Thursday, March 29, 2018

Q&A: Answers To Your Questions

You asked and we answer. We got some great questions this time on Super 7s, the 7s World Cup, and more.

Sjsuvc1: 1- What is the latest from Super 7s folks? 2- How do you think the Rugby League match will do in Denver? Any indication on ticket sales this far? 3- With 60k tickets sold so far for the RWC7 in SF how much needs to be sold for RIM to break even and profit?

TIAR: Great questions. Let's take them one at a time. 

1) We reached out to the Super 7s folks a few weeks back to get progress on the league. They said they are still working on their financing and once that's done it's a go. Obviously that's not where they wanted to be at this point. Their original plan was to a play a barnstorming tour after the 7s World Cup this summer to test various markets. That may still obviously happen but not having any details at this point isn't ideal. All of that said, the timing of the competition could work well as MLR teams will be finished by then expanding the Super 7s playing pool. The league still has a good chance of happening but it seems like it might not be soon. 

Take the jump to read more.
2) The rugby league match in Denver is going to be interesting. It's going up against the Eagles vs. Canada which will take some of the potential crowd away. We've always found that most fans in American prefer union but don't mind league. There isn't the same divide as in other places. Still, if fans have to choose they'll probably choose the Eagles. Some folks will still make it out to Denver and you might even have a few travel from New Zealand and England. However, it seems very ambitious to try and play at Mile High Stadium. There is no way they are going to get a crowd that doesn't make it look empty. They would have been better off trying to play at Dick's Sporting Goods Park or even Infinity Park (both have conflicts). No clue on the ticket sales so far. 

3) We're not sure the break even point and profit. However, as has been reported, the Wales-South Africa match needs 27,000 to break even and that's with a combined $1.4 million payout to both countries. If you consider that hosting the tournament will likely cost millions having sold 60k seats is a good way toward making it sustainable. If the crowds hold and the tournament even sells out a day (AT&T Park holds 40k) then they look good to make some money. Probably not a lot but at least some. 

Unknown: Wait...RIM is behind the RWC7s? I just got back from my volunteer interview and I have to say, the thing is running very smoothly.

TIAR: It is mostly because Dan Payne has been overseeing the tournament. Also, World Rugby are still reeling from their disaster in Moscow so there is no way they were going to let that scenario repeat itself. They have been very involved in making it happen. If the tournament comes off as successful it's probably the only successful thing RIM will have done. 

RIM is set for a big summer. If, and that's a massive if, they can break even or make money from the Wales-South Africa match, and if they can make money from the 7s World Cup and the two Eagles summer matches then they could survive. It's obvious that The Rugby Channel is close to death at this point and if they can't make money from hosting matches they have no viable business plan. 

Here's our question: if the RFU put their money into RIM why on earth hasn't England been to the United States to either play the Eagles or another team? Sure it would be a lot of rugby for England but why couldn't they play the Barbarians in London on May 27th, South Africa in D.C. on June 2nd, and then continue their tour of South Africa in South Africa? Even if they split their squad and made one more developmental that they took to the U.S. they would bring in a lot more fans than Wales.

Matthew Manley: Is there a precedent for rival organizations seeking control as governing body? If so, what was the result? 

Yes there is. In rugby league the AMNRL used to have control of the national team and was considered the governing body. A few years back teams in the USARL, many of which used to be in the AMNRL, broke away. It wasn't clean but the USARL eventually triumphed and they now are the governing body and run the national team. But it's not that simple in the case of the U.S. because international rugby league isn't nearly at the same level as union. It's much more loose in terms of what governing bodies do. 

Another precedent that is probably more relevant is the squabbling within U.S.A. Cricket over the last few years. Essentially the membership grew tired of the governing body and their corrupt ways (nothing like that is even remotely happening in U.S.A. Rugby). Long story short a new organization was formed but not without heavy interference from the ICC (cricket's governing body). During the whole thing the U.S. was suspended a couple of times which cost the national team matches and places in World Cup qualifying. That's a dangerous lesson for American rugby. Is U.S.A. Rugby perfect? Absolutely not and they would tell you that but people need to thing about the consequence of what might happen with a full scale rebellion.


  1. There's no way MLR will permit contracted players to participate in a competitors structure. No way, no how. And if Super 7s had managed to get up and running before MLR neither would they.

    This concept appears to be quickly becoming the new Grand Prix Rugby. Always just sorting out the finances but never actually getting anything on the field.

    1. From my understanding there will be players that are contracted as full time players, like 1-2 yr contract. Then those that just hired for the season then that's it. I'm guessing the later of the type of players will be the ones who could play for super 7s.

      Lacrosse has players who play both MLL and NLL

  2. So I guess it is a uniquely American quality to have the inability to create a governing body that can run with any sort of efficiency.

    1. Sorry, mate. But that's not the case. Rugby Australia has proven itself well capable of cocking everything up historically as well.