Pro 14 - General Thread

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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby blockhead » May 22nd, 2020, 12:53 pm

PRO14 set for €130m cash injection as CVC acquire 28% of league
Cian Tracey
May 22 2020 11:49 AM
The PRO14 have confirmed that an investment deal with CVC has been completed.
In a move that has long been on the cards, as the Luxembourg-based investment firm look to continue its growth within the sport, CVC will acquire a 28pc share of PRO14 Rugby, with the unions retaining a 72pc majority share.

As a tournament, the PRO14 has struggled to capture the imagination of many, but it is hoped that this latest development will help improve it as a whole.

The news comes on the back of the Six Nations revealing that they are in talks with SANZAAR about aligning the global calendar.

CVC have already invested in Premiership Rugby, as well as Formula 1 and Moto GP.

The announcement has been welcomed across the board by the various unions, as they are optimistic that it will provide rugby in this part of the world with a much-needed boost.

Crucially for the PRO14, CVC maintained their commitment to invest a sum understood to be in the region of €130 million, which is the same amount as had been mooted last year, before Covid-19 struck.

"The partnership commitment will allow both PRO14 Rugby and the Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh rugby unions to continue to invest in the sport, both professional and amateur, to achieve its potential over the long term," a statement from the PRO14 read.

"A portion of the investment will also be held centrally at PRO14 Rugby, for the Board to invest in further capabilities for the business and in upgrading league operations in line with its growth ambitions.

"As part of this agreement, the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR), will also become a member of Celtic Rugby DAC, and receive a share of the investment.

"In the past four years, the Guinness PRO14 has performed well both on and off the field; doubling distributions to clubs and facilitating record investment back into the sport from the league. This has been recognised by CVC, who share PRO14 Rugby’s vision for the long-term potential of the league.

"CVC was selected by PRO14 Rugby and the unions as their partner due to the extensive experience of prior CVC funds investing in multiple sports businesses, such as Formula 1, Moto GP and Premiership Rugby.”

Current PRO14 CEO Martin Anayi will continue to lead the PRO14 and will now work in conjunction with the powers that be at CVC.

"CVC’s show of faith has been impressive and is in keeping with their proven track record of success when it comes to sports investment, including Formula 1, Moto GP and Premiership Rugby,” Anayi commented.

"This partnership allows all of our stakeholders to plan for a sustainable period of growth, which will benefit the fans, the players and the game.

"We are very pleased to partner with CVC, who saw us as an ambitious, fast paced and innovative organisation, situated across a number of core rugby nations that can deliver an increasing impact.

"We have been clear that we believe the Guinness PRO14 is a world-class club league, that is still in its growth phase and we are confident that it will become a major standard bearer in our sport.

"We are excited that CVC clearly shares that ambition and we look forward to working with them to deliver on the league’s promise in the years ahead."
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby MylesNaGapoleen » May 23rd, 2020, 7:01 am

blockhead wrote:
PRO14 set for €130m cash injection as CVC acquire 28% of league
Cian Tracey
May 22 2020 11:49 AM
The PRO14 have confirmed that an investment deal with CVC has been completed.


CVC are the same guys who invested heavily into formula one....

CVC owned F1 between 2006 and 2017, when it was taken over by Liberty Media. The then deputy team principal of Force India, Bob Fernley, accused CVC during that time of “raping the sport”. In 2016 he summed up everything abut the firm’s relationship with F1 in a single sentence. “All their actions have been taken to extract as much money from the sport as possible and put as little in as possible,” he said.


CVC now own 28% of the pro14 and 27% of the english premiership. They are also trying to buy the 6Nations.

With CVC, the covid virus chaos, reeking havoc and financial chaos across rugby unions and clubs everywhere...it sorta makes sense that the vulture capitalists would swoop in now. Of course, clubs and unions will be thankful for the injection of cash....but let's see what the pound of flesh is like. I don't expect this to end well.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby dropkick » May 23rd, 2020, 12:22 pm

MylesNaGapoleen wrote:
blockhead wrote:
PRO14 set for €130m cash injection as CVC acquire 28% of league
Cian Tracey
May 22 2020 11:49 AM
The PRO14 have confirmed that an investment deal with CVC has been completed.


CVC are the same guys who invested heavily into formula one....

CVC owned F1 between 2006 and 2017, when it was taken over by Liberty Media. The then deputy team principal of Force India, Bob Fernley, accused CVC during that time of “raping the sport”. In 2016 he summed up everything abut the firm’s relationship with F1 in a single sentence. “All their actions have been taken to extract as much money from the sport as possible and put as little in as possible,” he said.


CVC now own 28% of the pro14 and 27% of the english premiership. They are also trying to buy the 6Nations.

With CVC, the covid virus chaos, reeking havoc and financial chaos across rugby unions and clubs everywhere...it sorta makes sense that the vulture capitalists would swoop in now. Of course, clubs and unions will be thankful for the injection of cash....but let's see what the pound of flesh is like. I don't expect this to end well.



I suspect F1 owners just grabbed the cash and ran. I'm hoping the unions will have learned from it and I'd say they would be naturally more cautious in giving up power.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby blockhead » May 23rd, 2020, 11:31 pm

MylesNaGapoleen wrote:
blockhead wrote:
PRO14 set for €130m cash injection as CVC acquire 28% of league
Cian Tracey
May 22 2020 11:49 AM
The PRO14 have confirmed that an investment deal with CVC has been completed.


CVC are the same guys who invested heavily into formula one....

CVC owned F1 between 2006 and 2017, when it was taken over by Liberty Media. The then deputy team principal of Force India, Bob Fernley, accused CVC during that time of “raping the sport”. In 2016 he summed up everything abut the firm’s relationship with F1 in a single sentence. “All their actions have been taken to extract as much money from the sport as possible and put as little in as possible,” he said.


CVC now own 28% of the pro14 and 27% of the english premiership. They are also trying to buy the 6Nations.

With CVC, the covid virus chaos, reeking havoc and financial chaos across rugby unions and clubs everywhere...it sorta makes sense that the vulture capitalists would swoop in now. Of course, clubs and unions will be thankful for the injection of cash....but let's see what the pound of flesh is like. I don't expect this to end well.


The details of the deal were agreed before Covid 19 and have not been changed, I think.
CVC are now a partner in the Pro14. They get 28% of the profits. I posted some details of the deal with the prem some months back, can't remember all the details but its along the lines of....
27% of profits up to an agreed amount £X (X = probably what the were earning in the previous seasons)
27-50% of profits above X up to an agreed amount £Y.
50% of profits above Y.
They obviously have a plan to get profits as high as possible so they can get their money back and then some or someone is getting fired.
I'd imagine it's not just looking for more money for the current product.
Radical changes are afoot, no doubt. 1st and 2nd Division B&I league? Bringing in some big South African teams? Club world cup?
Maybe all of these.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby Up Wexford » May 26th, 2020, 5:57 pm

Personally I think the CVC deal is a disaster for rugby. It really frustrates me how very intelligent sporting people can perform the mental gymnastics to convince themselves that CVC is good for their sport.

CVC capital is a business venture to identify assets and extract cash from it for themselves. Nothing more. If you sell your product to CVC you are treating it as a purely business transaction with an agreed exchange of goods and or assets, simple as. And that's fine, as long as you as a Union or Federation, say to all your stakeholders - fans and players included - that I do not value this as a sporting/social/intangible product but as a purely economic one and am well aware of the consequences. See how far that gets you I suppose.

Formula 1 used to grip the world for 30 weekends a year in the 90's. It cannot be overstated what an incredible product they had. Go as fast as you can to win. Performance at the very top level. Maybe 30 people in the world who can do this. Money, technology, politics, intrigue. And in one fell swoop they f%~ked it all up. Nobody has a clue about formula one any more. The general public couldn't pick Charles Le Clerc out of a line up. There is no metric possible to convince me that the CVC partnership has been anything but an unmitigated disaster for F1.

The same will happen to rugby. We will stay engaged, but less and less of us will fork out for Sky Sports Rugby Premium at 60 euros a game or whatever they come up with. Please try and tell me some good will come of this but I just cant see it.

The TV rights boom with the Premiership was a once off confluence of events and football is the worlds most popular sport, if you are loosing money you are an idiot. NFL is a lot of things, exciting and profitable for one, but its is also a made up sport which only really is enjoying a narrow-ish 20 year window of popularity. The Franchise system is about the farthest thing I would want from a sporting team - I bet a Chiefs fan could name Pat Mahomes and maybe one other on their team. We can't point to these outliers and say this is what we want from rugby.

And yes, the money the money, the money. CVC will give the unions much needed cash and that will benefit players. It will benefit owners certainly. Rugby players already earn vastly less than their sporting counterparts (and vastly less than they deserve in my opinion) I do not think divvying up a couple of hundred grand from CVC will change this at all - maybe window dressing at best. And nor would CVC want this - overpaying (in their eyes) players is an inefficient use of resources.

Another poster Hugonaut somewhere had an excellent post about its really very simple, rugby has to be free to air to be popular and grow. It is super frustrating that sports administrators cannot see this.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby blockhead » May 26th, 2020, 10:01 pm

Up Wexford wrote:Personally I think the CVC deal is a disaster for rugby. It really frustrates me how very intelligent sporting people can perform the mental gymnastics to convince themselves that CVC is good for their sport.

CVC capital is a business venture to identify assets and extract cash from it for themselves. Nothing more. If you sell your product to CVC you are treating it as a purely business transaction with an agreed exchange of goods and or assets, simple as. And that's fine, as long as you as a Union or Federation, say to all your stakeholders - fans and players included - that I do not value this as a sporting/social/intangible product but as a purely economic one and am well aware of the consequences. See how far that gets you I suppose.

Formula 1 used to grip the world for 30 weekends a year in the 90's. It cannot be overstated what an incredible product they had. Go as fast as you can to win. Performance at the very top level. Maybe 30 people in the world who can do this. Money, technology, politics, intrigue. And in one fell swoop they f%~ked it all up. Nobody has a clue about formula one any more. The general public couldn't pick Charles Le Clerc out of a line up. There is no metric possible to convince me that the CVC partnership has been anything but an unmitigated disaster for F1.

The same will happen to rugby. We will stay engaged, but less and less of us will fork out for Sky Sports Rugby Premium at 60 euros a game or whatever they come up with. Please try and tell me some good will come of this but I just cant see it.

The TV rights boom with the Premiership was a once off confluence of events and football is the worlds most popular sport, if you are loosing money you are an idiot. NFL is a lot of things, exciting and profitable for one, but its is also a made up sport which only really is enjoying a narrow-ish 20 year window of popularity. The Franchise system is about the farthest thing I would want from a sporting team - I bet a Chiefs fan could name Pat Mahomes and maybe one other on their team. We can't point to these outliers and say this is what we want from rugby.

And yes, the money the money, the money. CVC will give the unions much needed cash and that will benefit players. It will benefit owners certainly. Rugby players already earn vastly less than their sporting counterparts (and vastly less than they deserve in my opinion) I do not think divvying up a couple of hundred grand from CVC will change this at all - maybe window dressing at best. And nor would CVC want this - overpaying (in their eyes) players is an inefficient use of resources.

Another poster Hugonaut somewhere had an excellent post about its really very simple, rugby has to be free to air to be popular and grow. It is super frustrating that sports administrators cannot see this.


I not sure you are correct, I fear you might be. Good post.
BTW. I used to love F1, many a Sunday in front of the telly soaking up all the tech info, couldn't tell you a thing about it these days.
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Re: Pro 14 - General Thread

Postby blockhead » May 26th, 2020, 10:19 pm

Guinness PRO14 boss lifts lid on multi-million pound deal, British & Irish League and how this season will end
BySimon Thomas
26 MAY 2020
After months of negotiation and speculation, the Guinness PRO14 has finally secured investment from CVC Capital Partners, who have bought a 28 per cent share in the competition for some £125m.

The Welsh Rugby Union will get around £33m as their share of the deal in staged payments.

In turn, CVC will receive 28 per cent of the competition’s commercial income per annum.

Rugby correspondent Simon Thomas caught up with PRO14 chief executive Martin Anayi to discuss the link-up and address the criticism it has provoked in some quarters.

In a detailed interview, Anayi also gives his thoughts on a potential British & Irish League and when the PRO14 is likely to resume following the coronavirus lockdown.

Q: How difficult was it getting the CVC deal over the line in the current climate?

A: It has taken a fair amount of time and due process because it’s quite a complicated deal.

It was coming to a head positively prior to coronavirus and the crisis. Then, rightly, as soon as the game started going off air, they took time to review in full. It was a really detailed process.

But because it’s such a crisis, you are all in it together and you work out a way of doing the deal because it still makes sense.

They view they took, in the end, was it’s a strong robust business and it will bounce back.

It shows the character those guys have got that they weren’t concerned unduly by the short-term. They were looking mid to long term.

The reality is it’s a deal that hasn’t changed during this coronavirus period in terms of the figures involved. We are really happy with that and that we were able to drive the same values we were getting prior to the crisis.

That shows you the kind of partners we are bringing on board. They get rugby, they get its potential. They like what we have done so far with the PRO14 and think they can do a lot more with it. They have seen the vision for it for where we want to take it. It’s exciting.

It’s exactly what we need at the right time, some really positive news when we need it most. It’s a good deal and we are pleased to get it over the line.

We now have money we can invest for the benefit of the league and the teams and make amazing strides forward. We have got the fire power to make it as good as it can be.

Q: Critics of CVC maintain they asset-stripped Formula 1 and question why you are getting on board with them. What would you say to that?

A: That’s just not accurate. I was involved in Formula 1 at the time through my work at IMG, representing drivers and so on. The opposite is actually true. They tripled the turnover of the teams in nine years.

So it’s a strange narrative that just isn’t true. If you compare and contrast the Formula 1 business now to when they came on board, there is no comparison.

The guys at CVC are incredible in what they do. They are very switched on. They understand the sports and entertainment business better than anyone in the whole world and they are super connected. I can’t speak highly enough of them, honestly.

Q: Who are they exactly?

A: They are a private equity fund. Originally it was Citybank Venture Capital. The guys we are dealing with are London-based and they know their rugby inside out. It’s easy to cast stones, but when you dig a little deeper into CVC, they are extremely professional and they have huge expertise in the sports and entertainment business. They love their rugby, care about it deeply and will help us see it prosper.

Them coming on board is a massive statement of intent and a stamp of approval that we have a great game and it can develop and get bigger.

Q: Have they essentially been handed responsibility for doing all commercial deals for PRO14?

A: They are not taking ownership over that, they are still in partnership with us as management and Unions. It’s not as simple as saying we have given them the commercial rights. They will help me and my team to grow those rights.

They are very good strategic investors, but they won’t run the business. They will ask me to do that for them, in the same way the Unions do.

Q: With CVC having now bought into both the English Premiership and the PRO14, there is an assumption that we will move towards a British and Irish League. Is that their end goal?

A: For us, it’s about growing the PRO14, developing it and making it a thriving competition in its own right.

We play the English already in Europe. Our job is to run 33 weekends per year of league and European rugby. All of that revenue goes into a central company now and we can distribute that out to our Unions and teams.

Having a South African element to that is really important financially and competitively.

I think that’s how CVC have looked at this. They are an investor now in Premiership rugby and the PRO14 and through that have an interest in how EPCR grows.

So I think it would be a difficult thing overnight just to switch that off.

If you have a British & Irish League, what do you do with Europe? That’s the reality.

CVC have invested for a reason and I wouldn’t say that’s to close off potential avenues of the game becoming more vibrant in different countries.

I can’t see them rolling back from that, but you never know.

The British & Irish League is something that has been talked about for years. The execution of it is where it becomes difficult.

The English are quite happy with their league, we have got a European Cup, we are very happy with that. There are only a certain amount of weekends in a year.

A British & Irish League has just never been the thing that has made the most sense practically or from a revenue point of view. That’s not to say that it won’t at some point in the future. But I think the direction of travel is in a different direction at this stage.

We quite like where we are going at the moment.

Q: Are you looking to expand the PRO14 or you are going to stick with the current teams?

A: We have always been very interested in South Africa. We like them and see them as a key part of our future.

The tournament works well at the moment but could work better if you could add teams to it. So that’s one avenue potentially.

There’s also the potential of a World Club Cup every four years and obviously there’s a global season discussion going on at the moment.

Q: Where are we on the completing the PRO14 season?

A: We have got eight rounds of matches left to play and we are not going to get those in.

But our aim is still to have a winner of the league for the 2019-20 season.

We have put together various contingency plans.

We have got to do it safely and with the say-so of our governments. It’s much more complicated for a cross-border competition like ours.

You can’t force guys back into a contact game without the correct amount of training.
A player from each of the PRO14 sides line up at a launch at Cardiff City Stadium (Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

So firstly, we have to make sure we are allowed to go back to training.

That dictates when we can start and when we can resume the season and how many games we would have.

We also have the knock-out rounds of Europe to fit in.

I think what’s most likely is we will have some form of truncated end to the league season, with some derby games and some play off games, as many as we can get in depending on how long we’ve got available to us.

Q: The IRFU chief executive, Philip Browne, has said the aim in Ireland is to start back with inter-provincial PRO14 games behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium on August 22-23. Is that when you see the league resuming across the board?

A: The medical advice is you need four to six weeks of training prior to playing a competitive game. You just can’t rush that. If you do, we will have injuries.

We are still to agree on the exact date and we are at the behest of government on that.

But given the training window and the weeks we have to play with, you are looking at the middle to end of August as the best case scenario.

We are realistically looking at four weekends, with two rounds of derby matches and then semi-final and final.

We have to come to a culmination of our season that everyone is happy with and we have got to make sure it’s equitable.

There may be a EPCR play-off game as well, depending on how many teams we have in the Champions Cup next season.

It sounds like we might go to 24 teams, with us having eight places, which would mean we wouldn’t need a play-off, but we will learn more about that in the next week or so.

Q: If that was the case, how would the eight be chosen? Would it be the top four eligible sides from each conference or the eight sides with the most points?
A: That’s not yet been agreed.
Once we know how many teams we have, we will need to decide how they qualify. We will need to agree with our teams and our board who makes up the eight. Let’s see how many we have first
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