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The New Zealand Rugby Federation (NZR) on Thursday offered American investors a controversial alternative to a “revolutionary” plan to sell shares of All Blacks, which still need green light from players.
“We believe this is an exciting and truly transformational opportunity that could benefit everyone in the game for future generations,” said NZR chief Mark Robinson.
The agreement with California investment fund Silver Lake Partners has received unanimous approval from provincial leagues during the federation’s annual general meeting in Wellington, but requires a players’ union agreement to be adopted, which can be known on Thursday .
Some of them believe that the souls of all blacks are sold, so the veto is not rejected.
The New Zealand Federation, based in California, has reacted favorably to the Silver Lake Fund’s proposal: $ 280 million (230 million euros) to gain a share of the “All Blacks” brand, among men of black who have three times in the world There are champions and who win eight out of ten games.
This episode is reminiscent of the European Football Super League Fasco, when several prestigious clubs tried to separate UEFA and its Champions League from the order, critics say, before fans’ fury backfired, increasing profits. .
“The club has sold its soul,” congratulating David Moffett, one of Robinson’s predecessors, on Radio NZ. According to him, Silver Lake, which manages a portfolio of assets of $ 79,000 million (65,000 million euros), will try to squeeze All Blacks like a lemon, even if it means that they will have to play the exhibition game in the United States. ” Be given a chance to play “in vain”.
– historical monument-
All Blacks is both a historical monument and a passion in New Zealand, an integral part of the residents’ lives and a source of national pride against their rivals in Australia and South Africa.
“We will see All Blacks play more games without interest, devaluing the most beautiful brand in the world’s rugby,” predicts Moffett. In 2012 on the federation’s Facebook page, American insurance company AIG announced that it would appear on the famous black jersey.
Silver Lake wants to buy 12.5% of the rights to commercial rights and agreements in the world to sell television rights and derivative products. This would increase the global commercial value of New Zealand rugby to $ 2.2 billion (€ 1.8 billion).
This is a major business challenge when NZR is under financial stresses sparked by the Kovid-19 pandemic, to the point where, according to Robinson, its survival is threatened. It lost more than $ 25 million (€ 20 million) in 2020, according to financial results released during the general meeting on Thursday.
For NZR’s president, Brent Impe, the deal represents a “turning point for rugby”. It is “a unique opportunity to attract business income to enable investment in the affected areas,” Impe estimates.
– “Millions of fans” –
She said the money would be used primarily to help the provincial federations in hardships, women’s sports and to develop the participation of young people.
He said the technology investment would allow NZR to reach millions of fans worldwide.
Fans have remained silent at the moment, leaving prominence for the players’ union. Especially since the potential investor is not a hoax: at the end of 2019, Silver Lake acquired a 10% stake in Citi Football Group, which owns Manchester City Football Club.
According to documents released before the vote, part of Silver Lake’s initial investment, if accepted on Thursday, would go to a foundation to protect New Zealand rugby interests.
© 2021 AFP