Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Rugby Now

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  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Rickai,

    When the current NZRU deal with SKY is up, my bet is on internet providers gaining the rights to some or all All Blacks games. Maybe the NZRU will split up the product – Tri Nations to one, end-of-year tour to another, with Lions and RWC negotiated as well.

    From a production point of view, that's at least a headache (unless one production company gets the contract to produce all the different games, it could get very messy) and at worst, only the bigger games are covered (and then 'on the cheap' - not necessarily a bad thing. It costs sh*tloads the way it's currently done - and there's a big fixed cost in equipment.)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Even though the super rugby teams have been around for 21 years now, they have never really commanded the sort of fanatical parochial passion that the provinces did/have.

    That was deliberate. The provincial teams were always tied to a place. When the super teams were created they were given identities that were independent of location. This allows for a super team to move location without loss of identity and most importantly allows the team to be SOLD.

    I'm sure some suit wearer at union headquarters had wet dreams about selling The Crusaders to Los Angeles.

    However, as you note people are passionate about their local team not some anonymous super team.

    So the Union abandoned local passion for the pipe dream of selling franchises.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to dave stewart,

    Soccer participation has been higher than rugby participation in NZ for quite some time now. It is frustrating to watch the media rediscover this fact every few years and react as if it’s a shock (or some fatal blow to our national identity).
    Yet somehow it hasn’t translated into a proportionate growth in spectator numbers, broadcast media attention, sponsorship money, or development programs feeding the national team (which also possibly shouldn’t be a surprise: those all form a self-reinforcing network, and it’s hard to grow one part without the others).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1941 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    From a production point of view, that’s at least a headache (unless one production company gets the contract to produce all the different games, it could get very messy) and at worst, only the bigger games are covered (and then ‘on the cheap’ – not necessarily a bad thing. It costs sh*tloads the way it’s currently done – and there’s a big fixed cost in equipment.)

    Funny thing is, it was largely done by one company, until Sky cut Moving Pictures out of the deal.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to dave stewart,

    One assertion he makes I believe is accurate: that limiting TV sports coverage to pay-to-view results in a smaller audience than if it were free.

    Undoubtedly true. We’ve seen it with netball and cricket. It’s the difficult bargain those sports find themselves having to strike – losing currency in order to gain revenue.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Gaz Tayler,

    at the end of the day, even if someone else takes over rights from Sky, that Sky'll still be in the mix... they are 100% owners of the OSB, the biggest on-site broadcasting unit in NZ.

    at the end of the day NZRU will probably stick with dealing with a single broadcasting partner, but may force them to start "on-selling content" to other channels

    Auckland • Since Aug 2012 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    When the super teams were created they were given identities that were independent of location. This allows for a super team to move location without loss of identity and most importantly allows the team to be SOLD.

    I’m sure some suit wearer at union headquarters had wet dreams about selling The Crusaders to Los Angeles.

    Not actually true. The teams were geographically-named (i.e.: The Canterbury Crusaders, Auckland Blues, etc) until 2000. And I can’t really see a scenario where the teams would move, although clearly the addition of the Jaguares and Sunwolves was an attempt to increase the value of the broadcast deal by bringing in new audiences. That’s why Steve Tew rejected a reversion to a trans-Tasman competition – they needed the South African audience.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gaz Tayler,

    at the end of the day NZRU will probably stick with dealing with a single broadcasting partner, but may force them to start “on-selling content” to other channels

    Or split broadcast and online rights, given Sky’s lack of aptitude or interest in providing an online service.

    Its not just FanPass, btw. I now can't get Sky Go to work at all – a service for which I am paying. It's a fucking disgrace.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Or split broadcast and online rights, given Sky’s lack of aptitude or interest in providing an online service.

    The difference between the two is getting more marginal by the minute :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    I used to go to Eden Park, and genuinely cared if Zinzan's team beat Waikato, North Harbour et al. Simply because the games had meaningful context. Super Rugby barely has any context at all.

    The quality of play now can be outstanding (let's not get too nostalgic about a golden age of Foxy kicking penalties in the rain), but what's it all for? A competition which seems to change every year, in the belief that new hype can replace history. ("Which animals are we playing this week, the Hyenas or the Hippos?"). It's ironic that the Lions tour is being promoted with constant references to the past. Those links to history are a vital part of sport's appeal to the public ("first Wimbledon title since 1376", that kind of thing). They give it meaning.

    The ABs tests still have that meaning, so I'll be tuning into those. Super Rugby is a success in that it produces top quality players for those tests, but I don't get engaged with the franchises any more than I would buy a Probables scarf and boo the Possibles in a trial.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to simon g,

    Simply because the games had meaningful context. Super Rugby barely has any context at all.

    It used to be that the players in your region came from your region, parochialism at its finest - nowadays one's local players could come from anywhere in the country or rugby playing world!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    It used to be that the players in your region came from your region, parochialism at its finest

    Those cheats in Canterbury were buying in players back in 1960s.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Gaz Tayler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    one day over a beer Russell I'll tell you all about why it does not work

    Auckland • Since Aug 2012 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gaz Tayler,

    one day over a beer Russell I'll tell you all about why it does not work

    Flash, innit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    I'm a Counties supporter, have been ever since I was 10 (North Auckland before that, but that's another story). When Super Rugby started, Counties was overlooked as one of the Super teams, despite being one of the top teams in the country at the time. Yes, you probably couldn't have had 3 Super teams in the top half of the North Island, but we were still treated pretty shabbily by the NZRFU.

    And then they lumped us in with Auckland to form the Blues - Auckland, who were the enemy. Auckland, who we loved to hate. Fucking Auckland. You'd be hard pushed to find any Blues supporters in Counties. So I never had an interest in Super Rugby, and that's continued - I'd much rather watch a provincial game than a Super Rugby game.

    I'm in a position where I can probably afford a Sky subscription nowadays, but I resent the way their packages are structured - $50 a month for a bunch of stuff I have no desire to watch, then pay extra for channels that do have something I want to watch.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Dave Patrick,

    you probably couldn’t have had 3 Super teams in the top half of the North Island

    Given that that accounts for half the total population of NZ, I reckon we bloody well could have, except that on the same basis we would have at most two teams for the whole of the South Island.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1941 posts Report Reply

  • Timmy Hayward,

    Over the last couple of years I have enjoyed super rugby more and more to the point I see it more important than AB's. My wife's family is from Waikato, I have roots back to Dunedin and we all live in Auckland. So we go round to the cousins place for many matches involving the Blues, Chiefs or Highlanders and it is a real event for us. To be a Blues supporter you just have to have a #2 team and the Highlanders win two seasons back was the greatest rugby story in a long time. But just when the competition really hots up it goes on hold for a month while some boring Northern Hemisphere team (this year being an exception, hopefully) goes round the country. Then when SR does start up again it is the dead of winter with awful weather for the playoffs. You really want the final stages of the competition to be in spring like most other winter sports around the world. And with the format/structure changing every year or two the whole thing's a bloody mess, but I'm trying.

    OTTH, I have been enjoying the AK Schools 1A competition. My son's at St. Peter's with friends in the 1st XV so we go along to a few games. St. Peter's is not usually one of the really top schools but made the semis in 2015 (beaten by Grammar with a long past full-time droppie) and again last year (lost to the awesome MAGS team), and this year is the only undefeated team in the comp. An afternoon on the sideline at various secondary schools is very enjoyable and friendly although I'm conscious that for many of the boys we are watching they are really in the first stages of their career and the pressures on them are immense.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Gaz Tayler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    oh, there's much more to it than that...

    Auckland • Since Aug 2012 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Like others here it’s been the pay TV model that killed it for me. I’ve never played the game but used to enjoy following the All Blacks matches, Super 12 and NPC. That habit died overnight when I shifted out of the parents’ house and had no desire to pay for television.

    It almost seems like an anomaly that there’s so much free media coverage of the game that I now ignore because it means so little when there’s no practical avenue to actually watch it. For comparison I see my nephews growing up religiously around rugby: they have ubiquitous access to Sky TV thanks to living so close to the grandparents.

    These days when I glimpse it I haven’t a clue what’s going on in the format of the Super Whatever league. If I see parts of the occasional game at any level then I might still loosely enjoy bits, but typically have no idea who the players are or what the stakes are in the same way as I used to. I no longer bother considering going to the occasional game as I did in the past. Usually the only indication I have that they’re even happening locally is the public transport alerts, on the day, about timetable changes.

    Not that I mind. I have more time for other things and that’s probably for the best, but my introspective impression is that rugby culture in NZ, and perhaps its base, seriously changed from the moment it turned its premium matches into a privileged experience which people had to either pay for, or otherwise at least make an effort to leave their homes for.

    Through some reminiscence I'm trying to be enthusiastic about the Lions tour which free media keeps telling me about, but realistically I just don't care.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Annie's gorgeous by the post!!
    I'm rather enjoying the radio coverage of Highlanders vs Crusaders game this afternoon...
    https://www.iheart.com/live/Radio-Sport-6194/?autoplay=true
    It's just like being there, but with your eyes shut!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    As if to confound the sceptics, todays crusader - highlander game was just magic. plenty of passion, skill and courage - and a nail-biting finish. Almost got keen on the old game again. :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    plenty of passion, skill and courage

    Ditto for the Provincial Barbarians v. Lions - the radio announcers were beside themselves....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • dave stewart,

    Contender for PA word of the year: warrenball!?

    Since Aug 2014 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    that game was just good, but we still sucked. Long term, the Lions must be feeling like road kill about now. Sucks be to them, but from what I hear about their off-field popularity, maybe that’s not quite their problem.
    Popular touring party, is the Lions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    When you give up Sky, rugby ceases to exist.

    So that's what happened to me.

    Sky seem to want all or nothing from viewers. How's that working out for them?

    They lost me, that's for sure. Too greedy and too crap.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

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