rugby union

Sunwolves open final Super Rugby season with win over Rebels


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This article is another example of why rugby can not sustain itself commercially. Rugby is very very physical as a sport and has increasingly become a power game instead of a speed game. It is also a very injury sensitive sport. Those are facts. As a result, it is not suitable for many people. When you are 60 kg and fast and you get rammed in the side by a 170 kg guy, that hurts. A second problem is that management of rugby, at any level, confuses loving a sport with managing a sport. You do not go to a potential sponsor asking him to sponsor because he loves rugby.  Next problem.  Rugby is macho, even women rugby.  But it is not sexy, it is not elegant. It is rough, basic and that is why a number of people love it.  Great. The problem is, that is a limited number of people but rugby can not give up the illusion, not only a dream, that it will ever get as big as football, baseball, basketball, golf or tennis to name a few sports. As long as realism does not set in, professional rugby is doomed. They have been living for years above their means. In Japan, rugby can not grow. It is a simple fact. Professionals, managers like me. We accept facts, and leave the dreaming to players and fans. They should dream. They should love.  But commercials and operational managers should manage and that does not happen in rugby. Chest beating is what happens.

The Topleague can not survive on a profit/loss basis. It only survives because a number of big companies are willing to pick up the bills. First they support budgets and than they pick up the tap at the end of the season. 

That has nothing to do with professional management. 

May I crush another hyped up story here ? sold 2,3 million tickets at the rugby world cup. That is nothing less but a miracle because the total capacity was about 1, 9 million over all stadiums and games. 

And about the 400,000 to 500,000 extra visitors during the world cup ? In October 2019, there were 144,000 less people visiting Japan than in Oct 2018.  And 9000 less in November 2019 than in Nov 2018. 

Rugby is in for a hard landing. I am not happy about that. I am a professional in sports management and facing facts. Declining population, less active youth, competition from football and baseball to name just the top 2, by far.  Rugby has a place in Japan, but it has to know its place to survive or I fear the worst

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dont cry.. just enjoy the game

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