- Nov 16, 2017
- Reaction score
- Country Flag
- Club or Nation
The answer, in Australia at least, is that Rugby suffers from a class divide. Much of our talented sportsmen and women miss Union altogether as it is seen as a private school boys club and that position is enforced by its inaccessibility to the poorer folk of the community. It marginalizes the game and reduces our participant pool and viewership.I don't know a lot about Australia but it's interesting to think about what Union needs to do differently to be more financially secure. I personally don't understand the Free to Air argument. The future of content is that it is paid for directly by the consumer. I sort of get that union might need the exposure that free to air would provide BUT Australia has already won two world cups and played in the most recent final. Does union really need more exposure then that? How does a sport get more exposure then that?
It appears that union has always tried to be the "premium" sports product trying to best leverage its private school heritage and international scope. This has basically worked for soccer in the States (middle class not private school) and it seems like a decent enough approach for rugby to take. I guess it just hasn't been sustainable.
Rugby is very approachable with both women's and sevens varieties. Embracing both is the future of the sport. Aren't some parents getting turned off by violence in league?
I personally think that Super Rugby will be much better next year. Hopefully it will show some modest growth and Australia can build from there. I actually thought that TV ratings were up last year. Is that wrong? Ireland coming next year should also help. Italy and Fiji were just not winners this year from a fan engagement perspective. And why did Italy play in Brisbane and Fiji in Melbourne? Shouldn't it have been the other way around?
In theory, I can see how ditching South Africa would help Australia in Super Rugby from a time zone perspective but South Africa and Argentina give Super Rugby access to the more established European and American spectator sports markets. Total revenue for the comp would surely slip without them. I'm not sure how less revenue for Super Rugby would help union in Australia.
Having said that, it's far too late to jump on the free to air wagon now. Regular broadcasting is on it's way out.