Why Fewer Games can Equate to More Money for Rugby
With in season breaks being introduced into professional rugby I thought I’d share why this can actually be a good thing for the game and why fewer games can have a positive financial impact in the long term.
The reasons to enforce a break are obvious for the players; the limp I currently walk with is testament to this. While I joke about my hip being damaged from “over use” in my younger years, I don’t often mention the punishing premiership schedule with additional knockout games and representative rugby - the cause. Premature arthritis is not something normal for a 33 year old to suffer from so I don’t need convincing on the player lead argument.
What interests me is the product that premier rugby are selling and its quality. Let’s think about it logically and simply: in today’s world, what is it the most important and sought after commodity? Peoples attention. How do you capture and monetise peoples attention? Through creating great content. Put simply, great rugby enables great content which leads to more money for the clubs and premier rugby that can go back into the sport.
In business and life, an over abundance of anything can create a lull in demand. A higher volume of games won’t help anyone. Rugby is not the dominant cultural sport in the UK, a place taken by football. To capture new customers as well as retaining the current ones, you need the best product. While the standard of professional rugby in England improves year on year, I still think the game could be better. More games, more worn pitches/poorer playing conditions, tired players all lead to a product that’s not reaching its full potential.
As a premiership club, how should you offer value to your supporters? In my opinion with a greater product, not with a higher volume of games. Rugby needs to realise that it is operating in a market where the goal is capturing attention and it is now in the entertainment business. With fewer games, clubs can spend more time concentrating on game promotion and hype and getting bums on seats to create packed out stadiums, rather being consumed by the relentless grind of matches. More fans, more fanfare equals greater pressure which creates a greater spectacle that can be captured as content.
There are many things that need to occur for my argument outlined above to work and there are obvious complexities that I have not addressed. I just think that it’s a different way of framing the argument and fewer games should be seen as an opportunity rather than a disappointment for clubs to spend time improving the product of rugby whilst realising the financial benefit.
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