Is the answer to saving New Zealand’s professional sports teams creating super-franchises? The Extra Time podcast asks sports leaders. 

Professional sport is slowly emerging from the grip of the pandemic but its financial future is far from certain.

Covid-19 highlighted a weakness in the structure of professional sport in New Zealand, and nearly $5 million in government funding was handed out to prop up netball’s ANZ Premiership, Super Rugby, the Wellington Phoenix and the Warriors.

While grateful for Sport New Zealand’s help, Netball New Zealand CEO Jennie Wyllie says change has to be made for the ongoing recovery of sport, and it has to come from a combined effort between codes. And that could mean creating super-franchises – businesses that run a collection of professional teams from different sports.

“Doing what we have been doing isn’t going to achieve our goals,” Wyllie says in this week’s Extra Time podcast. “Every single franchise wants to engage with fans, be financially viable and be vibrant. 

“We’re all chasing the same thing and we will cannibalise each other.  The market is too small for us to have 10 different brands in [each city].”

A combined franchise model could have helped the Tactix, who suffered after Netball Mainland went into liquidation during lockdown. Crusaders Colin Mansbridge says they are already talking to the Tactix about what they could do together. 

Wyllie and Mansbridge join Rob Morrison from the Phoenix and Sport New Zealand boss Peter Miskimmin looking into the crystal ball examining the future of sport with host, RNZ sports editor Stephen Hewson.

* Extra Time is a podcast brought to you by RNZ, Stuff and LockerRoom.

Stephen Hewson is the RNZ sports editor and a host of the Extra Time podcast.

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