Heather du Plessis-Allan: Why the Silver Lake deal isn't very fair for the players

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 May 2021, 4:30PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Why the Silver Lake deal isn't very fair for the players

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 May 2021, 4:30PM

I’ve got to be honest about this proposed Silver Lake deal with NZ Rugby: I’m a little bit surprised to learn that the rugby players aren’t quite the greedy jerks we’d been led to believe.  

Now this might not be news to you, but for some reason I didn’t realise this until I heard it on the radio this morning, but did you realise that NZR is asking the rugby players to take a pay cut to make this deal work?  

This is how it works. At the moment, the rugby players get 36.5 percent of all revenue that’s set aside for players’ salaries. So that’s 36. percent of the whole pie.

But now, NZR is proposing to sell some of the pie - 12.5 percent - to Silver Lake.

You would think that shouldn’t affect the size of the slice that the rugby players get: they keep their bit, Silver Lake gets its bit, and NZR just takes a smaller cut because they’re the ones pocketing the sale money.

But no. NZR is asking the rugby players to also take a smaller cut. So to adjust it and instead of getting the 36.5 percent of the whole pie, they instead now take 36.5 percent of what’s left of the pie.

Which basically leaves them without about 31 percent.

So how that works in dollar terms is that if the revenue is $200 million. Their share of $73 million drops to $62 million.

Is that fair? Doesn’t feel like it is to me, because they’re essentially seeing part of their share of revenue sold from underneath them 

They’re not getting 36.5 percent of the money Silver Lake is paying for this.

Look, yes it is a lot of money, but that’s got to pay for all the professional players out there, from Beauden Barrett to women rugby players . So you cut it back, you might not be able to keep all the players you want.

Now, I’m not picking sides here. I don’t necessarily like the alternative proposal from the rugby players’ association and I certainly wouldn’t be one of the mum and dad investors lining up to buy in NZR right now.

But I have growing sympathy for the rugby players here. NZR’s full noise attack on the rugby players and Rob Nicholl was suspiring on Friday. 

I think it might backfire a bit. Especially when you, like me, realise the players aren’t actually being greedy after all.