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Improving American rugby on all levels

  • Thread starter snoopy snoopy dog dog
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snoopy snoopy dog dog

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There's a decent article by Tom Farren Sr on American Rugby News concerning what he sees as the best possible way to grow the sport in the USA. I won't post it al here (just follow the link above) but the bit which caught my attention was this section:
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
Local teams are what drive the American fan. City to city, across the country, people spend exorbitant amounts of money on jerseys, hats, jackets, gloves, stickers, personal seat licenses (for God’s sake!) because of their local team. Quick: name the last time you saw a USA men’s national rugby team sweatshirt. Exactly. Make teams local and build from the community.

To do that, get investors on the East Coast together and go over and talk to the Magner’s League and Guinness Premiership and establish 2-3 teams in each league – or just one league to start – and plant them in the heart of the east coast: between Washington, DC, and Boston.

Do the same thing on the West Coast with the Super 14 in SANZAR and now you have 4-9 professional, local, high level rugby teams.

The ultimate benefit of all of this is the increased skill level of rugby and the increased opportunity for our players to continue on in this great sport.

USA Rugby would still be necessary but would need to split into two, distinct but complementary, organizations.[/b]



The idea has some merit but I think it's flawed. I'll post my opinions on an alternative to the above idea in a bit but I'd like to hear other opinions first.

In short, how would you attempt to grow the sport in the USA and North America in general?
 
A

aubie95

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Dec 26 2009, 08:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
There's a decent article by Tom Farren Sr on American Rugby News concerning what he sees as the best possible way to grow the sport in the USA. I won't post it al here (just follow the link above) but the bit which caught my attention was this section:
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE
Local teams are what drive the American fan. City to city, across the country, people spend exorbitant amounts of money on jerseys, hats, jackets, gloves, stickers, personal seat licenses (for God’s sake!) because of their local team. Quick: name the last time you saw a USA men’s national rugby team sweatshirt. Exactly. Make teams local and build from the community.

To do that, get investors on the East Coast together and go over and talk to the Magner’s League and Guinness Premiership and establish 2-3 teams in each league – or just one league to start – and plant them in the heart of the east coast: between Washington, DC, and Boston.

Do the same thing on the West Coast with the Super 14 in SANZAR and now you have 4-9 professional, local, high level rugby teams.

The ultimate benefit of all of this is the increased skill level of rugby and the increased opportunity for our players to continue on in this great sport.

USA Rugby would still be necessary but would need to split into two, distinct but complementary, organizations.[/b]



The idea has some merit but I think it's flawed. I'll post my opinions on an alternative to the above idea in a bit but I'd like to hear other opinions first.

In short, how would you attempt to grow the sport in the USA and North America in general?
[/b][/quote]


Most important thing IMO is exposure to the first class matches! Why in the world do you (IRB) expect to grow the sport and attract new fans by putting your product on pay-per-view only? That is fine for the hard-core fans that already want to see tri-nations, premiership, etc. but what about getting new fans? There are dog shows and poker on ESPN every night! Very short-sighted business model.

Once people see the All Blacks, 6 nations, etc. they will want to know more about local rugby watching/playing opportunities. Then perhaps the USA Super League or other Unions will get some momentum. Until then I really don't see it being anything other than a niche sport. It is no reach to say that European soccer on US networks such as ESPN and Fox Sports has helped generate more interest in the MLS.

On the other hand, Sevens has now positioned itself to leap the 15-a side game in the US with the inclusion in the Olympics. This opens up USOC funding across the country, as well as medal opportunities to motivate high school and college football players to continue their playing careers by transition after graduation into the rugby game.
 
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DuncTheDoodle

Guest
Start up a new league between the USA, Canada and Argentinian clubs. Make it profesional. Have them occasionaly playing teams in the Magners/Premiership/Super 14. They're not far off, but I fear with italians joining, the Magners League is getting too closet to the Heinkein Cup, and the Guiness Premiership prides itself on being English. (Well, except the obvious exception of the Saracens, but most the time I doubt they even know what Rugby is.)
 
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O'Rothlain

Guest
I disagree with everyone. The problem with Rugby in America is it doesn't fit within any of the already established sporting organizations.
USA Rugby needs to work with the NCAA, with State High School Athletic Associations etc... and get rugby out of the "dark alleys" and bring them into the mainstream.
Do you know that in small town America, the whole region will turn out just to see a High School Football game? It's big business and Rugby's biggest opponent. Why? Because football coaches don't want their kids playing that other contact sport that they don't understand, and remember, we in America are isolationists. They see it as some foreign goofy sport.
We have to go over there heads so High School Programs are forced to co-exist instead of being boycotted or chased out of town.
This is a very hard battle. However, it's the real battle to fight. Easy fixes won't work here. Amateurs can't participate at the proffesional level that everyone else suggests. We've already been trying that with Super League Rugby. With the economic downturn we've lost whole teams because players could no longer afford the airfare and other expenses.
We need to build rugby at the state level. Think of Ireland with their provinces, and New Zealand with their Counties. Set a structure so each state can compete internally, and then form a national competition from the states. Just like in NZ, not all states can compete at the top flight level (as in NZ not all the counties compete in the ANZ).
This plan will take a while, more than a decade probably to set up. It has to grow and be solidly recognized at the grassroot level.
 
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bristol-iain

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (O'Rothlain @ Jan 8 2010, 08:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
I disagree with everyone. The problem with Rugby in America is it doesn't fit within any of the already established sporting organizations.
USA Rugby needs to work with the NCAA, with State High School Athletic Associations etc... and get rugby out of the "dark alleys" and bring them into the mainstream.
Do you know that in small town America, the whole region will turn out just to see a High School Football game? It's big business and Rugby's biggest opponent. Why? Because football coaches don't want their kids playing that other contact sport that they don't understand, and remember, we in America are isolationists. They see it as some foreign goofy sport.
We have to go over there heads so High School Programs are forced to co-exist instead of being boycotted or chased out of town.
This is a very hard battle. However, it's the real battle to fight. Easy fixes won't work here. Amateurs can't participate at the proffesional level that everyone else suggests. We've already been trying that with Super League Rugby. With the economic downturn we've lost whole teams because players could no longer afford the airfare and other expenses.
We need to build rugby at the state level. Think of Ireland with their provinces, and New Zealand with their Counties. Set a structure so each state can compete internally, and then form a national competition from the states. Just like in NZ, not all states can compete at the top flight level (as in NZ not all the counties compete in the ANZ).
This plan will take a while, more than a decade probably to set up. It has to grow and be solidly recognized at the grassroot level.[/b]

The way I see things is that in areas where Rugby is likley to be popular in the US are places where American Football is huge and as the sports call on similar physical requirements then American Football is going to dominate.

The State idea makes the most sense, similar to County Cricket in England but as Nate says it will take a long time to set up and establish withing the average American's sporting perception.
 
Q

QLD

Guest
O'Rothlain, what do you make of this mungoball professional league they are trying to start up? League keeps trying to call itself rugby and confuse even more Americans. Some bloke from a rl team has been trying to use invictus to promote league in the US, or as he says rugby. :lol:
 
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O'Rothlain

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Dale @ Jan 9 2010, 05:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
O'Rothlain, what do you make of this mungoball professional league they are trying to start up? League keeps trying to call itself rugby and confuse even more Americans. Some bloke from a rl team has been trying to use invictus to promote league in the US, or as he says rugby. :lol:[/b]
Most people here don't know the difference. Go to any Rugby Team in the US and they'll have no clue that there are 2 versions of the sport. So, their ploy will work to a degree. However, all these people trying to start a Proffessional Rugby Competition in the US are living in a fog of their own dellusions of grandeur.
There has to be a foundation to build a proffessional competition upon, one which America does not yet have. People have no patience...all they see is the Dollar Signs of the prospective sponsors, sponsors which know nothing of either code of rugby.
 
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FeroX

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Bullitt @ Jan 10 2010, 12:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
How do you make Rugby big in the US?

A Lions Tour.[/b]

That would be unreal, that would take rugby from the little sevens matches and few USA international games playing mostly against 2nd XV to exploding world-class rugby right in the middle of summer when there's not too much else sporting-wise going on. It would be perfect, they certainly have the stadia. Two warm-up games should be against Canada and USA it would be sweet.
 
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O'Rothlain

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Bullitt @ Jan 10 2010, 05:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
How do you make Rugby big in the US?

A Lions Tour.[/b]

You have like 5 people here who know anything about the B&I Lions. It wouldn't make a dent.
The AB's were going to play Australia in Colorado sometime this Summer, but it was cancelled because of lack of percieved interest.
Even people who play rugby here are disconnected from World Rugby, at National Level and Club Level.
It's sad.
The only people in the know are usually expats, and even they seem disconnected from it a bit because they haven't watched the sport much since they transplanted themselves to the US.
 
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paella

Guest
It will never happen, all the top american athletes will still get signed to NFL teams and go after football.
 
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skittles

Guest
The idea of working with the NCAA is a good idea, in theory, but budgets for men's sports are already so stretched that there is no chance of rugby being sponsored by most schools, let alone the conferences or NCAA. Just today, Duquesne has stripped four sports, including baseball, to free up $1M of its $16.8M budget to put into other sports.

Women's rugby is on the list of NCAA emerging sports, but the odds of anything happening as far as scholarship-based men's rugby are slim to nil, especially in the short-term.

Perhaps a more concerted effort to get college football players who didn't make the NFL to play rugby is more along the lines of what's required. Of course, though, they wouldn't want to do this without some level of compensation, and it would take finding a select type of player who can transition near-seamlessly between the two games.
 
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stormer2010

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (O'Rothlain @ Jan 28 2010, 01:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (paella @ Jan 27 2010, 04:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It will never happen, all the top american athletes will still get signed to NFL teams and go after football.[/b]
agreed.
[/b][/quote]

You don't need all the top American athletes. America has an enormous population. Even the left-overs from football should do. Aus has the same levels of competition with other contact sporting codes but two world cups say they are coping without any real grass roots structures. They also struggle to put bums on seats.

Crossing over from football to rugby is quite a stretch, though.

I like the idea of a Lions as a quick fix attempt but it would depend on the exposure and would the sure slaughter be motivation to invest in the sport? I don't know Americans well enough.
 
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Bullitt

Guest
All they need is to organise a Lions tour then have Vince McMahon stir up American pride by hammering the British verbally before a volley of "USA" chants. Then organising the "H-Factor" (you know, because it's shaped like goalposts).

Also split the game into 8 separate ten-minute periods for increased advertising revenue.

They'd love it.
 
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Olyy

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (stormer2010 @ Jan 28 2010, 09:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
I like the idea of a Lions as a quick fix attempt but it would depend on the exposure and would the sure slaughter be motivation to invest in the sport? I don't know Americans well enough.[/b]
Americans tend to ignore anything they're not good at, so it could have an adverse affect :p
 
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stormer2010

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Olyy @ Jan 28 2010, 02:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (stormer2010 @ Jan 28 2010, 09:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I like the idea of a Lions as a quick fix attempt but it would depend on the exposure and would the sure slaughter be motivation to invest in the sport? I don't know Americans well enough.[/b]
Americans tend to ignore anything they're not good at, so it could have an adverse affect :p
[/b][/quote]

That's what I thought. I mean doesn't everyone in America (apart from the American Indians) originate from people who got out of the kitchen when it got to hot, so to speak. Well, I guess I can include Afrikaners in that category so I'll rather say they are adventurer's and frontiersmen. But not bothered with the rest of the world.
 
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Fa'atau82

Guest
Thw way to make Rugby big in the US is get it into JUCO, NAIA and NCAA. There is a massive waste of talent in the US.. players who want to play footy, but are not good enough to go it after NCAA. There is a huge diversity of races scattered all over the states and they could find the Ngwenya's of the world fairly easily if they looked and invested.

As has been said, i don't think clubs are the way in the US, it's normally a franchise or university teams that are very well known. There is absolutely no reason why North Carolina, the Tarheels can't have a rugby side. It's global brand. Every season, thousands of US college basketball players migrate all over the globe to play, they vary in ability massively, but their is no reason why this cannot be tapped into. Realistically, you could convert a footy player into a rugby player in a short time.

There is only the NFL really, there is no other 'big league' and the waste of these athletes is shocking, as they could drop into a club career in countries like spain, japan, italy and of course the US.

Plus the massive plus side with NCAA is that there will be a team season after season, the same core team for 5 seasons or so until they graduate, and can play abroad. Then the next step would be to put into place a test team into the Super 14, or some other pan-pacific competition. There is no reason why you can't have a japanese, fijian, tongan, samoan, argentinian, canadian and american superleague, that'd be a rival to the Super Rugby.
 
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shtove

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (O'Rothlain @ Jan 9 2010, 08:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
I disagree with everyone.[/b]
WooHoo! :lol:

RU is competing with gaelic football in Ireland - maybe in the same way with American football over your way - and has broken out of its snooty circles in Leinster. Fragile comparison. Talk to the Leinster people.

Down south the sport always had a broad base in Limerick and Cork, probably because they were garrison towns with people who like to beat each other up and laugh about it afterwards.

It starts in the schools. Rugby gets into the soul at an early age because of the teamwork and sacrifice. But cheerleaders will seal the deal.

I would love to see a Queens/Hoboken derby, but it'll probably be Boston/Seattle in the final.
 

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