A license for the Crusaders Super Rugby franchise has been sold by the New Zealand Rugby Union.
From next year the Crusaders will be run by a South Island provincial union-based group for the next eight seasons.
Crusaders Limited Partnership is owned by all six Crusaders unions - Canterbury, Tasman, South Canterbury, Mid Canterbury, Buller and West Coast.
Last month a licence to manage the Hurricanes was awarded to a Wellington group comprising the Wellington Rugby Union and local investors.
Each of the provincial unions will make a capital contribution to the Crusaders franchise totalling $200,000.
The parties will also contribute a $300,000 loan meaning the new at the Crusaders Limited Partnership will begin its operation with $500,000 in funds.
The NZRU chief executive Steve Tew expects a bid being submitted for the Blues will lead to a licence for the franchise being issued for 2014 and is also hopeful of one for the Chiefs too.