After various rumours of an imminent announcement last week, the details of how the European Cup will work next season have finally been released.
This was one of the key considerations for the new accord, with the English and French clubs particularly unhappy at having to qualify on merit whilst the PRO12 clubs could rest players and walk into the top flight Heineken Cup.
The new competition will consist of:
– Top 6 from Aviva Premiership
– Top 6 from Top 14
– Top 6 from Pro12
– 1 guest team from South Africa
– a Barbarians Invitational XV
“With a South African team on board, we can guarantee a larger global audience in order to deliver greater revenues for our product, which is the name of the game.”
“The inclusion of the Barbarians side will help provide a proving ground for International Barbarians selection, whilst helping to reconnect European Rugby fans with the spirit of rugby.” The press release continued, “we want the new European Cup to be full of colour and characters, and the ‘joie de vivre’ ethos of the Barbarians will help to bring the best entertainment to our screens.”
Another big sticking point was that the English clubs had already sold the rights that they didn’t yet own to BT Sport, whilst Sky Sports had paid the ERC for rights that no longer exist.
The two companies have agreed to share rights in the UK, and will have a choice of matches to cover: BT Sport will choose three matches first, but can only pick from games involving English clubs. Sky Sports can then choose three matches from the rest, and the other games will be divided equally.
“We’re happy to share the rights with BT Sport, because they can only choose from the English teams” said a spokesman for Sky Sports. “We’ll probably end up with the matches we would have chosen anyway.”
Division of revenue
Finally, the English and French clubs are now happy that the revenues are being divided fairly. Under the previous accord, the PRO12 teams would receive a larger share of the revenue, despite drawing smaller audiences and not even having to qualify.
“Negotiations have naturally been complicated, but we feel we’ve reached the fairest method to share revenues according to the product we are each delivering on the pitch.”
It is indeed complicated, but here is how it will work:
– Each participating team will share 50% of the total tournament revenue equally, amounting to 2.5% each
– The remaining 50% will be shared according to team performance, determined by a new European Rugby Performance Points Index (ERPPI) for each match
– The number of ERRPIs accrued by each team over the course of the season will determine their share of the remaining revenue:
– Each match won will earn 10 ERPPIs for that team
– Every try scored will earn 10 ERPPIs
– Every two offloads: 2 ERPPIs
– Every yellow card will deduct 2 ERPPIs from a team, whilst a red card will cost 5 ERPPIs
– Each reset scrum: -1 ERPPI
– For every 5 penalties conceded: -1 ERPPI
– A Twitter monitor for each match will award 3 ERPPIs to the team that gets the most mentions during the game
“For the first time ever, we are linking performance on the pitch to performance off the pitch, and that’s got to be the way forward in Europe. We are all businesses now, and the best performing teams have to be rewarded appropriately.”
Heineken have agreed to continue sponsoring the top tier event, to be known simply as Heineken European Rugby.
“We’re excited to continue our support of the Champions League of Rugby” commented Heineken’s press office. “The glamorous new tournament, along with the introduction of the Heineken European Rugby Performance Points Index (HERPPIs), is something we’re all looking forward to.”
“Fan interaction will play a big part in our sponsorship activation, and we’re planning to show the realtime acquisition of HERRPIs so that fans can see how their teams are performing.”
“It’s the fairest way to reward clubs financially, according to both results and performance, and if the English or French clubs end up with the most HERRPIs, it’s no more or less than they deserve.”
What do you think of the long-awaited tournament details? Is the introduction of HERPPIs something that interests you?