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Rugby World Cup Formats

Vieux Talonneur

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The RL World Cup is about to start with men's, women's and wheelchair events taking place concurrently. The latter 2 probably wouldn't be sustainable in their own right, nonetheless what a great idea - as ever RL is ahead on the creative curve.

Cycling is doing something similar from next year with all the various world championships consolidated into one mega festival - road, track, mountain, BMX etc. That's in Scotland, I'll be going.

So why doesn't Union look at something similar - loads of options: men's, women's, junior, wheelchair, sevens, touch, walking. Could be a great shop window for all formats of the game and also keep more engagement in the latter stages when the number of games drop off rapidly.
 
Given that we had a women's world cup the best part of a decade before League - I'm not sure they're ahead of the curve there.
Union's WRWC is also self-supporting, not a side-show to the men's - so again, not ahead of the curve.

I didn't know union and league had different versions of wheelchair rugby - but it IS in the olympics.

Union's Jr world cup is self-sufficient, and, like the women's doesn't need to be a sideshow to someone else's (but does need to occur more frequently than every 4 years, given that it's age-limited)

7s already has a world cup of its own, and an olympics place, and again, is self-supporting.

Touch rugby already has a self-supporting world cup

Walking rugby doesn't have official recognition yet, or an agreed set of rules, barely enough interest to get get a crowd of more than 10 (players partners) to a (shitty local) club level festival.
 
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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.
 
And yet... and yet...
At the commonwealth games, the intermingling of mens and womens 7s competitions was widely regarded as an absolute highlight of the games - as was the overall intermingling of the "standard" and "para" games.
Pretty much universally praised.
 
'And yet.. and yet..' are you serious? Your ' and yet' is followed by an opinion... from a third party. WTF? Without an iota of evidence to back it up.

And what the hell does 'universal praise' got to do with this? What does it even mean? We are talking about figures, numbers, audience, viewers, revenues, sales, growth.
Praise in the contex that you used it is merely an opinion, a wish if you will, and i am pretty sure i could guess with a minuscule margin of error the kind of bias the journos who voiced those opinions have.
Who the fvck gives a **** if someone somewhere likes it? Irrelevant. Almost absurd.

OP asked for reasons and i gave him what i consider a pretty tangible one. I will watch fewer games. Pretty damm sure i am not alone.

Do you know of rugby fans that didnt attend to games and would/now do because of things like these? I dont.
I do know quite a few who attended and stopped doing so because of these things. Anecdotal evidence, sure. What do you have other than that 'praise', course.

Piggybagging a product onto another one has a risks. Not just in rugby and this is not my opinion. It's a verifiable trend based on almost centuries of econometric studies. It could very well backfire. So when the op asks

'So why doesn't Union look at something similar'

mentioning a long standing, carefully catalogued risk sounds like a no brainer. I understnad the 7s experience was a trial and it doesnt appear to be doing particularly well. Too many other variables these days (travel has been tricky not just for teams, etc), so that could cloud any results you obtain from stat analysis. Still...
 
So doing quick math rugby World Cup would have 70 games between men and women. Throw in probable expansion to both in the coming years (I don't think it will increase men's matches but will probably increase women's matches) you are looking around 80 matches just for the 15s versions. Throw in 7s that would be another 3-6 match days that would require the stadium use (six if you want a proper sevens tournament, three if you want the half assed stuff they've been doing recently). I just think the logistics of of supporting all those teams and playing all those games would be hard.

The RLWC only has has 61 matches between the 3 different tournaments.

The UCI World Championships is an interesting idea. Essentially an olympics but only for bicycle sports. 2600 athletes with who knows how much support staff. Also only for 10 days.
 
So doing quick math rugby World Cup would have 70 games between men and women. Throw in probable expansion to both in the coming years (I don't think it will increase men's matches but will probably increase women's matches) you are looking around 80 matches just for the 15s versions. Throw in 7s that would be another 3-6 match days that would require the stadium use (six if you want a proper sevens tournament, three if you want the half assed stuff they've been doing recently). I just think the logistics of of supporting all those teams and playing all those games would be hard.

The RLWC only has has 61 matches between the 3 different tournaments.

The UCI World Championships is an interesting idea. Essentially an olympics but only for bicycle sports. 2600 athletes with who knows how much support staff. Also only for 10 days.
You'd also need plenty of players to be playing both XVs and 7s simultaneously - which would be logistically... difficult.
 

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