Super 14 Rugby

Victoria to get Super 14 team ?

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Victorian officials are confident a Super 14 team in Melbourne would attract home crowds of more than 25,000 a game.

According to a market research study, encouraging support exists for the code despite the struggles NRL club Melbourne Storm is having attracting crowds.

Australia’s The Herald Sun also understands the Victorian Rugby Union has prepared documents showing how gate receipts, corporate hospitality takings and sponsorship income would — with a share of broadcasting rights monies — offset the more than $7 million required to establish and run a side in Melbourne.

Calculations have been based on a 1999 survey run when the VRU was attempting to gain a place in an expanded Super 12 competition.

The report predicted 411,000 Victorians either “very” or “somewhat” interested in attending a Super 14 match.

Australia’s The Herald Sun has also learned preliminary talks have taken place between the VRU and executives from Olympic Park and Telstra Dome.

Olympic Park, home of the Storm, has a capacity of 18,000 while Telstra Dome holds 55,000.

While the market research was first done with a hope that expansion would occur by 2003, it was only last week that SANZAR finally agreed to a Super 14 and expanded Tri-Nations from 2006.

A decision on where the additional Australian team would be based is expected by the end of the year, with Victorian officials denying falling crowds at Storm home matches would affect their bid.

VRU boss Ron Steiner said last night there were stark differences between the codes.

“The heritage and strong club infrastructure which is a great feature of Victorian club rugby will ensure we have excellent and sustainable support for a team,” he said.

“That, on top of the premium quality of the Super 14 competition, we’re very confident of the support we’ll get.”

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