New Zealand Rugby could be in for a massive $465 million cash injection from a global technology investment company.
Tech investor Silver Lake wants to buy a 15 percent share in a commercial joint venture.
Some of that new money could be spent on getting rugby games shown in houses that don't have Sky TV.
It's NZ Rugby's plan to get much-needed cash and still keep control of the game.
And former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains is excited.
"The legacy of the All Blacks and the game itself in New Zealand is totally protected from any outside interests," Mains tells Newshub. "It's exactly what New Zealand has been looking for for the last 10 years."
He has been briefed, but won't disclose any details.
But Newshub understands the deal would see NZ Rugby and Silver Lake set up a new company, with an ownership split about 85 percent NZ Rugby and 15 percent Silver Lake.
That company would negotiate broadcast and merchandise deals.
Silver Lake would take 15 percent of the profits and in return, NZ Rugby gets $465 million.
"Financially, it will give New Zealand Rugby the opportunity to do the work at grassroots they really want to," Mains says.
The money is also earmarked to get rugby games into homes that don't have Sky TV.
"There will be an attempt," Mains explains. "They are not sure how it will happen yet, but there is finance available to get rugby into more homes."
Silver Lake is a global technology investment company, with US$75 billion worth of assets, producing $180 billion in revenue and employing 400,000 people.
Among its investments are English football powerhouse Manchester City, the New York Knicks basketball team and the UFC, and it plans to target the 32 million All Blacks fans around the world.
"What it means for them is hopefully better access to viewing of live games, better access for merchandise and promoting the game," Mains says.
NZ Rugby is tightlipped about the plan and won't even name Silver Lake, only saying it's "on a path to look at what an investor might look like" and it's "consulting with its stakeholders".
That consultation's already underway. Rugby bosses are on a regional roadshow to convince all 26 provincial rugby unions, starting in Dunedin on Thursday, moving to Christchurch on Friday morning and carrying on in all major locations for a couple of weeks.
The deal is not yet done, but after COVID-19 put a cloud over rugby revenues, Silver Lakes cash could be a silver lining.