Who has got the cure for the sit-at-home blues? Ask Dr Grabthar. Now with bigger, easier to read font!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

This is a Sports Blog

[For those of you waiting for photos, I apologise. If the photo upload tool for Blogger crashes for one more time I’m gonna…well, probably just swear under my breath. But photos are coming!]

I tried to keep abreast of local sport while I was away in foreign lands and I have to say: What the hell have you done with rugby?!?!

Dom answered: Ignoring it. It’s boring. [I am] totally over the silly ANZ Cup pools and repechage rubbish. There have been two good games out of about 40. Auckland v Waikato (the draw), and Wellington vs Canterbury (the last ten minutes, 6 of which were minutes in extra time, Boomzing!). And its not just that the All Blacks haven’t been playing, its just that we have been fed a steady diet of weekly rugby since mid Feb[rurary]. I need time to recharge the rugby batteries. And we still have the ANZ Cup play-offs and final then the Southern hemisphere Teams tour to the Frozen tundra of the Northern Hemi[sphere].

You know, here is something I never thought I’d say on this blog: New Zealand is terrible at rugby.

Wow, that was tough. But it is naturally not the players nor national squad about which I speak. I’m talking about the organisation of the sport and how it is run here in New Zealand.

Fans turned away in droves from the NPC finals last season. The semi between Canterbury and Otago was barely watched. The final between Auckland and Otago was watched by only slightly more. What was the reason?

By this stage of the season there had been 69 Super 12 games and 47 NPC games (not including preseason matches). On top of this was an international season of six tri-nations matches and a test against Fiji. Then there was a certain Lions tour, 11 matches in the space of a month.

So you can forgive a public that might be a little tired of rugby come the final of the NPC. Oh, and after all of this the All Blacks still had their Grand Slam tour (4 games and a night of boozing in London).

But 2005 was an anomaly. Surely the next year it’ll settle down. Nope.

By the time the final whistle of the Air New Zealand Cup blows, there will have been: 91 Super 14 matches; 70 Air New Zealand Cup matches; 9 Tri-Nations matches; and 3 Internationals. And then there is another 4 internationals.

So in 2005 we had 138 matches. In 2006 we have 177. That’s an increase of 28%! And there was a Lions Tour and a Grand Slam last year for goodness sake! Over six months 177 games is almost one game every day (0.96 games per day). How many people think that the NZRU is going to see a 28% increase in profits? And there definitely isn’t a 28% increase in interest.

Games like Canterbury v Hawkes Bay and Auckland v Manuwatu. On the FIRST WEEKEND of a new competition? Who organised that crap? 45-0, 41-10. That is NOT interesting rugby. Why not start the expansion teams against each other or against lower

So what will people watch? Apparently people will watch rugby on a Thursday night. (Actually, no they won’t).

Thursday night rugby is a freaking terrible idea. Now, not only do we have 177 rugby games a year we also have it 4 days a week! Teams are now running ragged trying to prepare for a Thursday game. Of course unions would have agreed to this at the start of the season with the NZRU, and so wouldn’t mind. Well actually, no. The unions were against it, as were the players. Former All Black captain and all-round good guy Tana Umaga said publicly that he didn’t like it. Punters don’t like the format either. Having to be enticed to attend games with free Sky rugby channel packages.

So where did this idea come from? Where else, but the place that brought you the utterly ridiculous Super 14: SKY Television. Or rather News International. We have let a media organisation tell us when and how we are going to play our games. Remember that they also account for those 91 Super 14 matches. Those awful awful awful Super 14 matches. You might remember a little team called the Force?

I have to end this rant now, but first let me point out that the NFL tells media agencies what they can do with the games and when the games are going to be played, not the other way around. The NZRU needs to take the game back!

More soon. Mahalo.

1 comment:

jonnyspace said...

I like sports
Check out my sports blog
AllSportBlog.com Sporting NewsBlog