Top14 Stabilizing With Increased TV Revenue Leveling Playing Field
After "years of overspending," the Top14 is stabilizing as increased TV revenue has begun to "level the playing field for those clubs not backed by a millionaire owner," according to Julien Pretot of REUTERS. French clubs have won eight European Cups with another 13 runners-up since the competition was created in the '95-96 season "and, able to offer wages unmatched anywhere else, attracted world class players." Arguably the "two biggest names in the game over the last decade were tempted in" as New Zealand's Dan Carter joined Perpignan in '08 and England's Jonny Wilkinson signed for Toulon in '09. Yet those salaries and large squads "came at a heavy financial cost" and by '14, "about a third of the French elite clubs had an operating deficit" (REUTERS, 1/17).