You are here
The PRO 12 professional league that includes Celtic teams from Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, and also two Italian clubs, announced the addition of two South African sides, the Cheetahs from Bloemfontein and the Southern Kings from Port Elizabeth. Neither of these clubs performed at the top echelon of South Africa's Super Rugby League, which will decrease next season.
Television revenues represent the primary reason why PRO 12 will become PRO 14. It is estimated that the addition of two new South African sides will expand revenue to the league by $45 million over the next six-years, a fifty-percent increase.
In addition, PRO 14 will probably form two conferences of seven sides each. The pools would be comprised of one team from Italy, Scotland, South Africa, and two fifteens from Wales and Ireland. But, importantly, the league will retain traditional, regional rivalries of same country sides. (e.g.; Glasgow versus Edinburgh, Scarlets versus Ospreys, etc.)
PRO 14 hinted it also wants to continue expansion - perhaps as early as next year - with two newly formed North American sides. Cities mentioned are Washington, DC, Houston, Toronto, and Vancouver. Would television revenues also rise if the league becomes PRO 16 with an even balance of two, eight-team conferences?
The expansion of leagues to offer more television viewing (and, subsequently, gain more revenue) proved historically successful when the European Six Nations went from five countries to six with the addition of Italy in 2000. The weekend games, formerly two contests only with one team idle, now aired three games.
The unanswered question for PRO 14 league is what will be the effect of long-distance travel to and from Europe to South Africa?