“We believe this is a truly exciting and transformative opportunity that can benefit all of the sport for generations to come.ZR CEO Mark Robinson confirmed.
The deal with California-based investment fund Silver Lake Partners won unanimous approval from the county federations at the federation’s annual general meeting in Wellington, but it has yet to receive, in principle on Thursday, the go-ahead from the players’ union due to be approved. However, for some of them, it is the spirit of all blacks that is sold and the veto is not ruled out.
The New Zealand Federation has responded positively to the proposal of the Silver Lake Fund, based in California: $ 280 million (230 million euros) to acquire part of the brand “all black‘, which is the men dressed in black as the Triple World Champions, who have won eight matches out of ten.
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The episode reminds us of the dismal failure in the European Football League when several prestigious clubs tried to secede from the European Football Association and the Champions League, in order to increase profits, according to critics, before retreating in the face of the anger of the fans.
“Clubs sold their souls”, so he regretted one of Robinson’s predecessors, David Moffett, on Radio New Zealand. According to him, Silver Lake, which manages an asset portfolio of $79 billion (€65 billion), will try to squeeze all blacks like a lemon, even if it means Have them play exhibition matches.”Does not make sense” in the United States of America.
– Set up –
However, the All Blacks are a historical monument and a daily obsession in New Zealand, they are an integral part of the lives of the residents, of their national pride, a stone’s throw from Australian and South African rivals.
“We will see the All Blacks play more games with zero interest, which will devalue the most beautiful brand in the rugby world.All Blacks fans were already reacting by the numbers, on the union’s Facebook page, when American insurer AIG announced in 2012 that it would appear on its iconic black shirts, long the sponsor of everything.
Silver Lake wants to buy 12.5% of the commercial rights and the right to negotiate deals around the world to sell TV rights and derivatives. This will bring the total commercial value of New Zealand rugby to $2.2 billion (€1.8 billion).
The business stake is significant at a time when NZR is experiencing significant financial difficulties, which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, to the point where, according to Mr Robinson, it threatens its very survival. It lost more than $25 million in 2020, according to financial results released at its general meeting on Thursday.
For NZR President Brent Impey, this agreement “It represents a revolutionary turning point for rugby“. About “A unique opportunity to attract business income to enable investments in areas where they are most neededMr. Embi said.
– “Millions of fans“-
He emphasized that the money will be used in particular to help the federations of provinces in difficulty, and to develop the female game and youth participation.
Tech investments will also enable the NZR.”To reach millions of fans around the world“, he added.
The fans remained silent for the time being, leaving the Players Association to take the front line. Especially since the potential investor is not the first to arrive: at the end of 2019, Silver Lake acquired a 10% stake in City Football Group, owner of Manchester City football club.
According to documents disclosed before the vote, a portion of Silver Lake’s initial investment, if accepted on Thursday, will go to a foundation aimed at protecting New Zealand’s rugby interests.
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But according to Stuff.co.nz sports columnist Mark Reason, Silver Lake just wants to make money.”By increasing the value of New Zealand rugby on paper before reselling by collecting capital gains, as they normally would“.