Officials from Super Rugby organisers SANZAR will meet early in 2014 to try and agree on a new format that will accommodate at least 16 Super Rugby teams.
SANZAR have given South Africa the assurance that they will have six Super Rugby teams when the new broadcast deal and format kicks off in 2016.
The biggest obstacle is that the current format of three equal conferences of five teams each cannot work with 16 teams so the format will have to change and the home and away local derbies could be dropped.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew says that opinions are split on whether the home and away side of the format should be retained or scrapped.
"It appears looking at the numbers from this year's competition that we haven't increased the total number of people watching games, we've just moved them from some games to others," Tew told Fairfax NZ News.
Tew also revealed that New Zealand's top Super Rugby players were not all in favour of the home and away derbies.
"If you ask the high performance guys and the players, they aren't enamored with the idea of bashing each other up twice a year before they get together in an All Blacks side."
The future Super Rugby format was one of a number of issues that were discussed in yesterday's NZRU final board meeting for 2013.
The home and away derbies are unpopular in South Africa as they double up on the domestic Currie Cup fixtures and Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach has also said recently that it was reducing interest in the national provincial championship.
"I think the Stormers and Sharks played each other something like five times this year and we don't want to get to the point where that's the case here," Tew said.
"Although I think we have a much greater differentiation between our Super Rugby teams and our NPC teams."
Tew said that like every issue that was being discussed there were pros and cons he added that they were confident they could iron out a deal that will appeal to everyone involved.
"We are committed to getting this nailed early in the new year so we can present to the broadcasters on time, which is in June," he said. "Next time they meet they will almost lock themselves in a room and not come out until they've nailed it."
Tew added that there was a common interest in including Argentina although that brings a number of complications in terms of travel, draws, and cost so it remains to be seen whether it will be a viable option for 2016.
Tew said other format options included a a 17-teams competition, separate conferences, extended playoffs, and a full round robin.
"You name it we are looking at it to see if it will work," Tew said.