Letter: Joyous occasion – at what cost?

What a joyous occasion – the Kings beat a South African team in the Super Rugby conference.

However, at what cost? I note many a petition on social media to keep the Kings at the stadium. I for one would love to see that.

I am, however, not oblivious to the facts:

1 Southern Kings has no sponsor, bar potentially the NMB Municipality (in whose interest it is to keep them here), white elephant stadium and all.

2 SA Rugby has this season and the previous one carried the Southern Kings to the tune of R40-million annually. According to the SA Rugby website (Annual Report), SA Rugby does not have the balance sheet to fund another year of Southern Kings. And why should they fund teams when other teams aren’t bailing for bail-outs?

So SA Rugby pays the salaries, travels, transport, passports, team expenses, medical aid, professional liability insurance and I assume stadium costs (rental, gym, lunches, field usage, training venue upkeep). Is that the business of the managing union of rugby? I think not!

3 Much hype existed that with Cheeky Watson gone, sponsors will roll in. That silence is deafening.

4 I believe the Southern Kings will remain in Super Rugby to 2020 when all other franchises that have commercial owners will convince Sanzaar that to avoid litigation, that is in rugby’s best interest.

5 18 000 people came to watch. I am informed that 6 000 tickets were given away to clubs, 3 000 to the municipality, which leaves on average only 9 000 sold tickets.

At an average price of R60, that means only R540 000 of income was made. Subtract from that the stadium costs of medical, safety and security and food for teams.

I doubt there would be much profit left to pay players with. I would love to know the cost that the advertising campaign by Boomtown and Sapphire Road cost to get the marketing done and have the stadium sweat as per the stadium spokesperson – but does the relatively small attendance justify the cost and to whom?

6 In my view, SA Rugby ought not to be involved in teams. It clouds the team’s function and really is not a PE team at all.

7 R15-million by the mayor over six years to bring three test matches here. How does that help the Southern Kings – not at all – as it is the liquidator’s money in EP Rugby Union, a wholly different body.

I hope a phenomenal PE-based consortium takes up the challenge and starts running the Southern Kings like a business with local talented players remaining here and not being dependent on outside assistance and handouts.

How I wish PE would put its money where its mouth is – 9 000 paying public, disgraceful. Here is hoping there is more interest and more paying customers this weekend.

Epilogue . . . what on earth is happening at the stadium? 55 minutes to find a beer, no toilet paper, surly security guards open to bribes by fellow attendees, street children begging at food kiosks and not safe all round with a pickpocket or two about. It is unacceptable – municipality wants to run the stadium, they should take lessons!

Leave a Reply