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Thread: Andrew Forrest's World Series Rugby dream starts Friday, but can it work?

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    Legend Contributor blueandblack's Avatar
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    Andrew Forrest's World Series Rugby dream starts Friday, but can it work?

    http://www.afr.com/business/sport/an...0180427-h0zd30

    Andrew Forrest has two things going for him when it come to his quest to relaunch the Western Force rugby union team as part of wider push of the sport across Asia: money and supreme confidence.

    He insists he won't need much of the former and clearly possesses a lot of the latter, despite critics who charge his idea of creating World Series Rugby, essentially a start-up competition designed around keeping the Force afloat after it was chopped from Super Rugby last year, is a folly destined to fail.

    On Friday evening, the Force will run out in front of what Forrest and his assembled team of sports administrators hope is a crowd of up to 20,000 for a match against Fiji. It is one of seven matches the Force will play in Perth this year, in what will be a bit of a test run for a wider competition in 2019 and beyond.

    Then, Forrest tells The Australian Financial Review, he hopes to have established "a collegiate and collaborative competition in Asia" that could include teams from Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and even the likes of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.

    Critics charge it all sounds a bit fanciful. The Force lasted a decade in Super Rugby but after an initial few years of excitement failed to draw huge crowds for most of its life. It ran into financial problems which saw local rugby authorities transfer the ownership licence to Rugby Australia. It then moved to cut the Force in favour of keeping the Melbourne Rebels intact.

    Rugby is not exactly shooting the lights out in terms of popularity in Australia right now, either. Not since 2002 has Australia retained the Bledisloe Cup over arch-rivals New Zealand and Australia's Super Rugby franchises have struggled on the field and at the box office.

    Add to that the are non-traditional rugby markets Forrest's World Series Rugby wants to push into across south-east Asia, leaving some to question just how much interest there would be in a contest between, for example, a Sri Lankan team and one from South Korea.

    Forrest has little time for those questioning his plans, saying that he will apply the mindset and strategies that have seen him firstly build a mining empire at Fortescue Metals Group, which propelled him to the top echelons of the Financial Review Rich List, and then his extensive philanthropic interests.

    'This is anything but a charade'
    "I don't do anything by halves," Forrest says firmly, before adding after being asked how his venture will be different to many other sporting pursuits wealthy people have lost money on over the years: "No-one has tried this year in rugby before. And I haven't done it before. This is anything but a charade. It will be fresh and exciting."

    But why rugby?

    "This is about addressing rank unfairness. And that is what has driven me across a range of areas, like the energy sector and the real entrepreneurialism of how we approach philanthropy and helping to fight unfairness in all its forms, be it slavery or early childhood development.

    "It is patently obvious to most people in the rugby community now that the selection process [between the Force and Rebels] was a charade. So this is about helping address that unfairness."

    There are already more than 10,000 tickets sold for the Force's match on Friday evening at nib Stadium in Perth, and Forrest points out sales usually pick up considerably as a game looms. The Force will then play home games against other international sides from Tonga, Samoa and Hong Kong and Super Rugby sides Crusaders from New Zealand and Rebels. A final game is expected to be against a Japanese side.

    Forrest says there will be upfront costs for the Force matches this year, but given the strong ticket sales and support across the state the team has launched advertisements led by local identities such as Kim Beazley, cricketer Justin Langer and ex-AFL footballer Matthew Pavlich.

    Next year and 2020 comes expanding the venture into a fully fledged competition across the Indo-Pacific, run by a team of administrators recruited by Forrest.

    "We think there is a gap for a major international competition. Places like Singapore, Korea and Hong Kong are growing quickly [in rugby terms]. Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka are all places that have shown considerable interest in being included as well. We've spoken to their respective rugby bodies but also private entrepreneurs that may want to be involved at an ownership level as well."

    Can it work? Can Forrest really transform a sport that his now, at best, the fifth most popular sport in Australia, to one that leads a push into Asian countries that have never shown a big regard to rugby?

    The famous Forrest confidence comes to the fore. "This is for the long term. Everyone I do, be it food, energy and other things. They are all long-term efforts. World Series Rugby will be as well."

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    Champion andrewg's Avatar
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    This is starting to look interesting......so free-to-air AND Foxtel???????

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    Not if it isn't on TV, What happening?

    FTA or Fox Sports?

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man View Post
    Not if it isn't on TV, What happening?

    FTA or Fox Sports?
    We'll put a link up for you once it's all official

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewg View Post
    This is starting to look interesting......so free-to-air AND Foxtel???????

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    (Thanks to Taylor Yermolaev‎ on Facebook)
    It feckin better be both, I won't be renewing Foxtel based upon some shaky promises of a one season deal.

    I might think about it if they commit to it long term, but would much prefer to see a joint broadcast agreement with a FTA or Digital provider.

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    It feckin better be both, I won't be renewing Foxtel based upon some shaky promises of a one season deal.

    I might think about it if they commit to it long term, but would much prefer to see a joint broadcast agreement with a FTA or Digital provider.
    Channel 7 have and hour TBA on Friday night and 1.5 hours on Sat Morning Delayed broadcast on 7? And live on fox ?

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    Legend Contributor blueandblack's Avatar
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    Interestingly I can't find any listing on FTA or Foxtel TV Guides

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    Quote Originally Posted by blueandblack View Post
    Interestingly I can't find any listing on FTA or Foxtel TV Guides
    http://www.ebroadcast.com.au/tv/static/PerthNight.html

    weather looks great for Friday evening. See yo you all there/
    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=w...hrome&ie=UTF-8

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    just bought 6 tix

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    Quote Originally Posted by palitu View Post
    just bought 6 tix
    Unnamed Sauces have indicted that as at yesterday over 12,500 tickets had been sold.

    I would love for us to get more or close to as many to this game as the Tahs have had all season in their four home games.

    I guess we could just make a figure up like the rest of them seem to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The InnFORCEr View Post
    Unnamed Sauces have indicted that as at yesterday over 12,500 tickets had been sold.

    I would love for us to get more or close to as many to this game as the Tahs have had all season in their four home games.

    I guess we could just make a figure up like the rest of them seem to do.
    Does sold tickets also include the giveaway ones that have been used in promotions etc? There must be a few hundred seats or so there as well?

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    WA is notorious for waiting until the last minute to commit and buy tickets.

    Very often there's a big take-up Wed & Thurs..

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewg View Post
    WA is notorious for waiting until the last minute to commit and buy tickets.

    Very often there's a big take-up Wed & Thurs..
    Lets hope so..

    It would be absolutely hillarious to see Perth with a population of less than 2 million people dwarf the recent crowds of our two biggest cities. Melbournes pathetic 5500 turnout and Sydney's humiliating crowd vs the lions (what was it? a crowd of 6000 or so against last years super rugby finalists.. pathetically pathetic)
    Go the Force
    Save it for the game

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    Small article in todays West on p87. "Campese on board for Twiggy ball revolution"

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