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12 December 2007

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This is too good, even for USA Rugby.

An open field, public park in Albuquerque where the balloon's take off, right.

USA Rugby calls this membership services. They sell the sponsorship rights, keep the money for their other purposes, then requires 48 teams (1500 participants) to pay 100% of the participation cost in Albuquerque. This would make the mob blush.

USA Rugby wins, much less work in one out of sight, out of mind location and they must be so so busy. Albuquerque wins because they clearly don't give a rip about rugby or college sports, but will sell some hotel rooms, meals and rental vans for throwing some rugby lines down on the balloon airstrip. Airlines win with an average airfare just over $400. National Guard thinks they have won and have no idea how badly this dilutes their sponsorship and how much ill will it creates.

The rugby teams, well, they once again get the shaft. Less media, less fans, less of a athletic venue. Which all equals less of a meaningful athletic experience. PRICELESS boulder.

WTF, is wrong with West Point?


Are you speaking of the 1994 DII Final in Austin?

That National Guard sponsorship looks sweet!

Hope they have some armed vehicles for the college kids to ride in the balloon airstrip!

Kurt, care to provide a solution? Where do you think these events should be held? Please don't be the guy behind the barrier randomly saying "ruck!" "maul!" "pass!"

Did we ever get any details about the National Guard sponsorship? Did they give USA Rugby money, or just the promise of kits for colleges? If they gave money, it sure isn't going towards having a championship quality venue.

Kevin,

My suggestion would be to go back to 4 regional tournaments, which cuts down on travel time and costs. There are many suitable locations on college campuses. USAR went away from this because they believed it to much work. These regional events also help grow the game. This is the lazy option.

I suspect Kurt is speaking of the 1995 D-1 final in Austin that was hotter than the gates of hell and poorly attended, but, nevertheless, held in a great city.

With all fairness to Boulder,it is difficult to please everyone with their championship venue choices, but the Albuquerque
set-up appears pretty suspect.

If we are serious about "marketing" the sport, we need to start utilizing our best venues. Why not West Point, or Berkeley or Denver or Altoona,PA?

I can think of 3 first class, rugby-only venues in Iowa that would better serve the image of US Rugby and the needs of the participating teams than the ones selected.

Ed Schram, Sr.

Instead of questioning USA Rugby and it's percieved inability to land sponsorship deals so college players or clubs don't have to pay "100% of their cost" to play rugby, the focus should be on why universities are not supporting or subsidising their teams as they travel and represent the school.

Perhaps the schools and their athletic programs tolerate or ignore rugby because there are issues with the teams and their lack of professionalism, organization and self funding(Crowd draw and alumni support) There are exceptions but they are far outweighed by the majority.

If the National Championships or playoffs were held in a small stadium or rugby dedicated facility I don't think the media would really care regardless of location. The interest is not there.

As far as fans attending I could be wrong but a decent high school football game will get a bigger crowd than most National Rugby Championships regardless of location, venue etc.

Perhaps people should focus more time, interest and money on developing thier own opportunities.

What if all the money that is spent in a season of travel to NM, Pittsburgh, CA for playoffs over the years would instead be directed at the developemnt of rugby facilities. Eventualy a proper facility could be built to support the hords of fans currently missing out due to this percieved problem with USA Rugby.

On that note, USA 7's in San Diego is in a prime facility and it is interesting that it seems like a majority of the crowd is expat, or former players. With 60,000 current members how come we can't get more people out to SD or more than the 8000 to CHicago this past summer? I suspect sponsors would be a little more supportive if they came to an event and saw larger crowds.

Either way, everyone should stop waiting for the magic million dollar sponsor who USA Rugby has somehow been unable to obtain and instead ask themselves "what have you done lately?"

Whatever-

You are correct that each club should be responsible for their own funding, this is what is happening at present. Some do it well while other teams struggle. Our US clubs unlike the clubs from around the globe get nothing from our union.

This event placement seems to be a case of the national governing body, which charges dues to its members for little to nothing in return, asking even more of its members for still less in return.

USARFU has asked its members to spend even more money going to out of the way places, to play their meaningful hard earned rugby in public parks. Meanwhile, they pocket the NG sponsorship funds they sold. Shameful!

'Whatever' has a point in the sense that USA Rugby doesn't have the greatest product to be able to get top venues. They get colleges or clubs that are well organized, have a facility and are committed to rugby, or they get organizations that think what USA Rugy does have is attractive.

USA Rugby puts out a bid for these competitions, and these bids don't say that USA Rugby will commit to 10K spectators per day that are willing to pay for admission, parking and concessions. If their bid said that, AEG would be bidding on it and these championships would be at one or more of the MLS stadiums they own.

That said, what USA Rugby does offer was attractive to the Albuquerque Conventions and Visitors Bureau. Fill some hotels, add outside revenue to the city businesses and get a fee for use of their public park. It was also attractive to Austin RFC and Pittsburgh Harlequins who will make money from sales of beer, t-shirts and whatever else they can cook up to make some money. They may be able to recruit some players and get new local sponsors.

Also, I think most these bids are for multiple years. This is our reality.

What I want to know is how does the National Guard play into the college playoffs.

This national guard sponsorship should be spent on free hotel rooms and some meals for the teams. How can US rugby sell title sponsorship to a university event that the teams are paying full boat to attend and keep the money for themselves ?

National Guard + USA Rugby = Screw the Universities

Sign up here for your new, free Kooga jersey with National Guard splashed across the chest. Sorry but the new design is of their liking and it will make all your other jersey's obsolete and if you want more than the handful of free jersey's provided, call Kooga for your new special price. Gotcha'

I don't think there was any money involved in this sponsorship. It is an in-kind marketing deal. National Guard gives USA Rugby 300 kits worth $1000 (real cost to National Guard is negotiated with suppliers at probably 300 bucks or $90K). That is if 300 clubs even want the kits. National Guard provides branded banners, inflatable hummers (or whatever), a National Guard experience tent, etc all over the college playoffs (another reason the giant park is useful and the military bases near Albuquerque help too, also having all the teams in one place makes the National Guard's sponsorship easier). That is what USA Rugby gets and can say something like it is a $500K deal and get no actual dollars, and the National Guard gets to recruit our players as they are easy to find considering they are registered and paid their CIPP fees.

Hell if the National Guard really goes for it in Albuquerque it can look more like a military event than a rugby event!

The people on this site that were suspicious of the National Guard sponsorship may prove to be right.

The USA Rugby release was the best ever. Kim Brock, our executive spoke person states that "Albuquerque is centralized". It took me awhile to read on after reading this, talk about laugh your ass off.

She said that this venue would "raise the quality and visibility" of college rugby, more laughter, now on the floor laughing.

Kim went on, "Balloon Park offers pristine fields". Note to Kim and Nigel, the C&V brochure with the photographs shot during the green grass Fall Balloon feast, won't be there in our late Spring. The fields are mostly brown then and the gopher wholes that don't brother the Ballooning aren't so good for the rugby. Welcome to you just got ripped off. Spend freely enjoy the altitude and see you next year as well.

Email the National Guard, attention Lt General H. Blum and share with him how you feel.

Remember to tell him you know the red, white and blue hummer can't be everywhere at once, but 48 teams playing for a championship at their NM festival is not what we need.

Ask why they want the college teams in a public park and not on college campuses. Is this a recruiting ploy?

Be respectful.

If you have a problem with the National Guard, pressure the nutty political group that you allign with to step up and show some cash. PETA, Code Pink, Air America, Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, ELF, whatever; nobody else is stepping up to contribute.
This is a great deal for our college teams.
PS: Albuquerque sucks as a playoff site, period.

We get it OLD Beaver you are a right wing Republican.

Give it a break till you go to Albuquerque and get to check out the Official National Guard USA Rugby Waterboard Experience. It will be right next to the armed vehicles for the college kids to play on. Try not to get in the way of the 24 rugby matches.

We get it OLD Beaver you are a right wing Republican.

Give it a break till you go to Albuquerque and get to check out the Official National Guard USA Rugby Waterboard Experience. It will be right next to the armed vehicles for the college kids to play on. Try not to get in the way of the 24 rugby matches.

We get it OLD Beaver you are a right wing Republican.

Give it a break till you go to Albuquerque and get to check out the Official National Guard USA Rugby Waterboard Experience. It will be right next to the armed vehicles for the college kids to play on. Try not to get in the way of the 24 rugby matches.

We get it OLD Beaver you are a right wing Republican.

Give it a break till you go to Albuquerque and get to check out the Official National Guard USA Rugby Waterboard Experience. It will be right next to the armed vehicles for the college kids to play on. Try not to get in the way of the 24 rugby matches.

We still don't know what is involved with the National Guard deal. My guess is they are paying World Rugby Shop for the cost of their basic crap kit. This sounds like a bad deal for college kids and the National Guard. But at least World Rugby Shop will make out like gang busters.

I am pretty confident that the sponsorship with the National Guard is an in-kind deal where the National Guard provides kits for colleges that apply and at the playoffs and championships they provide tents, event activities, banners, post pads, corner flags, etc. Let's say the "value" is X amount of dollars, but the real cost is quite a bit less however. USA Rugby says that they did a sponsorship deal for X amount with the NG in the hopes that this adds cache to the event and their brand and brings in other sponsors or partners. That is fine and dandy and probably the best kind of sponsorship deal that USA Rugby can get with the product they have to offer.

My question is did the NG sponsorship lead to the college playoffs being done in a massive public park with the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau being a co-host with USA Rugby?

I think we are all in agreement that taking college rugby away from college campuses or a stadium atmosphere, is a bad idea. Having 48 teams playing 24 matches per day on a giant patch of land is not fitting for what is a huge occasion for these teams that worked hard to get there and paid their way out of pocket. I also think we are in agreement that having all 48 teams compete in one spot is a boon from a marketing perspective for the National Guard.

A simple Google search lets us know that the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted the 2006 Annual National Convention with 3000 attendees.

So, did the National Guard bring the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau to the table to bid for the college playoffs? Was this a term in the National Guard sponsorship deal and the bid process really just a sham? Is it worth having the National Guard as a sponsor if it is an in-kind sponsorship and USA Rugby has to turn the college playoffs into something not very collegiate or professional and into a festival atmosphere with cool military stuff like armed vehicles, a jet fly over and a marching band?

I think we will all look back at this event as another sad bastardization of college rugby and pure folly. Hopefully something funny will come of it, because that is the only hope for some satisfaction.

The US stinks in Rugby, who would sponsor the US team, much less a college championships where most of the top 16 teams arent even capable of playing with Cal.

So I understand USARugby placating all you whiners while they focus on Youth/HS development. good on em.

USCycling did the same thing in 1980, subsequently became world class competitive and $1M sponsorships became much easier.

Stop whining about what the governing body isn't doing for you- their job is to govern, and thats it. The rest is up to you and me. If you think you can do better at the 2009 event, go for it - borrow a big load of money and promote it right and you'll get rich- right?

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