Axing Super games from city 'financial'
Do you agree with this decision to ditch Invercargill?
Poll:The decision to axe Invercargill as a Super Rugby host is a commercial decision Highlanders general manager Roger Clark says.
The 2014 Super Rugby draw was released this week and, as predicted in the leadup to finalising the draw, a Super Rugby game would not be held at Rugby Park in Invercargill, with all eight Highlanders home games to be played in Dunedin.
Clark said yesterday that it made commercial sense for the organsation to play all their games in Dunedin.
He said the franchise this year was looking to sell off part of the organisation to potential backers outside the New Zealand Rugby Union, like the other franchises had done, and it needed the Highlanders to be as commercially attractive as possible.
"From a commercial perspective, it's a no-brainer to play all of them in Dunedin," Clark told The Southland Times yesterday.
"It's not to say that games in the future won't be [played in Invercargill] but in particular this year we obviously have to maximise the revenue and the only way to do that is to play out of Dunedin.
"We've got 7500 guaranteed seats [in Dunedin] with the season ticket members and the DVL members - we've already got a really strong crowd before we even sell tickets.
"It's just a financial thing. We can't generate the same money down there. We'd need a crowd of 12,000 or 13,000 at Rugby Park to generate the same sort of revenue, and that's not realistic based on the numbers that have attended games [in Invercargill] over the past eight or 10 years."
Clark said they hadn't just started to ponder the move to play all their home games in Dunedin.
He said they probably would have done the same last year but a clash of dates with events at the indoor stadium in Dunedin meant one game was shifted to Invercargill.
The Highlanders will have one home pre-season game against the Brumbies, with a decision yet to be made as to where that game will be played.
Their other pre-season games will be against the Crusaders and the Waratahs, both away from home.
The Highlanders will open their 2014 Super Rugby campaign against the Blues in Dunedin on February 22.
- © Fairfax NZ News