So why doesn’t Union look at something similar - loads of options: men’s, women’s, junior, wheelchair, sevens, touch, walking.
I can think of a few reasons but the best example i can come up with of is rugby sevens, where both the men's and women's tournaments are played simultaneously. I know it's a niche thing but it's the best i've got in terms of tangible, comparable evidence.
I used to follow the sport. Went to competitions if close by, or maybe went to the pub with a friend. The chances of me doing that now (same with my friends) are zero. And the reason is 100% that both tournaments are run intertwined. I watch the sport for 2 reasons: to support a team (my team) and to watch, lets call it talent. I couldnt care less if the peple playing had xy, xx, xyzabcd chromosones, had penis, vaginas or whether they identify themselves as male, females, giraffes or mammoths. I really dont. I want to see sport above a certain level and i was willing to pay for it, even travel. Unfortunately, women's rugby 7s is not there imo. Quite far from it. I can watch a better level of rugby sevens in a u18 inter departamental amateur boy school rugby tournament in Salto, Uruguay than when the best 7s womans teams in the world face each other. I am not exaggerating. I swear, i am not.
So as the tournament stands right now you get to watch a game a game from the mens comp followed by a game from the women's comp (not exactly but pretty much). That is pretty much putting a gun to poeple's heads: you wanna watch this? Good, but in order to do so you need to watch this (atrocity) too.
Well, some will, no doubt. Many won't.
I understand how it can make sense on paper: you leverage the popularity of one to expose the other. Sounds great. Until some people start wondering if watching the latter is worth the time and effort at the expense of the former. For me, it most certainly is not. Again, i stopped watching it. I do follow random games, but i dont care about it like i used to and i am 100% sure it's the mixing competitions that killed it for me. And again, it has nothing to do with gender, sex, whatever identity you care about. It's about skill, level, talent, whatever you wanna call it. By men's standards, the women's competition is unfortunately really, really, really bad. Again, pick a random rugby team from brussels, ask them to field 7 u19s and they could easily beat half of the women's teams.
Associating product A (mens rugby) to pump product B (women's rugby) is a dangerous bet. If A lifts B, then great. Now, if B pull A down, well, you might have killed the goose, so tread carefully.
Based on this i am 99% sure that if WR combined both tournaments i would watch less of the mens competition, considerably less. I might watch 1, maybe 2 games of the women's competition. I'll prolly join a friend who wants to see the final at the pub, but that's about it. Overall, i would watch fewer rugby games, not more.