If you were given the choice, how many rugby matches would the All Blacks play in a single calendar year? Would it be 10, or is that too few as the more we can watch some of the best players in the world, the better for us rugby fans? Maybe 20 or 30 games a year is more like it? Or perhaps you think that these talented players should play on a continual basis? Well, whatever your view, at the moment in time, the All Blacks are scheduled to play 15 Tests in 2021.
The Fixtures That Lie Ahead
Despite the current Covid-19 pandemic, the All Blacks are going to attempt an ambitious European tour in 2021, where they will play France and Ireland as well as a game against Italy in Rome. Before this tour, they are going to host Fiji and Italy in July ahead of their Rugby Championship, which will consist of two games against South Africa, Argentina, and Australia. New Zealand Rugby are also planning two matches in November and are looking at venues in the United States or Asia. Obviously, whether the scheduled games go ahead as planned will depend on the Covid-19 situation in the country hosting the match and whatever border restrictions apply.
New Zealanders love their rugby, and they like to bet on it too, but they did not get many chances to watch their star players in action in 2020 as they only played six matches. As well as bet on sports, Kiwis love to play casino games too, and with the lack of live sports available in 2020, many New Zealanders signed up with online casinos in order to get their gambling fix. Finding the best online casino to register with can be tricky for New Zealanders as they have plenty of great ones to choose from and that is where www.onlinecasinonewzealand.nz comes into play. Their experts will help you to find the best online casino for you, and if you are fortunate enough to win some money, you can then invest that when the All Blacks next play.
The Problem with Playing so Many Games
It is all well and good organising a high number of Test matches to generate revenue, but all the best players will not be able to play in all the games. This is obviously good for those players on the fringes because it gives them the chance to show the rugby world what they are made of, but the paying public generally want to see all the best players playing together and showing off their flair and skills.
There is another issue that must be taken into consideration and that is wages. The more players that have to sit out of games, the more other players have to be given All Blacks contracts to fill in the gaps. You can have 15 tests in a single calendar year, but if you are going to need 40 or 50 players to fulfil the schedule then the final wage bill is going to be pretty hefty.
So, is ten Test matches in which all the best players play a lot better financially? Or should there be 30 Tests scheduled and have players playing that could have a negative impact on what the All Blacks are known for? You need to keep in mind that the All Blacks is one of the most feared and talented teams on the planet and everyone loves watching them play when they are at their best. Watching an All Blacks B team is not going to have the same effect.
It is an interesting topic to ponder. The NFL, for example, have been steadfast in keeping a 16-game season. The better teams play in the play-offs and there are some exhibition games played before the season, but the aim is always to stage 16 competitive matches where all the best players are available. This means that the integrity of the competition is not ruined either.
Silver Lake Could Invest in New Zealand Rugby
Reports are floating around that Silver Lake, a big American company, are interested in investing millions into New Zealand Rugby. In 2019, Silver Lake invested $500 million for a share in Manchester City football club. City play 38 Premier League games each season and when you add in Champions League matches as well as the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup and pre-season friendly tours, they play about 60 matches every year.
Football and rugby are obviously very different games, but if Silver Lake invest hundreds of millions into New Zealand Rugby, are they going to want them to play a lot of matches too? Rugby is a much more demanding game than football and playing 60 international matches is not possible, but maybe they will want them to play 30 or 40 games.
Rugby in New Zealand cannot pay for itself. The broadcast market, despite being quite lucrative, has not been able to keep up with wage increases and now the rugby governing body has to look at deals with private equity firms like Silver Lake as a means to keep the sport afloat. But what will the eventual cost be to the players and the overall brand of rugby? Also, what will the cost be to rugby as a whole? Football is a sport that has already been ruined by the greed of money, and we really hope that rugby does not end up that way anytime soon.
With all due respect to the Super Rugby sides in New Zealand, the All Blacks is the team that people want to watch and broadcasters, sponsors and – now perhaps – private equity companies want to invest in. But how many Tests are too much and how many are too few? This is a fascinating question that needs to be answered really quickly if we want to see their remarkable brand of rugby in the future.