Any potential alternative to Super Rugby would be played behind closed doors, Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee says as the New Zealand franchises battle with the implications of coronavirus.
With Super Rugby now suspended until further notice, the idea of a round robin-style tournament between the five New Zealand sides - the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders - has been suggested.
New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson yesterday saying that any prospective competition could be announced by the end of this week.
Fronting media in Wellington today, Hurricanes CEO Lee says an alternative competition is almost certain to be held behind closed doors.
"In reality, that's where it's all heading," Lee said.
"But I don't think we can make that call at this stage. If you follow the way this situation is moving through the world, and what's happening to other sports, you'd probably say it's a TV-only product."
"We've obviously got a lot of fans, our members and our partners that we would dearly love to be part of it, but we're also keeping things in perspective, in terms of the health and safety risk of New Zealanders."
"That's got to be paramount, and within that are our staff, our players and our fans. It's hard to make a call now, but you could certainly see how it would be played behind closed doors."
Lee also says that the Hurricanes are staying open to ideas at the moment, with nothing certain amid the outbreak of coronavirus.
"We actually don't know what's going to happen, it's a very fluid situation. Super Rugby could be all over in the next couple of days.
"We're playing it day-by-day, we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow."
"We've got a plan B, so I think that's really important. If Super Rugby is suspended, we've got something viable that could work in New Zealand, and provide support and content for key partners of the game.
"We've got a lot of people that want to play, that want to be coaching, etc. Compared to the nature of this situation, it's not as important as it normally might've felt."
"We're obviously looking at where this competition could go, because a lot of people play rugby and their livelihoods depend on rugby.
"But also, in talking to the New Zealand Government, they're very keen for this competition to happen if Super Rugby falls over."
"It's something for the people of New Zealand to look forward to in a really difficult time, we all realise that rugby isn't very important at this time.
"It's something to look forward to at the end of the week."