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16 February 2011


Legitimacy of the sport, recruiting, facilities - improvement in all of these and more at the ACC schools because of this. But one of the most important things to come out of this, is the leverage it gives them to get more sponsors on board.

My understanding is that the CPL has a deal with ESPN to televise 3 games. That's a pretty big deal and can translate into sponsors. I know the ACRL reps met with some potential broadcast partners this week in Vegas, but they have no broadcast deal on the horizon. So Nigel and Todd have been doing the best they can with the product they have. It's just tough to market Arkansas St. v. Life University to the masses.

What does "legitimacy" mean when rugby folks use this word? Are we illegitimate now and earlier?

Let's get rid of this word from our rugby lexicon.

Yes Michael we were illegitimate, and some teams still are. Wearing stupid T-shirts saying support your local hooker, or about giving blood by playing the game. Drunks biting fish heads off, or doing stupid dances before games.
I would say we need more legitimacy in some areas of the college game.


College rugby on ESPN has happened a number of times in the [ast. Most successfully in 2009 on ESPNU when the finals were sponsored by the National Guard. A few games on ESPN is hardly a new milestone.

If you understand how brands view marketing to college students/alumni, they fall in two categories. The brands with a product/services targeting students directly, and ones who see college sports/events as a way to get to a lot of eyeballs. The CPL creation is targeting the later, and I don't see the eyeballs there to get any great sponsors. Actually the old competition was more valuable to a brands that spend the most on college marketing because it involved more teams than 31. Do you think that college rugby clubs or the students on the campuses of the non-CPL teams will give a hoot about the CPL? No way! The Eagles can't even get rugby players in the USA to give a hoot about the national team, which is obvious by the low turnout even when they are playing in huge markets like Chicago and NYC where thousands of CIPP'd players are located within a few hours drive.

So, the net-net is that the CPL is only going to find a sponsor interested in exposure to big numbers of eyeballs as if rugby is like basketball/football, and I don't see that happening. The old competition would be easier to sell to the brands that are already spending marketing dollars directly on campuses in the form of concert series, book store promotions, orientation day events, etc. These included categories like financial services, text book distributors/online retailers, entry level auto brands, energy drinks, fast food, technology brands, mobile phones, etc.

I still think the CPL is DOA.

If by "on ESPN" this turns out to be actually on ESPN or even ESPN2, then that would be a milestone. There cant be any debate about that. if it is on ESPNU or ESPN3 (online), then okay, it has been done.


Yeah, having a CPL game on ESPN will change everything. Keep chewing that bone and see where that gets you.

CC. Did i say it would "change everything"? No. I said it would be a milestone, because it would be. College 15s has never been on ESPN/ESPN2. So pretty much the very definition of a milestone.

Maybe you don't understand what a milestone is? A milestone is a figurative marker on the way to a destination. It is not the destination, it just marks progress on the way there. Getting college 15s on ESPN/2 would be significant progress. If it is even just the semi-finals and finals (3 matches) that represents a product that can be sold to sponsors and the public. Even if that isn't possible, it would still be getting College XVs in front of the largest in US history and it would represent a fledgling commitment from a major broadcaster.

Whether the CPL is the correct choice over Conference-matching leagues is a whole other discussion. Admitting that getting the CPL on ESPN/2 is a milestone doesn't mean you have to agree with the direction the CPL is going.

Chew Doggie Chew!

ESPN or ESPN2 will not televise a sporting event without a title sponsor footing the bill by purchasing a large stake of the advertising slots during the event. Existing ad inventory will go to the endless replays of Sportcenter and other inhouse programs before they will use it for a broadcast event.

Absolutely right.
Many broadcast companies will come film two snails crossing a road if you cover the productions costs. Its up to you to raise that money and find the sponsors.

Yea, I dont disagree. I said IF THEY GET IT ON ESPN. As in it is not a sure thing. As in I am not saying it has already happened.

Once again, IF they get it on ESPN, then that would be a milestone.

It's funny that you change your point in the span of 2 posts. First it was "Getting it on ESPN wont change everything!" Which I wasn't disagreeing with. Now it is "They wont get it on ESPN/ESPN2!" with an explanation of how broadcasting sporting events work. Take your meds and go throw darts at your Jack Clark poster or something. You dont know what you are talking about except that you know you hate the CPL and the teams involved for some idiotic reason.

What is nice to see over the past few days is that everyone has left the ACRL guys alone and bagged on the those in charge of the CPL leadership instead.

When I first read about this deal I half expected the haters that sometimes get on here and other sites to bang on about how poor most of the ACRL teams are etc etc.

Fact of the matter is that these guys and the others creating these conferences/leagues are way ahead of what we are paying for in Boulder?

I mean those teams are pretty shitty, but so are the Ivies besides Dartmouth. But no one can deny that this league set up and all the good work guy like Kane are doing for it will raise the play to where it needs to be in a few years. Then, much quicker than anyone would have thought possible, we will have a whole other set of elite teams to add to the majority of CPL teams. If the CPL is still around then, it will probably be time to dissolve it and really commit to the conference system with a lot more good teams around the country. Hopefully one or 2 other conferences emerge and do the same thing. Then this will truly work.

The Pacific Northwest Conference already exists. The Southeastern Rugby Conference will begin play in 2012. Rugby Northeast has formed as a D2 conference in New England and will begin play in Fall 2011. BC, UConn, Northeastern, Southern Connecticut, UMass, Middlebury are forming a D1 conference (still looking for an additional team, I believe). The Southern Rugby Conference is forming as a D2 league in the South (Furman, Citadel, Elon, UNC-Greensboro, Davidson, Appalachian St., etc.)

This is happening in alot of places, and those teams that aren't actively looking to form a conference are going to be left behind when the dust settles.

I posted this comment yesterday, but, somehow, it never made it to the blog. I heard (from a reliable source) that the CPL final will be broadcast by ESPNU (not the main ESPN/2). Does anybody know if the other two games will be regular-season games (e.g., St. Mary's vs Cal or BYU vs Utah) or the semi-finals? Does anybody know if Utah plans to broadcast or Webcast the Wasatch cup on Marth 5th? Does anybody know if BYUTV plans to broadcast any of BYU's home games this year? I haven't heard anything about their broadcast plans yet.

so... the status quo. great. I guess if it is broadcast live on U instead of on delay 4 weeks later that could represent some sort of step up, but it's nothing I would celebrate if I was Bell/Nigel or anyone else at Boulder.

I think you're all being a little unfair to Todd Bell. He has no authority and everything he does he has to make sure NM and KR say Yes first!

Haven't heard anyone say Todd Bell was a bad person. I've only heard he doesn't have the marketing skills that college rugby needs.

Big companies need mid-level administrators, like Mr Bell, to push some paper around.

USAR as a small dues driven membership org needs a marketing-sponsorship director.

USAR has been without a director of marketing and sponsorship for two years. Nigel Melville is without these skills in the same way Mr Bell is without said skills. The reason USAR have no new sponsorship partners at any level is because no one is looking for sponsorships.

Todd Bell's position was created to overtake the USCRA objective of college self rule. There was no thought into what US rugby needed, only a attempt by Mr Melville to keep the college CIPP dues flowing to Boulder by hiring a college director, even if the director didn't have the skills USAR required.

With all due respect, an intern with the help of a college committee could do what the union is asking of Mr Bell. This is not the fault of Mr Bell, this lack of leadership falls at the feet of the CEO and BoD.

@ watchdog

You left out the part where JC and the ARN podcast drummed up the CPL and it was put on Todd Bell's plate even before he started. The man was hired to meet the demands of the USCRA and his job became fall guy for a hastily planned CPL that was sold on it being a great commercial vehicle. The guy was set-up to fail! If the CPL just took care of their own business (including finding sponsors like this ACC is doing) and left Todd Bell attend to the needs of the 300+ other college rugby teams (best practices manuals, min facilities standards, help with campus admin, etc) the collegiate teams across the country would be better off.

DOA, Todd took a job, he knew what he was getting into! If he did not Nigel set him up. Either way there is no crying in the beer here, big boys who have experience in sport and college sport. Issue is USAR cannot find sponsorship for much at all, not a wonder they cannot find this.

DOA talks as if the CPL actually was an entity apart from USAR. How can the CPL take care of its own business without any organization whatsoever to do it? There is not even a committee of coaches that regularly meets to discuss what are the steps ahead. From what I've seen, this is all by design. USAR wants to keep the reins as much as possible, so that the coaches don't conspire (again) to go their own way. USAR wants the colleges to accept the status quo so long as there is some vague promise of a return (divvied up profits, should there ever be any), just so they don't have to shoulder the burden of administering their own competitions.

Just ask Mr. Bell what are the (local) marketing plans for the CPL final, and you'll get a finger-pointing exercise par excellence. If you ask who's in charge of filling up Rio Tinto stadium, he'll say that the competition is in the hands of the events person (who doesn't really care about attendance) and that marketing is in the hands of the communications person (who has no ideal of how to balance attendance versus profit). Thus, no one has charge of the delicate but crucial issue of balancing the competing goals of filling the stadium with paying the bills.

Sure, there is a (small) budget from USAR for putting on the final. But, has anyone thought creatively of how to best fill the stadium with enthusiastic fans? So far as I can tell, Boulder isn't planning on doing any grass-roots marketing to the locals until the week before the championship.

It's been my experience that, to fill a stadium like Rio Tinto, you need to start creating demand at least six weeks before the match, and to start organizing just what you're going to do at least six weeks before that. Otherwise, you're going to get a 2/3 empty stadium to show the world on ESPNU that rugby just isn't all that interesting, even to those in the nation's hotbed of rugby, Utah. And, these marketing activities HAVE to be worked on by those familiar with the local market.

Since the local union isn't really involved with the CPL championship, who's going to work on "getting out the vote"? Nobody. Especially if the final happens to be between, say, Life and Army. OK, that's not likely, but if neither Utah or BYU is in the final, how many folks are going to come to Rio Tinto to see it? How are they even going to know it's happening?

Like I said the CPL was hastily put together and thrown in the lap of USA Rugby and hence Todd Bell. It is a joke.

The CPL isn't set up that way. For better or worse, looking better at the moment, USAR doesn't have a roll in the ACC.

USAR has complete control and responsibility for the CPL. The teams can't sell sponsorships for the competition as a whole. They are only responsible for selling their own sponsorship.

You do bring up a good point, Utah and BYU are successfully selling the hell out of Utah college rugby. Their match will be played in the pro soccer stadium.

Cal is hosting high school fund raisers which will bring in thousands for HS rugby. Cal's team sponsorship is reported at $300k.

Army and Navy have put on highly successful events. Life College is working the sponsorship angle hard. CWU just earned a free all expenses paid trip to the NBC/college invitational sevens.

It doesn't look like there is any grass growing under the feet of the CPL teams.

Your point is therefore well taken. Since Todd Bell doesn't have any sponsorship selling ability, he should focus his efforts on doing nothing for the other 300 colleges rather that doing nothing for the 30 CPL teams.

If the league is DOA as you say, so what? Nothing been lost in trying. If it works and gives BYU and Utah a league to play in great. If it gives the south a better competition great. If as you say its BYU v Cal, so what?

College teams (the clever ones) are starting to realize that they are better off with USAR far away from their business. For now the new leagues like the ACRL, SEC, Ivy, Northwestern are content to continue to pay Cipp Dues. But just you wait - when a really big sponsor comes along and there is a serious cash injection, not just kit, which the ACRL deal is about -then these leagues are just going to say, bye bye USAR!

The CPL teams want to create value in the league so that they can harvest the revenue from a broadcast contract. Perception of fan mania (filling the stands) is key to creating that value. So long as USAR is managing the final, there is very little chance that the stadium will be filled. Ergo, the value of any potential broadcast contract suffers until the CPL teams get re-involved in putting on the final. It ain't just Cal & BYU (or whoever makes the final) that benefit from this thing! Everybody needs to get involved! CPL teams unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains! Oh, wait, that's from a different movie.

Anyway, send your email to Todd Bell asking him how we plan to fill the stadium. Send a copy to Alex Goff (so he can report on the groundswell of interest in the plans for the final).

CPL teams unite! HA. I don't know if you noticed, but last week 2 CPL teams skipped out on their match commitments at the Las Vegas Invitational. Both SDSU and Claremont didn't show. SDSU said that they couldn't get permission and Claremont has too many injuries. Like I have been saying all along. The CPL is DOA.

The Rio Tinto Stadium isn't that big. With the HS and College championships at the same venue, both levels featuring one or more Utah teams, it will create a great setting. Upwards of 10,000 spectators most likely.

Hey DOA, you should pull yourself away from the keyboard and come out and watch some rugby. You could be back at your sad little station, alone in your PJ's, spreading hate and pessimism by the following Monday morning.

BYU and Utah just announced their corporate sponsorship partners for the March 5, Wasatch Cup match.

There are more and more companies looking for rugby opportunities.

Bad rugby at a poor venue won't be supported, but good rugby at good, not outstanding, venues will gain sponsorship.

Someone tap the boys in Boulder on the shoulder and point them in the right direction.

The easiest way to raise money is to run a good tournament. There is a huge opportunity to develop Sevens Tournaments for HS, U-19, and College. The Clubs that run these tournaments generate ten of thousands of dollars from entry fees and sponsorship. A Sevens tournament with many teams is much more appealing to a sponsor than a 15's game with two teams. Start small. Never have more than 8 teams per field. Focus on quality fields, precise administration, Player Welfare, and Spectator Experience. A 16 team Sevens tournament with two Divisions with two four team pools each on two fields can be completed in 5 hours. $5,000 revenue in 5 hours. Easy money. No need to do a mega tourney if you don't have the fields.

Please explain how you make $5000 in 5 hours on 2 fields?

Most Teams will only pay so much to enter an event, although a better tourney may start to break the low threshold Rugby has had on entry fees as compared to Soccer, Hockey & Lacrosse tourneys. (HS less than $100, College less than $200, Clubs less than $300)
It is difficult to charge a spectator fee on open fields, not in a stadium.
& stadiums cost serious money.
Only a small percentage will buy T shirts & Hats and there is limited profit margin on these.
In order to attract a decent group of teams you need to provide quality environment and not just pitches, markings, flags and posts pads.

We provide teams with the following for free as part of their entry fee:
Ice Baths
Massage Therapists

We also pay for:
Park Rental
Professional crew & field paint for pitches
Union Host fee
Fee for Refs
Fees for Trainers / Medical Personnel
Directors and Operators Insurance
USA Rugby Liability Insurance
Trophies & Engraving
Office expenses & Flyers
Cash Prizes
Sound System
Tent Rental
Sponsor/Bracket Boards

We barely break even

So unless you give them nothing but a field to play on and get everything donated and charge a boatload per team, I fail to see the profit in 2 fields for 5 hours.

Howard Kent – Denver 7s

$300 is a reasonable tourney fee per team. Assume an average roster of 10. That's $30 per person for a whole day. How much are ski lift tickets these days?. How much free Powerade and Sunblock are the ski resorts offering? If you can get get product donations from sponsors, great - but not worth coming out-of-pocket. Sevens for just $6 per game per person. Teams can come up with the money. The Clubs willing to do the work should reap the benefits. There will never be money from USA Rugby to offset the real costs of playing Rugby in a meaningful way. We can't give everything away to players. Tournaments must be priced so that they make a profit for the host clubs. There is a lot of good will in the rugby community but volunteer efforts will only go so far. Without profit, host clubs will lose interest. Profit motive drives success as evidenced by USA Sevens in Vegas.

On ice baths, I have heard conflicting medical analysis about the benefits of using them between games. Some say the benfits to the joints is offset by the stiffness created in the muscles. Some say they are benficial. Ice bath cost a lot to deploy in terms of money and staffing (and health issues with stagnant water). I'd like to hear what other say about the benefit of ice baths between games.

$1800 per team at this CO lacrosse tournament (U-13 and older). 2 days, so $900 per day.

Another tourney in NY charging $425 for 7 person teams and $650 for 10 person teams.


What should the competitive market rate be for Sevens Tourneys? Are US Rugby players paying enough to play the game? At a tournament you get immediate and observable return on your investment as opposed to CIPP and union dues.

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