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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Trivia Question 

We constantly hear about how big Rugby Union is becoming globally and see snippets on the telly of Romanian kids running around in rugby jerseys and talk from the coach about how the kids love it yadda yadda so anyway...

Trivia Question of the week

Are domestic Rugby Union competitions attracting more or less spectators globally?

Out of the 21 largest domestic rugby competitions in the world (excluding the NPC, Super 12, and European compettions because stats for the former are not released and the other two are regional competitions) a total of 16 of them saw falling crowds in 2003 from the previous year.

The NPC is not included as the NZRFU are basically the only footballing body IN THE WORLD who steadfastly refuse to fully release their crowd statistics. They only mention specific crowd figures when they are good you may have noticed.

If you don't believe me I challenge you to find them (and then please share them :)). I know a few figures from 2002 but that's about all I could get.

Also unavailable are Australian rugby stats (club comps I am talking about). And Japanese rugby crowds are either non-existent as well, or else they don't want people to know what they are. When I was in Japan recently there was a game on tv. The crowd was pretty abysmal, maybe a thousand or two. The teams are owned by large corporations and are advertising vehicles for the owners and have little or no local support nor following of any significance (rather like the soccer and baseball leagues in Korea). Although I did hear from one of the New Zealanders playing in Japan that they have had crowds of up to 25,000 for finals games.

Meanwhile the 32 largest Rugby League competitions in the world ALL INCREASED their spectator numbers in 2003 from the previous year. Some of them aren't exactly big but it seems to highlight a trend in what locals want to watch when they haven't been brought up on a diet of Union their entire lives and decide what to watch based on visual appeal perhaps?

I'll give you all the juicy stats and comparisons later.

I grew up watching club league in Auckland and it was the highlight of my week. It was fast, open and their were plenty of tries and tackles, breaks and so forth. While rugby also possesses this it really is not the same as a good game of league in my opinion. It's a shame that it's always been thought of so badly by much of the NZ public. Ah well, that's life I guess. Just make sure you don't get too brainwashed by the doomsayers who pop up talking about the death of league or whatever. They seriously know nothing whatsoever about the sport.

I still can't view the site after publishing so you may want to email any comments here:

Otherwise keep on trucking and go watch a club game of league wherever you are. There are competitions all over the country. Or a club game of rugby for that matter. It's all good.


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