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OT: Professional Rugby 7s league launching in Canada/USA

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Old
06-01-2017, 12:54 PM
  #1
cutchemist42
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OT: Professional Rugby 7s league launching in Canada/USA

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/20...ns-rugby-union

Does this stand a chance?

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06-01-2017, 01:01 PM
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Remember when pro lacrosse was the next big thing? Lots of money. Good marketing. Playing in front of large arena crowds and on national TV. Good times.

It's really hard for niche sports to gain a foothold. Good grief, even MLS - the most popular game in the world - is still building its credibility in a lot of places.

A pro rugby league might do okay, as long as it doesn't attempt or pretend to be something it's not.

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06-01-2017, 01:14 PM
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dechire
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I enjoy watching Sevens but I'm skeptical about the changes they're proposing. They'd be changing a lot of the basic rules of Sevens(at least the ones I know. I'm a very casual viewer).

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06-01-2017, 01:39 PM
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Mightygoose
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Not a huge follower but my main concern here is that they're trying to 'Americanize' the game per the article.

No ties and a 'longer version' of Rugby 7s so it seems like they're trying to hard to get fans to buy in that they overshoot people who like Rugby as is and buiod their niche. NASL made the same mistake of trying to change the game too much with their obsence point system...never mind overpaying players without the revenues to back it up.

If they want to sell Rugby to North America then sell Rugby

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06-01-2017, 02:36 PM
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Not really a fan of rugby 7s, but I love classic rugby union.

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06-01-2017, 02:57 PM
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cutchemist42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightygoose View Post
Not a huge follower but my main concern here is that they're trying to 'Americanize' the game per the article.

No ties and a 'longer version' of Rugby 7s so it seems like they're trying to hard to get fans to buy in that they overshoot people who like Rugby as is and buiod their niche. NASL made the same mistake of trying to change the game too much with their obsence point system...never mind overpaying players without the revenues to back it up.

If they want to sell Rugby to North America then sell Rugby
Is Rugby 7s a newish-enough sport that changes at this point could be swallowed more easily? As someone who watched/enjoys the Olympics and that LV tourney, how do you do 7s in a city format? Could you instead say its not one giant game, but separate games in 1 night? Make it possible the Boston 7s go 3-1 vs the NY 7s in one night?

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06-01-2017, 07:57 PM
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Good luck. The abortive Pro Rugby league fell fat on its face after just a single year. Wish them the best of luck, and hope they include Chicago this time around given the mega successes that friendliest have had in the city.

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06-01-2017, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutchemist42 View Post
Is Rugby 7s a newish-enough sport that changes at this point could be swallowed more easily? As someone who watched/enjoys the Olympics and that LV tourney, how do you do 7s in a city format? Could you instead say its not one giant game, but separate games in 1 night? Make it possible the Boston 7s go 3-1 vs the NY 7s in one night?
That's what I was thinking too. 48 minute games of Sevens is insane, going to be way too high scoring and not interesting because of it. I'd rather see a best of 3 or 5 like volleyball.

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06-01-2017, 08:59 PM
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Lost me after "no ties".

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06-01-2017, 09:01 PM
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Nalens Oga
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That Toronto rugby league team seems to be working fine on the backs of Brit and Irish expatriates. If they change the rules, I doubt European or Aussie/Kiwi etc expatriates care about it.

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06-02-2017, 02:04 AM
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Good God, 48 minutes of sevens? That is entirely too long. Part of the appeal of sevens is the pace, and I doubt players can keep that up for three times the length of a standard international match, even with unlimited substitutions.

I think a lot of fledgling sports leagues like this could take a page from the United Shore Professional Baseball League in the suburbs north of Detroit. All the teams are based in one city and share one stadium, and all indications I can find suggest it has been a pretty successful venture at the gate. It eliminates travel costs, which are a major expense for pro leagues that try to go nationwide from the outset and learn the hard way just how big America is.

I think of the Australian Football League in Melbourne, too, or soccer in a big European city, where there are teams representing neighborhoods within a city and not just the city itself. There's no real harm in starting out that way; even though your league is gate-driven and likely has a limited TV audience, it gives you a chance to get on the horse before you pick up the cart, so to speak.

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06-02-2017, 12:57 PM
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Interesting. Let's see if the league takes off, I've watched rugby in passing in the past. May check this out.

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06-02-2017, 02:50 PM
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I love seven's but 48 mins of it? No way that will be entertaining.

I wonder if the league could be tweaked to make the format more like international sevens, which is really entertaining.

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06-05-2017, 09:42 AM
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The only thing you need to know about this scheme is the name 'David Niu'. As soon as you see that you realise this will never come to anything. He's a serial blagger with a long record of announcing pro rugby (all three versions = union/league/7s) competitions that will be "coming soon" and yet none of them ever arrive. Been doing it for decades now.

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06-05-2017, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nalens Oga View Post
That Toronto rugby league team seems to be working fine on the backs of Brit and Irish expatriates. If they change the rules, I doubt European or Aussie/Kiwi etc expatriates care about it.
Toronto rugby team has been marketed excellently, and it doesn't hurt that the team is far too good for its league. I don't think its just Brits/Irish who are showing up.

This league on the other hand makes no sense. They'd be best off creating a touring sevens tournament league that goes through 10-12 major North American cities from July-September or something like that.

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06-08-2017, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cutchemist42 View Post
(Disclaimer: Iíve played rugby in the U.S. for 8 years, Iíve refereed for 2, and am aware of the game and its issues setting up a pro league here over a number of years.)

No. For starters, David Niu is running it. He is an absolute ******* of the highest of orders and anyone with a tacit of knowledge on the organization of rugby union or league in this country wouldíve told United World Sports that.

They tried this concept 3 years ago and the trial game was widely panned by spectators if I recall correctly. One issue was the scoring was ridiculous, going up to 100 points to where scoring a try had little meaning.

The people doing this really believe in 7s and not in 15s at all as the way to grow rugby in the U.S. The problem is you canít have traditional city-based franchises playing home and away in 7s. Itís a format of the game that can only possibly work in a tournament.

The rugby community in the U.S. is not talking about this at all. The Guardian for some reason love to report on hair-brained American pro rugby ideas (google search RugbyLaw and how football players not good enough for the NFL were going to destroy rugby players, they even had Eddie O'Sullivan involved).


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06-08-2017, 12:28 PM
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Toronto rugby team has been marketed excellently, and it doesn't hurt that the team is far too good for its league. I don't think its just Brits/Irish who are showing up.

This league on the other hand makes no sense. They'd be best off creating a touring sevens tournament league that goes through 10-12 major North American cities from July-September or something like that.
Problem with that is American pro sports are based almost entirely on civic pride, and that requires having a team that plays half their games at home. In a touring 7s tournament, if you bought a "franchise", you'd just be buying one home weekend and that's it.

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06-08-2017, 12:42 PM
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What if instead of the traditional home/away setup, you had teams representing cities, but they would play in weekend tournies alternating between the cities?

One weekend/week/etc the NY 7s host the Boston/Chicago/Toronto 7s. They then rotate it for other weekends?

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06-08-2017, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by cutchemist42 View Post
What if instead of the traditional home/away setup, you had teams representing cities, but they would play in weekend tournies alternating between the cities?

One weekend/week/etc the NY 7s host the Boston/Chicago/Toronto 7s. They then rotate it for other weekends?
So in other words there are say 12 teams, they would play 12 tournaments one in each city, and each team's entire locally-generated income for the year would come from a single home tournament? How does that make business sense?

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06-08-2017, 02:59 PM
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So in other words there are say 12 teams, they would play 12 tournaments one in each city, and each team's entire locally-generated income for the year would come from a single home tournament? How does that make business sense?
It would be more like professional curling in Canada.

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06-09-2017, 08:15 AM
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Problem with that is American pro sports are based almost entirely on civic pride, and that requires having a team that plays half their games at home. In a touring 7s tournament, if you bought a "franchise", you'd just be buying one home weekend and that's it.
If anything, pro sports in America are far less about civic pride than anywhere else in the world.

Nonetheless, if you're touring, you sell the event more than the teams since its only showing up in each city once per year. An optimal system would have a centralized ownership group controlling all the teams and paying players a base salary + incentives for doing well in the tournaments.

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06-09-2017, 09:16 AM
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If anything, pro sports in America are far less about civic pride than anywhere else in the world.
I don't understand how you believe that. You might have a point with the NBA because people there cheer for stars, but even for the people that move, they're sometimes the most passionate fans because that's "the team from the town they came from".

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Nonetheless, if you're touring, you sell the event more than the teams since its only showing up in each city once per year. An optimal system would have a centralized ownership group controlling all the teams and paying players a base salary + incentives for doing well in the tournaments.
So in other words they never sell franchises, and how do the teams beyond the most successful 3 to 4 gain fanbases which will be the ultimate driver to generating ticket sales? People will bandwagon to the winners a lot of the time, but in a tournament you have to go through all 16 teams playing 2 at a time, if only a few teams have interest, you're going to have a lot of dead time for the paying fans.

The Collegiate Rugby Championship is held up as this successful event, but United World Sports not sure if they do now but they used to force every college that came to buy so many tickets, so you look at the event and sometimes a club (because the schools in most cases are not subsidizing these teams) had to buy 500 tickets but only sold maybe 20 of them. That's why it's an invitational and not purely merit-driven, and why they have a bunch of Philadelphia-area schools in it that are not all that good at rugby, plus schools like Notre Dame who have consistently shown they are not good at rugby 7s in the tournament. The Varsity Cup that they also organize will probably die after the most previous edition, with BYU and a host of other schools having left before it and the tournament was dependent on always having a BYU-Cal final hosted by BYU in order to get attendance, there's no point to it existing now other than Cal's coach Jack Clark does not want USA Rugby to run the college game.


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06-09-2017, 12:02 PM
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That Toronto rugby league team seems to be working fine on the backs of Brit and Irish expatriates. If they change the rules, I doubt European or Aussie/Kiwi etc expatriates care about it.
I have British family but am Canadian born and went down to check it out last weekend for Toronto Wolfpack vs. Coventry Bears and it was good fun.

Beautiful 21C day, Craft Beer garden with 12-15 tents offering local brews and a (somewhat) competitive match with constant action and motion.

Me and the 3 other guys I was with all agreed it was a good time and will definitely be going back again later in the season.

If Rugby 7's can bring the same sort of off-field organization, it will have a chance too.

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06-09-2017, 09:11 PM
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48 minute games? Good luck with that. A skills gauntlet? Seriously? Is Vince McMahon behind this?

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06-14-2017, 09:52 PM
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Remember when pro lacrosse was the next big thing? Lots of money. Good marketing. Playing in front of large arena crowds and on national TV. Good times.

It's really hard for niche sports to gain a foothold. Good grief, even MLS - the most popular game in the world - is still building its credibility in a lot of places.

A pro rugby league might do okay, as long as it doesn't attempt or pretend to be something it's not.
You laugh.... but the NHL is now priced out of the average fans price range.

NLL is a better product and the price is very right!

I much prefer the NLL to an NHL game.

and I'm saying that as someone who had never seen lacrosse up until 3 years ago and played the highest levels of hockey in life..

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