How to improve the NPC
I totally accept we'll never see current ABs in the comp again, but there are other things that can be done to spice it up a little.
The finals this year will be on the weekends of 18th - 20th and 25th - 27th of October. This is a pretty traditional domestic season completion window, going back 20 years or so at least. But there's no reason why we can't play on for a couple of weeks into even better weather, while the All Blacks are still touring (the now yearly NH tour doesn't finish until late November normally). Better weather = better crowds, while November is still light on international cricket normally, and this might allow a merger of the two upper tiers of the competition and a much more palatable proper round robin.
The NZRU needs to recognise the provincial base is being eroded, and a little too dramatically. With that goes star power and bums on seats also. One leak they can plug is guys playing in Japan in lieu of provincial rugby. If they're at that level, then they're at SR level and we need those guys playing domestic rugby here. I know they let them go and still come back and play SR rugby in order to not lose them to our game completely, but it's counter-productive. Their presence in SR helps overseas players develop as much as our own, whilst also inhibiting the development of our replacement provincial players by not being around in the domestic comp. So either pay them more to play both levels for NZ teams, or simply block them from going to Japan when it clashes with the NPC. Again, these guys put bums on seats while contributing to player development.
Schedule more afternoon games even if there are clashes, especially in August and September when the weather is shit to average. Televise them all live across Sky's channels, but maybe this is where a 'Red Zone' kind of show comes in so the casual fan can keep on top of over-lapping games (I'd say generally three games) on another channel. Save the genuinely signficant clashes or simply those between the larger market teams for feature games in prime time ala the NBA TV schedule and don't give us Manawatu vs Southland (just a random example) at 7.30 on a Friday or Saturday night.
Add some fucking hype. Lack of hype in SR is bad enough but the NPC may as well be in a casket. Better trailers, better coverage packaging inc music and graphics (eg the music on the Sky intro is boring and hasn't changed for years), more exciting/funnier hosts and I'm gonna say it, find a couple of female hosts who a) know the game or at least appear to and b) have some sex appeal (they're on TV and trying to draw viewers for FFS). The latter certainly ain't PC, but it's marketing 101 and the Aussie channels who cover the NRL and AFL seem to find female hosts who fit that bill by the spade, so why can't we dredge up a couple?? Create a show about the game that has some genuine humour to it. Again, why are the Aussies so good as this and we're so horribly terrible?
Just a few ideas.