Saturday 17 March 2018

PRO14 chiefs targeting TV millions as they eye up US and Germany​


Martin Anayi. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Martin Anayi. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Despite trailing way behind their English and French counterparts in terms of TV revenue, Guinness PRO14 chiefs have their eyes set on closing the financial gap thanks to this season's addition of two South African franchises.

And with CEO Martin Anayi open to the involvement of a team based in the potentially lucrative US and German markets, he believes that the league could soon hope to approach the current numbers on offer in England.

While the TV rights deal, which expires next summer, is currently worth a mere €14m annually compared to the riches available in France (€97m) and England (€48m), Anayi believes the risk of expansion could reap significant future rewards.

"The French numbers are extraordinary, I find it difficult to see how we could get there in a short space of time," said Anayi.

"The English numbers are probably a lot more manageable target. It won't be this cycle but as we develop that South African market more, it is very close behind the English and French markets from a value point of view.

"Because we're multi-territory, we won't match the English numbers but the aggregate will get closer. But they're going to kick on as well."

Anayi has also expressed an interest in moving games exclusively to subscription channels to maximise TV revenues in the future.

The two new South African sides, Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings, will not be eligible for Champions Cup but Anayi is confident that position will change.

"If the South African sides compete well and both are in the top six and go on and go and win our championship, they should be playing in the Champions Cup.

"It is a great opportunity for the Champions Cup to develop. At the right time we will go to the EPCR and say, 'Well, this makes a lot of sense'."

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport