The Super Rugby Pacific competition will remain intact until at least 2030 following a joint agreement between Australian and New Zealand rugby bosses announced Friday.
The future of the annual southern hemisphere competition was uncertain beyond next year after Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan threatened in June to pull his country’s teams out, citing an unfair division of revenue.
Joint venture agreement
But the two national unions have confirmed they will extend their joint venture agreement for another seven years.
A new governance structure will oversee the 12-team competition, which will retain the same format and continue to comprise five teams each from New Zealand and Australia.
The agreement also commits to retaining two Pacific Island teams — Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua — that both made their debut this year.
Under the current two-year agreement, New Zealand Rugby receives Aus$89 million (US$60.5 million) in annual broadcasting revenue while Rugby Australia earns Aus$33 million.
McLennan had previously said the disparity was untenable and could prompt Australia to form its own competition if the share of revenues was not re-balanced.
Friday’s joint statement said the two unions had agreed to revenue-sharing terms through the end of 2025, at which point they will be reassessed.
Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos described the agreement as a “watershed” moment for the sport in Australia and the broader Pacific.
“Securing this long-term partnership provides stability and continuity that the competition and Super Rugby clubs need to enable rugby to grow in stature and importance across the region,” he said.
“RA and NZR are committed to the development of the most exciting form of rugby in the world, through trialling and implementing new rules, new ways of engaging fans or broadcast innovations with our partners.”
Marinos said a new nine-person board would consider the creation of a trans-Tasman women’s league, combining fledgling competitions that had formed in Australia and New Zealand.