Following the submission of expressions of interest which closed yesterday, the New South Wales Rugby Union is excited by the expansion of the Super Rugby competition in 2011, saying it will be a win for the entire Rugby community.
“At the moment we only get six or seven home games per year, but from 2011 we’ll have 16 matches and eight of those will be at home,” said Mr L’Estrange.
“The financial benefits of having more product to sell will come through almost immediately, particularly given we get to host each of the sides in the Australian conference every year.”
Mr L’Estrange said the expanded competition would also help the Waratahs footprint spread further, with more matches set to be played at ANZ Stadium.
“When we signed the deal with ANZ Stadium back in 2005 we locked in the deal to play two regular season matches at the venue from 2011,” said Mr L’Estrange.
“We played our first match at Homebush this season against the Crusaders and it was by far the biggest crowd of any Super Rugby match in Australia this year which shows the support the Waratahs have all over Sydney.”
Like the rest of the Australian Rugby community, NSWRU will now watch on in anticipation of the upcoming stages of the bidding process. Expressions of interest for the new franchise closed yesterday and featured bids from Victoria, Queensland, western Sydney and country NSW.
The Australian Rugby Union will assess the respective expressions of interest over the coming weeks and decide whether one or more of them should be forwarded to SANZAR for its consideration next month.
The SANZAR Executive Committee will then decide how many of the interested parties should proceed to the next stage of submitting a full bid document. Those bids will be due in mid to late September with a final decision from SANZAR expected in late October.
“There’s obviously a lot of interest out there to play in the Australian conference which is a good thing,” said Mr L’Estrange.
“The ARU will clearly consider all the pros and cons of the various bids in everything from location to financial support and in particular the effect they could have on the existing license holders.
“Over the last few years we’ve played matches in Campbelltown, Bathurst, Gosford, Wollongong and Newcastle, players continue to make hundreds of appearances in Sydney and around the state and we’re very conscious of the fact that we have a history of over 125 years being NSW Rugby‘s representative team.
“The expansion to a Super 15 in 2011 will give fans even more opportunities to support the Waratahs which will be great for the team, our members, our corporate partners and the entire NSW Rugby community.”