New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew has addressed concerns surrounding the struggling attendance figures that have plagued New Zealand Super Rugby franchises this season.
When asked by Newstalk ZB's Mark Watson why fixtures were not scheduled in the afternoon more regularly, Tew said the concept was not plausible for financial reasons.
"When we play games in the afternoon, the television audience, which is the number of fans we rely on, goes down by somewhere between 40 and 70 per cent," he stated.
"If we had played those games during the day all year-round, then the money we would have received from the broadcasters and the rest of our commercial partners would have dropped off exponentially, and fans would be watching games without our stars because they would be overseas.
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"We would prefer to play all of our games in the afternoon as well. The other thing that it affects is club rugby throughout New Zealand. [If] you play too many games at 2.30pm on a Saturday afternoon during the club season, then you will make what is already a very difficult job for our club administrators."
Only one Super Rugby match in New Zealand had a 2.30pm kickoff time this season, with the Crusaders defeating the Highlanders 25-22 in a dramatic round 15 clash.
Tew explained that it is often too dangerous for fans to travel to and from matches played at night in South Africa, which is why South African teams are play the majority of their Super Rugby matches in the afternoon.
"One of the reasons they play [in the] day time is that it is too dangerous to play at night, and their fans simply won't go."