital firm that made a killing from flipping Formula1, is offering to invest £275m in England’s Premiership true, rugby as a sport is about to change fundamentally. And it’s about time.
The ridiculous Pro14 tournament with its incomprehensible structure, illogical participants and unviewable broadcasting (see previous posts) makes no sense. A club version of the Six Nations every weekend does.
It’s time to create a UK/Irish league with two divisions made up of the current UK and Ireland Pro14 and Premiership teams that can rival the French and Southern Hemisphere tournaments.
The trouble is, as ever when VCs get involved, this will be franchise based, so there will be little in the way of promotion and relegation once the structure is fixed. If, and when, it goes ahead.
It does beg the question why a major sports broadcaster such as Disney, Sky/Comcast or Liberty Media don’t simply set up their own tournament and save the few hundred mill they will eventually pay to the VCs when they ‘do an F1’ and launch such a league themselves.
TV is all about ‘properties’ and ‘brands’ and it’s been striking how strangely reluctant broadcasters and streamers have been to create their own properties.
Or perhaps this js the opportunity the likes of Amazon, YouTube, Facebook or, dare I say, Netflix or Apple have been looking for ?
Whatever happens with this move (and it looks like CVC is going to be rebuffed) change is inevitable.