An application of attractiveness measures to evaluate the optimal structure of Currie Cup rugby
Recent remarks in the media suggest that the Currie Cup competition, the premier rugby union competition in South Africa, is in need of a revamp. This paper uses new measures of the attractiveness of rugby union matches to argue that the Currie Cup has become one of the less attractive competitions in the rugby-playing world and that the participation of weak teams has contributed significantly to this tendency. Against this background, the paper discusses two proposals for restructuring the competition to restore its attractiveness: a competition with only the five teams that have historically dominated Currie Cup rugby, and a competition with this five and one additional team. It is found that that the five-team structure should yield the most attractive outcomes, but a six-team competition also would be relatively more attractive than most rugby union competitions and would be more likely to be acceptable to key decision makers in South African rugby.