Comments

Why the FRU needs to make money

Written By : General Editor. It does not make sense that the International Rugby Board continues to allow the live television coverage of the Pacific Nations Cup matches. For example
05 Jun 2008 12:00

Written By : General Editor. It does not make sense that the International Rugby Board continues to allow the live television coverage of the Pacific Nations Cup matches.
For example the Fiji-Samoa match at Churchill Park in Lautoka will be televised live which is really not what the national rugby body needs right now.
The live telecast, as the Fiji Rugby Union found out last year, discouraged some rugby fans from coming down to the grounds to watch the matches. They preferred to stay at home or in the comfort of their private club bars to watch the games.
For the FRU it meant a loss in income at the gates, something it can ill-afford. The same can be safely assumed as the case with the rugby unions in Tonga and Samoa.
The FRU missed the full houses at the grandstands which used to be the norm before the live telecast was introduced by the IRB for this particular competition.
Such arrangements may work effectively for the bigger rugby-playing nations because they would still enjoy a large audience at the grounds despite the live television coverage. For some reason, many would rather be there at the grounds cheering and enjoying the special atmosphere which can only be experienced at these top-level matches.
In the island nations, not everyone can afford the $25 grandstand tickets and many, if given the chance to watch the game live on television at home or somewhere else, they will take take that opportunity.
And because it has become very rare for the island nations to host international test matches, they want to make as much money as possible from the few ones they have.
The IRB therefore needs to re-look at the current arrangement and support the island nations in making as much as possible from these IRB-sanctioned matches.
Because tomorrow’s match against Samoa will be the first time the Flying Fijians are playing before a home crowd after the Rugby World Cup last year, the FRU can only hope the fans will come down in numbers to Lautoka to see their heroes in action.
It will also be good for the players to see many faces not only at the stands but also around the park and hear the local crowd cheering them on. A sell-out crowd would also be a way of personally saying Vinaka to the team for a job well done last year.
Who knows, the IRB may even learn an invaluable lesson from it.



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