Rugby Australian boss Phil Waugh is adamant speeding up the game and having the ball in play longer is paramount to winning back disillusioned fans.
Waugh is in Auckland for a Super Rugby Pacific interim board meeting with his New Zealand Rugby Union counterpart Mark Robinson, which many might also describe as crisis talks for the ailing code in Australia.
While Super Rugby Pacific interim chair Kevin Molloy rejected the assertion that the competition was "in strife", the three heavyweights of the SANZAR alliance agree they must be proactive to stop the decline in interest.
Molloy said Monday's meeting was an important "starting point" in which the board brainstormed for hours about how to "reignite the flame" among fans.
"I don't think it's fair to say we're in strife," he said.
"But it's fair to say that we are really cognisant of the fact that we're not just competing with the powerhouses of the NRL and other major sporting events.
"But we've got an entertainment industry out there and it's tough for people at the moment.
"It's tough in terms of where they spend their discretionary dollar."
Waugh is convinced fans need to see the ball in play more and says stoppages must be minimised.
Incredibly, statistics showed that the ball was actually in play for less than half of the 80-minute match times during the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.
Improvements were made this year, with less intervention from television match officials (TMOS) but Waugh said even more tweaks were likely to be in store during 2024.
"We've been leaders of innovation probably when Super Rugby started (in 1996)," he said.
"It was innovative, it was fast and it was the best provincial competition in the world. We need to get back there.
"If you think about what can we tinker with, interestingly, if I talked about ball in play, it was actually ball out of play. It was stoppage time when really you lose a lot of the consumer engagement.
"So for the fans, how do we actually shorten the ball out of play? Maximise ball in play to actually speed the game up?"
With Australian wins over Kiwi opposition few and far between over the past decade and more, Waugh accepts improvement must be made by the ACT Brumbies, Queensland Reds, NSW Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force for the competition's integrity.
"We know our performances across not just the international game but the Super Rugby performances haven't been the level they need to be," he said.
Molloy also conceded even in these tough times that the Australian and New Zealand governing bodies may need to invest more in order to revive interest levels in Super Rugby.
"I think there is a fiscal reality that they are going to have to invest more than what they have invested in the past," said the interim chair.
Australian Associated Press