Rugby CEO calls for TV blackouts to increase crowd numbers in Mitre 10 Cup

Tasman Rugby CEO Tony Lewis thinks TV blackouts may help raise crowd numbers in the Mitre 10 Cup. Photo / Photosport
Tasman Rugby CEO Tony Lewis thinks TV blackouts may help raise crowd numbers in the Mitre 10 Cup. Photo / Photosport

Tasman Rugby chief executive Tony Lewis is calling for a trial of TV blackouts in order to help boost falling crowd numbers in the Mitre 10 Cup.

The initiative, used some time ago by Channel 9 in Australia, works by turning off live coverage for fans within the immediate area of the home team.

For example, viewers in the Tasman region wouldn't be able to watch the Makos play live, whereas those around the country would still have access.

Talking to Tony Veitch on Newstalk ZB, Lewis said CEO's around the country had met and discussed the idea and that the interest is there.

"I think it would be really interesting to blackout Tasman or Auckland for a game," Lewis said. "Just to see how it goes, and see if it changed things."

Lewis believes the All Blacks window doesn't help the local competitions as people only have a certain amount of money to spend on watching live rugby.

However, he feels the desire and ability to do it is there.

"At the chief executive's meeting the other day, it was raised as a concept, and no one really knew the answer. But the answer probably is, with today's technology, everything can be done," he said.

"To me, it's probably one of the things we can trial, just to have a look at it."

Lewis also cited late starts as a reason for fans not showing up. He would rather have more games played in the early afternoon, with the option from Sky subscribers to select which game they watch via remote.

- NZ Herald

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