With rugby league’s Independent Commission set to become a reality very soon (no honestly), the spin has commenced with regard to upcoming television rights. With a deal due to be negotiated as soon as the 8 good people true start sitting as the ultimate big picture, decision makers of the game in Australia the portents are good. Rugby league is a superlative product that many tv executives would love to have in their quiver of lucrative sporting properties and sport per se has always rattled the cages of advertisers eager to link their products with wholesome family entertainment. In the background too is the AFL’s recently heralded $1.2 billion plus deal that warped the landscape and caused rugby league’s administrators to think big, really big. To add value to rugby league many ideas have been mooted from separating the rights for NRL, State of Origin and Test matches to national expansion. Most worrying however is the very real possibility that the game on free will in the not so distant future contain more adverts! Say it ain’t so Joe? Various statto’s have long seen natural breaks in play as opportunities to insert the latest celebrity head spouting skin care after time off has been whistled. Close your eyes and think about the time it takes to set a scrum or take a line drop out and imagine Katy Perry instead… you get the picture? Whilst this may increase actual playing time (although I’m not sure what the players association will make of it) it is a retrograde step. One of the, no THE true stakeholders of the game are fans – they are the lifeblood of the code. Fans sustained rugby league through some dark years before Tina Turner sang ‘Simply the Best’ and fans did similar when News Limited coldly cleaved the game in two. Fans kept Souths in the competition and continue to buy tickets, buy newspapers and stump up hard earned, eye watering amounts of cash for little Johnny’s guernsey when it’s tough enough feeding the family. Sorry but all fans yearn for the day that any game, all games are uninterrupted by the scourge of endless, mindless, useless commercials, much less more of the same. Are you listening?
It’s all About the Fans…
Boo, Hiss Boo!
Have our sporting icons become a little too precious? Should they be heading to Bunnings at the first available opportunity to buy some quick setting cement? How else can the recent complaining about our sporting stars being booed be explained? Earlier this year Michael Clarke, our one-day captain was booed from the field following (another) dismal batting display. Critics rounded on the baying hoards claiming it was disrespectful of his haughty office, of his talent to give him such a rabble rousing send off. And last week the much vaunted and all too frequently under achieving NSW Waratahs were similarly booed not once, not twice but three times in all during their desolate performance against the easy beat Cheetahs. On both occasions apologists for the teams concerned have been quick to defend the athletes saying it simply isn’t fair to hiss and jeer. Matt Burke even offered that because the crowd had never played under the pressure that Super 15 rugby exerts that they simply couldn’t know and therefore were under-qualified to boo! Ridiculous!! The people who pay the price of admission are entirely entitled to vent their spleen and hurl abuse when they wish, just as they can stand and pay homage. Indeed it is an essential part of sport. Our sporting stars can’t have their cake and eat it! They love the adulation, the standing ovations, the rousing cheers when it all comes together and things go well. They lap it up and positively revel in it and yes, profit from it. too So when things go awry and the crowd mood darkens, the players must surely realise this is part and parcel of the game. The yin and the yang. Far from whingeing they should suck it up and see to it that it doesn’t happen again! Do our precious players want sanitised stadia, bereft of atmosphere where the crowd stay rooted to their seats and politely clap when the big screen tells them too? I don’t think so.