Jaguares bring a potential market of 40 million people to Super Rugby. Sunwolves even more and with 125,000 registered rugby players, and over 3600 official rugby clubs, the potential for expansion is huge.
Rebels bring nothing, They operate in a market with One NRL team, 10 AFL teams and 15 VFL teams. They are completely under the radar in Melbourne. I was in Melbourne a couple of years ago during the Super Rugby season..... NO local radio coverage, NO TV coverage and getting results from the Newspapers was a no-go. AFL? Pages and pages and pages and pages in the newspapers. Rugby? Nada! I finally got come results from a copy of the SMH. I did eventually find Super Rugby mentioned the sports section of The Age; about two column-inches of scores buried near the bottom of page eleventy-twelve!
Meanwhile the Force operated in a market where there is no RL presence at professional level, and only two professional AFL teams (The Dockers and the Eagles). Furthermore, the Rebels have been hugely more expensive than the Force to run. Here is what Geoff Stooke had to say when he walked away in disgust from the ARU...
“I never wanted to throw any team under the ‘bus’ but to create a situation that considers retaining a team that has lost almost $30million (including nearly $17.5million additional cost to the ARU) since 2011 at the expense of a team that has incurred additional cost to the ARU of only $5.5million since 2005 is outrageous! We should be rewarding success not failure.
By my quick back of the envelope calculation, the Force cost $417,000 p.a. in additional costs, the, Rebels cost $6 million p.a.... over 14 times as much. That the Rebels should have been cut instead of the Force is an absolute no-brainer on every level.