Rugby Australia have made a 'game-changing' intervention to host the British and Irish Lions Tour this year, according to a report Gavin Mairs at the Telegraph.
According to the report, Rugby Australia are making an offer to underwrite the costs of relocating the series Down Under and it is understood that RA’s offer of a minimum guarantee, which has government backing, would also ensure a profitable return for both the Lions and South Africa - even in the worst-case scenario that a match had to be played behind closed doors because of a short-notice lockdown as a result of a coronavirus outbreak.
The offer would effectively remove the financial risk of relocating the tour to Australia, which has been seen as the main stumbling block to the innovative plan for all three Test matches to be played in front of capacity crowds at major stadiums in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.
“This is a potential game-changer,” said one source. “There is so much to like about the Australia option and it would be very popular with the players because it would feel like a proper tour. The sticking point was making the numbers work. With a minimum guarantee from Rugby Australia, that risk would effectively be removed.”
It is understood that RA’s commercial team made a presentation to Lions officials on Tuesday to outline the full details of their blueprint to host the tour in Australia and addressed key financial issues, including any impact of switching the location would have on key sponsors.