The Super Rugby Saga: Don’t Buy a Race Horse

The Shangri-Las sang it first back in 1964, with notable covers thereafter from the likes of Bette Midler, Melissa Etheridge and even Twisted Sister. We refer to the song Leader of the Pack.
And readers of this column are once again leading the pack when it comes to the Australian Super Rugby saga.
On Wednesday, your columnist delved into the latest Super Rugby rumours (The Fleetwood Mac Theory). We exposed the behind-the-scenes moves by the Victorian Government to scupper the ARU’s negotiations with private Rebels owner Andrew Cox to buy back his Super Rugby licence.
Well it took a couple of days, but the mainstream media is starting to take heed of The Fleetwood Mac Theory.
Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today reported that the Victorian Government had indeed become a key player in the ARU’s negotiations with Cox over his Rebels licence.
To quote the Daily Telegraph: “Whether Andrew Cox remains as the club’s private owner is far from certain. Our spies tell us negotiations are well advanced between Cox’s Imperium Group, the ARU and the Victorian Government about shifting the (Rebels) licence back to the VRU (Victorian Rugby Union).”
Well, as they say in the bakery game, that’s the day before yesterday’s news.
But as your columnist extrapolated on Wednesday, talk is cheap and any intervention by the Victorian Government, or anyone else for that matter, will come at a cost. And you can just picture the conga line of cash-strapped Melbourne sporting teams going cap-in-hand to the Victorian Government for some of that largesse if the precedent is set to use taxpayer’s money to bail out the private owner of a rugby team.
Keep in mind also that buying a sporting team is like buying a race horse. It’s only the start of the spending process – with no guarantee whatsoever of any sort of financial return in the future.
At the end of the day, the cold hard fiscal facts remain unchanged. Cox is a willing seller. And the ARU is a willing buyer. And therein lies the solution to the Australian Super Rugby saga.
Stay tuned…