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5 years in: Old Vs New

The Alpha Bro

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The Heino Vs the not so Heino - Which is better?

My opinion is that the new tournament is better at putting the best teams in the semi finals and finals but worse than the old tournament at literally everything else. (Sponsorship, fan engagement, prestige)

The Heineken cup was rugby's smaller nextdoor neighbor to the champions League, the champions cup feels like a forced unlicensed video game copy.

Even as a poor but hardcore fan (not a season ticket holder rn) of a team trying to go back to back and take the perch of the best European team ever I'm not quite as excited as 09, 11 or 12.
 

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They're literally exactly the same, with the minor exception of the new comp having fairer qualification
 

The Alpha Bro

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Why are the stadia empty then?
 

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General pettiness of people boycotting it and the slow death of/disinterest in club rugby.

Why do you think the crowds are lower? Its not like the format is any different.
 

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General pettiness of people boycotting it and the slow death of/disinterest in club rugby.

Why do you think the crowds are lower? Its not like the format is any different.
They've changed the schedule for one, having the semi finals and/or quarter finals on bank holiday weekends is moronic, they up the prices for semi final tickets to a price many aren't willing to pay, they're using the final as a tool to "grow the game" bringing it to the most random of places (Bilbao, Lyon, Newcastle and Marseille all will host a final before Ireland, Scotland and Wales ever do) and it's nowhere near as well marketed as the old tourney.

Apart from the semi final venue qualification being better and the less diluted team pool meaning the Welsh aren't guaranteed their spot any more I really think the EPCR ****** this up from a business perspective in comparison to the Hcup.
 

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Weren't knockouts always bank holiday?
I distinctly remember following scores on my phone when paying May Bank holiday 7s in Aberystwyth

What's wrong with them being on a bank holiday as well? Surely people are more likely to travel if they have a three or four day weekend to work with?
 

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EPCR have screwed up the knockout stages. The final being moved to mid May from the end was a bad decision. The European final should be the pinnacle of the season, not a week before the Premiership and Pro14 semi finals.

Semi final ticket prices were twice that of the quarter final. Coupled with the lack of marketing of those games, it lead to far smaller crowds than there should have been.

I've no issue with finals being moved to different venues but make sure they're more accessible than Bilbao in future.
 

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Positives

  • Five groups are better than six.
  • The qualification is better for everyone including the Pro14 teams.
  • Having poor teams that unbalance the groups was not great in a competition where the comparison between the groups was so relevant so it's fairer that way.
Negatives
  • Moving the final was stupid, but it was stupid before as well, it's just slightly worse now.
  • Sponsorship is much worse, getting Heineken back for a fraction of what they used to play would have been embarrassing if it wasn't so funny. Remember when they were planning to have FIVE major sponsors, fast forward five years and they have two, one of which was already there.
  • Fan engagement and marketing is much worse, but bringing it back to free to air television was a massive step in the right direction, as was bringing back Heineken as the title sponsor.
  • I know there are problems with having a drinks company as the title sponsor but 'European Champions Cup' was such a boring, generic name that it actually (at least in Ireland) significantly reduced fan interest. They've fixed that now though.
  • Having it on two different TV station was a really, really braindead idea. They've fixed it now though and arguably improved on where it was before the change.
  • Money distribution is worse/better depending on who you ask but that argument has been done to death.
I think the empty stadia can at least partly be blamed on teams with less fans being more successful like Saracens and Racing. Not saying these teams have no fans but they aren't as well supported as some if the teams that were dominant 10 years ago.

Overall it was definitely worse and poorly managed for the first few years but they've got their act together recently. I think Irish fans just need to accept that it's not really different, I know that I had a lot more negatives than positives but as I said a lot of them have been fixed. The old competition was far from perfect itself.
 

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I agree with virtually all of what @Leinster Fan said above.

Perhaps this is a case of being spoiled by success but looking at the thread, the only complaints are Leinster fans, myself included. A 4th and hopefully 5th title shortly are never going to carry the same prestige for fans as the 1st or 2nd titles did. That last year's final was a borefest didn't help either. If, say, Clermont, Racing, Glasgow or Exeter win a 1st title, their fans wouldn't complain about the tournament structure.
 

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Group stages = Much better
Playoffs = Much worse.

It needed to be the last club game of the season the pinnacle of the club game.
Having the final before the domestic finals is stupid.

Although i do agree it's partly down to teams who have brought success having no fans and bringing no atmosphere.
Leicester v Munster semi final in Cov would been a better experience for example.

That being said I really hope they start taking the finals to Amsterdam, Berlin/Munich, Stockholm etc would 100% be down to go to them.
 

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Much better reffing. I've given out about ref standards before but this season has been much better. Top competition for me.
 

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Group stages = Much better
Playoffs = Much worse.

It needed to be the last club game of the season the pinnacle of the club game.
Having the final before the domestic finals is stupid.

Although i do agree it's partly down to teams who have brought success having no fans and bringing no atmosphere.
Leicester v Munster semi final in Cov would been a better experience for example.

That being said I really hope they start taking the finals to Amsterdam, Berlin/Munich, Stockholm etc would 100% be down to go to them.
Totally agree about the finals. I'd love to see another one in Dublin but there have been more than enough in Cardiff/Edinburgh etc. There should be one in Rome though before we go to more Tier 1 countries. But taking the biggest club rugby teams to cities around Europe where rugby isn't a big deal can only be a good thing for the game in those places.
 

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I agree with virtually all of what @Leinster Fan said above.

Perhaps this is a case of being spoiled by success but looking at the thread, the only complaints are Leinster fans, myself included. A 4th and hopefully 5th title shortly are never going to carry the same prestige for fans as the 1st or 2nd titles did. That last year's final was a borefest didn't help either. If, say, Clermont, Racing, Glasgow or Exeter win a 1st title, their fans wouldn't complain about the tournament structure.
Yep, one of the problems for Irish fans is that it'll never actually get better than it was. Like even if we do get another 3 in 4, it won't be as special as the first one. Same goes for Munster fans.
 

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This is mostly anecdotal but just like Bilbao last year, Newcastle is proving tricky to get to, many people having to go to Leeds and rent cars or fly to Glasgow due to a lack of flights and a quick look at the destinations of Newcastle airport you'd have had a tough time coming from France. The organisation of the last two stages of this tournament, incidentally the only stages where the club's more or less have no say is absolutely shocking. If you're going to throw the final all around the place at least do it in places with genuine international airports so it's somewhat affordable to go, Lyon, Bilbao, Newcastle and Marseille just don't cut it.
 

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I could get from Toulouse to Newcastle for £120 return.

Not cheap but alright.

(Only reason I pick Toulouse is because that region of france is an arse to get to anyway
 

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I could get from Toulouse to Newcastle for £120 return.

Not cheap but alright.

(Only reason I pick Toulouse is because that region of france is an arse to get to anyway
Direct? On two weeks notice when the airlines hike the prices up for the final? Cheapest return from Dublin now is 160 and they're very late flights with a two night stay. That's fairly pricey and doesn't even cover the ticket, and a day trip is borderline impossible too.

I'll wait to pass proper judgement until next week but if they fail to sell out then criticism should be thrown their way massively, it would mean what, one sell out of a semi or final since the new tournament was conceived? (Munster v Saracens 2016) That's pathetic.
 

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Direct? On two weeks notice when the airlines hike the prices up for the final? Cheapest return from Dublin now is 160 and they're very late flights with a two night stay. That's fairly pricey and doesn't even cover the ticket, and a day trip is borderline impossible too.

I'll wait to pass proper judgement until next week but if they fail to sell out then criticism should be thrown their way massively, it would mean what, one sell out of a semi or final since the new tournament was conceived? (Munster v Saracens 2016) That's pathetic.
£100 Dublin to Newcastle there and back on the same day (Sunday) (although you would be arriving at Dublin at midnight).
 

The Alpha Bro

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£100 Dublin to Newcastle there and back on the same day (Sunday) (although you would be arriving at Dublin at midnight).
Next Saturday? Cheapest I can see on Skyscanner is E618 that would get you to the match with no delays...
 

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Next Saturday? Cheapest I can see on Skyscanner is E618 that would get you to the match with no delays...
Yep.

Arrive at Newcastle for 08:45 leave Newcastle 22:55 - £100 (Or 116 made up money)

Long ass day but not too bad.
 
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