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Thread: New Super Rugby Pacific board pledges to take fanís focus to 'reignite the flame'

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    New Super Rugby Pacific board pledges to take fanís focus to 'reignite the flame'

    Super Rugby finally has a dedicated board – well almost – and is about to go to market for a chief executive it wants to be the face of the competition. Now it just needs to “reignite the flame” and engage fans at the level required in the modern sporting environment.

    And the message from new Super Rugby Pacific chairman, and highly credentialed Kiwi marketeer, Kevin Malloy, New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson and his Australian equivalent Phil Waugh after a fruitful day “whiteboarding” as the new board was that they have the basis for a competition that can soon return to its glory days.

    It was very much an upbeat and confident message being propagated by the trio of powerbrokers as they fronted the media at NZ Rugby HQ, with Malloy making it clear the blueprint for success lay very much around its ability to engage with and sustain the attention of its fans.

    “We’re now looking at Super Rugby very much from a fan’s lens with a fan’s focus,” said Malloy who heads a board that still has a couple of independent directors to add. “A lot of what we discussed today were areas around where we’re going to take the game, what Super Rugby might look like in 2030, and what’s going to ignite the flame of having our fans passionate with a great competition again.

    “What works for fans? What‘s going to be interesting for them? That’s a slightly different lens to how we’ve looked at the competition before. We had a robust conversation today around where we go with making the game more interesting for fans.”

    Malloy shook off a suggestion that Super Rugby, with its Kiwi dominance and Australian under-achievement, was a competition in strife, but admitted there was pressure to present a product that could compete for the discretionary sporting and entertainment dollar.

    ”What we’re talking about is reigniting the flame and passion for this competition, and getting people to a point again where they’re excited about the game and about what they’re watching. I don’t think it needs fixing, but it needs a different orientation on how we think about marketing the game.

    ”Today was a whiteboard session, and we’ve got a board covered in a lot of ideas … the trick is to get focused on three or four things that are really going to change the dial. Today is a starting point ... now we have to identify what really matters.”

    “We know our performances across not just the international game but Super Rugby haven’t been at the level they need to be, so we’ve got a role to play,” said Waugh. “We know we’ve had some challenges, and we need to rectify those. It’s important for the strength and integrity of the competition for Australian sides to perform well.”

    The new Super Rugby Board says it will be looking at the game from a fan’s focus.
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    Super Rugby finally has a dedicated board – well almost – and is about to go to market for a chief executive it wants to be the face of the competition. Now it just needs to “reignite the flame” and engage fans at the level required in the modern sporting environment.

    And the message from new Super Rugby Pacific chairman, and highly credentialed Kiwi marketeer, Kevin Malloy, New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson and his Australian equivalent Phil Waugh after a fruitful day “whiteboarding” as the new board was that they have the basis for a competition that can soon return to its glory days.

    It was very much an upbeat and confident message being propagated by the trio of powerbrokers as they fronted the media at NZ Rugby HQ, with Malloy making it clear the blueprint for success lay very much around its ability to engage with and sustain the attention of its fans.

    “We’re now looking at Super Rugby very much from a fan’s lens with a fan’s focus,” said Malloy who heads a board that still has a couple of independent directors to add. “A lot of what we discussed today were areas around where we’re going to take the game, what Super Rugby might look like in 2030, and what’s going to ignite the flame of having our fans passionate with a great competition again.

    Malloy shook off a suggestion that Super Rugby, with its Kiwi dominance and Australian under-achievement, was a competition in strife, but admitted there was pressure to present a product that could compete for the discretionary sporting and entertainment dollar.

    ”What we’re talking about is reigniting the flame and passion for this competition, and getting people to a point again where they’re excited about the game and about what they’re watching. I don’t think it needs fixing, but it needs a different orientation on how we think about marketing the game.

    ”Today was a whiteboard session, and we’ve got a board covered in a lot of ideas … the trick is to get focused on three or four things that are really going to change the dial. Today is a starting point ... now we have to identify what really matters.”

    Clearly competitiveness and parity are going to help. They are staples of a successful competition. To that extent Rugby Australia chief Waugh faces the biggest challenge getting his teams up to the level of their Kiwi rivals – an aspect he acknowledged with a careworn sigh.

    “We know our performances across not just the international game but Super Rugby haven’t been at the level they need to be, so we’ve got a role to play,” said Waugh. “We know we’ve had some challenges, and we need to rectify those. It’s important for the strength and integrity of the competition for Australian sides to perform well.”

    But Waugh, Malloy and Robinson all stopped well short of a less is best approach to the Australian component of Super Rugby.

    “Our performances to date would say we haven’t had the depth throughout five teams,” added Waugh. “We can field strong 23s, it’s when the depth gets challenged that performances suffer. We need to get more creative as to how we backfill some of those squad depths, and we’re working through that.”

    NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson: ‘We’ve had incredible feedback around great tempo ball in play and match duration.’

    Added Robinson: “We’ve seen in recent times the struggles of clubs in various competitions around the world, and while we have some challenges, we’re not at the stage yet of talking about a reduction of teams.

    “If we focus on the positives of the competition, we’ve had incredible feedback last season around the key measures of great tempo in the games, ball in play and match duration – all things we know make for a great fan experience. We’ve got a great platform to work from, and just a few tweaks we’ve got to work through.”

    Malloy confirmed the hunt was about to start for a CEO, with the job description written for a person who would need more “marketing nous” than they would necessarily a strong rugby or administration background.

    “This role is going to be absolutely critical,” he said. “The most important thing this board will do to a large extent will be hiring the appropriate CEO. We’ll live and die on our ability to hire a crack CEO. It’s a really attractive role, and hasn’t had this level of focus before. We have to have somebody that’s going to be the face of the game, and to have a 24/7 focus on how we improve the competition and keep driving it forward is really exciting.”

    Malloy said the new appointee would ideally be in the role by the start of the new season, but said their timeline would be flexible to come up with the right person.

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/su...nite-the-flame

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    Last edited by Burgs; 12-12-23 at 02:28.

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    Super Rugby must speed up to lure fans back: Waugh

    Mon, Dec 11, 2023, 2:48 PM
    Darren Walton - AAP


    Rugby Australia boss Phil Waugh is adamant speeding up the game and having the ball in play longer is paramount to winning back fans.

    Waugh is in Auckland for a Super Rugby Pacific interim board meeting with his New Zealand Rugby Union counterpart Mark Robinson.

    While Super Rugby Pacific interim chair Kevin Molloy rejected the assertion that the competition was "in strife", the three heavyweights of the SANZAR alliance agree they must be proactive to stop the decline in interest.

    Molloy said Monday's meeting was an important "starting point" in which the board brainstormed for hours about how to "reignite the flame" among fans.

    "I don't think it's fair to say we're in strife," he said.

    "But it's fair to say that we are really cognisant of the fact that we're not just competing with the powerhouses of the NRL and other major sporting events.

    "But we've got an entertainment industry out there and it's tough for people at the moment.

    "It's tough in terms of where they spend their discretionary dollar."

    Waugh is convinced fans need to see the ball in play more and says stoppages must be minimised.

    Statistics showed that the ball was actually in play for less than half of the 80-minute match times during the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.

    Improvements were made this year, with less intervention from television match officials (TMOS) but Waugh said even more tweaks were likely to be in store during 2024.

    "We've been leaders of innovation probably when Super Rugby started (in 1996)," he said.

    "It was innovative, it was fast and it was the best provincial competition in the world. We need to get back there.

    "If you think about what can we tinker with, interestingly, if I talked about ball in play, it was actually ball out of play. It was stoppage time when really you lose a lot of the consumer engagement.

    "So for the fans, how do we actually shorten the ball out of play? Maximise ball in play to actually speed the game up?"

    With Australian wins over Kiwi opposition few and far between over the past decade and more, Waugh accepts improvement must be made by the ACT Brumbies, Queensland Reds, NSW Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force for the competition's integrity.

    "We know our performances across not just the international game but the Super Rugby performances haven't been the level they need to be," he said.

    Molloy also conceded even in these tough times that the Australian and New Zealand governing bodies may need to invest more in order to revive interest levels in Super Rugby.

    "I think there is a fiscal reality that they are going to have to invest more than what they have invested in the past," said the interim chair.

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    Has Super Rugby become a dead horse getting continually flogged at this stage?

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    Japan and the Pacific Islands for Aussie Super 9's!

    Let's have one of these in WA! Click this link: Saitama Super Arena - New Perth Stadium?

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    Trouble is it is the same people as always looking at it from the same insiders perspective, thinking they can somehow throw some home made fairy dust over it and it'll all be fine if they can just say the right magic words. But they can't see it any differently as anyone before them, so won't come up with anything that wasn't already thought of. Once again they'll fall back on 'speed up the game', ignoring the fact that that doesn't seem to be an issue for support anywhere but here, and hasn't worked any of the other times they've tried it.

    Maybe, just maybe, the problem isn't that it doesn't look like League. Maybe the problem is sitting right in the middle of the huge blind spot that stops them using mirrors.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    Once again they'll fall back on 'speed up the game', ignoring the fact that that doesn't seem to be an issue for support anywhere but here,
    Or is it? I stumbled on a podcast called "Eggchasers" recently where the host was asking the question "what is going wrong with domestic Rugby". He presented TV figures for various nations which compared RWC Final viewership to audiences for their domestic comp finals. They were pretty dismal everywhere except France & suggest most people just support their national team. Unsurprisingly he didn't bother with Australian numbers. Without quoting all the raw numbers, I'll just give his final analysis which he presented as ratios.

    France as hosts had 16.5 M and for the Top 14 final 5.8M.....

    So...... 3:1 for France..

    NZ....7.5 :1

    England.... 8.7 :1

    ZA/Ireland both....12.7 :1

    So with a caveat on the veracity of his figures; if they are anywhere near accurate would suggest a pretty big disconnect everywhere but France. The suggestion might be that many more people are interested in the big tournaments. Among the Kiwis I know this would be close to the mark. A few are diehard rugby fans & a lot profess to be, but really just follow the AB's. How that helps find a way to make SR more attractive to a wider audience - buggered if I know. But it would suggest that implementing a system with a main focus of improving the Wallabies performance at the expense of a holistic approach is unlikely to improve things.

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    Last edited by shasta; 13-12-23 at 08:49.
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    Interesting, though would need to take the raw data and apply all sorts of variables.
    Home interest in RWC (TV v Bar)
    Time of telecast locally
    Numbers per television per country and watching "style" (my term, ie are the poms/kiwis more likely to watch domestic final in pub)
    Accessibility of local comp on FTA

    There would be ups and downs for each, perhaps for the same end result, but variables none the les.

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