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11 August 2008



Congrats to the boys from Daytona Beach! Pretty good for a club that was DIII up until a year ago. Is that 3 South 7's Championships in a row?

I'm pretty biased, but this is an example of a USA Rugby event run right. Outstandingly well done job by all parties. I hope there will be events in the future at Rocca Field.

I can not comment on the event because I wasn't there, but with an estimated crowd of 350 you are talking about an event on par with a big wedding. If we are going to start giving USA Rugby "atta boys" for putting on an event the size of a wedding, we are going in the wrong direction. Let's be realistic, USA Rugby is a multi-million dollar organization with a responsibility to a paying membership. Let's be prudent about "atta boys" for USA Rugby.

Wedding is spot on about lauding a well-run event that had a turnout less than that of a high school football game between last place teams.

This is an event that features some of the most gifted rugby athletes in the country and has served as a launching pad for many past 15s and 7s Eagles. It should be easy to convince the uninitiated co-worker or family member to catch a half day of this. Better yet, how about buy-1-get-1 free tickets to all of the youth players in the SF area (the hotbed of HS rugby....). Its hard not to bag on Boulder again for this -- so I am offering solutions rather than bashing.

Yet another opportunity for good exposure gone bad.

Hats off to Aspen for running the table both days....Not an easy task.

You guys are overestimating the people who care about rugby. It was $10, it was well run with no chance of shortages for food and drink, ample souvenirs, and there was play constantly. There were bleachers for people to sit in, plenty of parking, a clubhouse with the Eagles game on TV. It was in a place that's easy to get to. Heck, there was even a top quality program. The media work wasn't great (as usual), but the Chronicle's most suitable rugby writer also happens to be their Olympics writer and is in Beijing.

For an effort mostly staffed by volunteers, it was very well done. That only 350 came (and there were more Saturday) isn't really USA Rugby's fault. USA Rugby can't make people care about rugby, and some of the people who do care about rugby could do a better job coming. A lot of Bay Area club players seemingly had other things to do this weekend than turn up. I hate to say it, but the American rugby community can be pretty lazy when it comes to turning up for events. Considering USA Rugby and SFGG did everything but wipe people's asses at this event, there can't be any blame on their part.

I'm sure it was great Flynn. Did they have a free face painting area for you and the kids? Did you catch the bouquet?

It is very hard to draw spectators to most rugby events. I for one have a hard enought time getting my family and closest friends (who aren't players) to break away on saturdays to attend matches or tourneys. Everyone knows where I will be, but everyone also knows where they will not be and that is at rugby. Why do ya'll think that rugby is so close knit and that everyone knows each other?? Simple, its a sub-culture in this country and there isn't enough pedestrian spectators who are interested.

i am interested to see what the attendance is like for the Eagles in CT. It's close enough from Boston and NY. I think that would be a better measuring stick. As a rugby fan, if I lived near San Fran, I would have attended, but you have to consider that it is 7's and not 15's and while I'm not trying to start a 15's v 7's debate, I do think it would keep away the casual fan. Also, while there are some of the top clubs at the tourney, only Calif. fans could reasonably attend. Finally, as mentioned, media coverage was not really present, so how would anyone outside of these web sites be aware of it? Sounds like SFGG did an awesome job, congrats on running a great tourney.

USA Rugby's management of the national competitions follows a commonwealth model that does not work in the USA. In established rugby nations local and regional competitions would go to bid for clubs to host. The motivation was to make some money in the clubhouse pub and food sales, gain exposure and be able to show off your new clubhouse or pitch. It works because even for a local cup competition in the 3rd or 4th grade the competing teams each will bring a motor coach or two or three full of hungry and thirsty spectators.

That doesn't work in the USA for a couple of reasons. One, no clubs really has a motor coach of two of supporters. Remember all the talk about 2 girlfriends, a wife and someone walking their dog watching a home match. Second, it is a big nation and people don't want to travel 4 or 5 hours to support their local club. So, what would work in the USA?

Well, if someone had some vision at USA Rugby they would realize that passing on the national competitions to clubs to bid on will never generate spectators. An effort should have been made early on to find events that would want to have a rugby competition as ancillary part of their event. For example, I just googled "Pacific Island Cultural Events California" and presto August 2-3 in San Francisco there was the Aloha Festival at the San Francisco Presidio Main Parade Grounds. Why couldn't USA Rugby have contacted this organization 6 months ago and worked out a mutually beneficial arrangement for their to be a pitch and bleachers at this festival? The PI community loves 7s, and I am sure there would have been a large knowledgeable crowd. Here is a link to information about the even on the Pacific Islanders Cultural Associations website - http://www.pica-org.org/AlohaFest/index.html

All it takes is a little initiative. They are working for their members, and we deserve more of an effort than having clubs bid for national competitions.

Ombac draws more than 350 people to watch their RSL games. The bay area has a lot more rugby fans than San Diego so I do not think it was promoted enough. The island nations are plentiful in S.F. and if they knew about the event they would have come.

Good or bad, the event was 100% the doing of Golden Gate, USA Rugby does nothing for events like this. A wanabee in a blue blazer walking around doesn't make for work.

This event has never and will never be a draw. Social day of rugby at best for the fans. There is no fan equity in club sevens. We were there for the beer and a few laughs. Good job GGRFC! The only reason Flynn is being nice to USA Rugby is to get the event back next year. Based on their work, GGRFC, should get it again.

Although SFGG did a great job and except for the warm-up area was a great venue, that's at least 3 years
on the west coast and although better than Chuckanut Bay as far as accessibility, that adds $7000 to the $3000 hotel bill for east coast teams. Not to mention $30-$50 a night parking for EACH team vehicle X 4 nights.

Not sure what the airfare was, but I wonder if you stayed in the right hotel. rather than staying in SF, I'd recommend the Berkeley Marina or somewhere in the East Bay. No parking charges and cheaper nightly rates I would imagine.

I agree that this event didn't have that much to do with USA RUgby. And I think SFGG did a pretty good job with some room for improvement.

NOt sure what the annual $25 in CIPP dues is supposed to entitle a member to, but I wouldn't expect that money to magically turn the Club 7's championships into a high-profile major sporting event. FWIW, I think there were more fans at SFGG this year than I've seen at a 7's Club championships in the last few years.

Here is a novel idea that probably wouldn't be best for teams with multiple players on 7s Eagles.....

How about staging Club 7s Nationals in San Diego during USA IRB 7s stop? As they have demonstrated in the past, OMBAC parent club can expertly run the pool games and playoffs at little Q. Semi's can be last game on Saturday at Petco and Finals just before IRB bowl finals.

There's probably a lot more reasons not to do this but thought I would throw that out there....

I was there
The hotel was like 100 dollars per night= 1500 not 3000
kids under 16 got in free under 18 5 dollars
There was more than 350 at the final and more like 1000 on day 1
The cost of airfare will be high anywhere it is held because most flights are booked under the 14 day window.
It was a good event and better than most USA events I have been to.

Not sure why everyone thinks USA Rugby isn't to be held responsible for having some vision and growing national competitions. Basically that is why all the clubs and players pay to be part of USA Rugby, to compete in the national competition. None of the competitions, aside maybe HS because it has grown so quickly in the past 5-10 years, has been looked after and built into something special. Each year it is thrown together by the club that hosts the event, they volunteer like mad and maybe do it two years in a row, make marginal amounts of money, burn out and then it is back to square one. Does anyone here with any knowledge of the events business think that someone could have done something more than the balloon park thing with the college rugby nationals over the last 15 years or so that it has been promoted as a national championship? Come on they don't do anything buy find another club to host, burn out their volunteers and they have their hands in the proceeds the entire time. We deserve better.

Flynn, you said:
" USA Rugby can't make people care about rugby"

For better or for worse, that's their job -- considering Sara John's press releases are all signed with the postscript "Inspiring America to fall in love with Rugby"

It sounds like the biggest "given up" opportunity was NOT co-hosting with the Eagles match.

If you are going to create a conflict in the schedule, at least co-locate. A venue like the Clermont match would have been a perfect, ready-made fan base. If I buy a ticket to the XVs test AND I get a buffet of VIIs? Sounds worth the trip to me.

In addition the VIIs sides could roster their Eagles, or at least the guys that didn't make the Eagles squad but were in the training side could get released to the VIIs.

Perhaps next year, they can have national sevens co-located with the Munster match.

Munster is the last game of the Eagles summer, so players could be released to play VIIs the following day (should they choose to). Also Boston is more geographically friendly than Charleston for the club teams to get to on their own dime.

I think you guys are missing the point here about USA Rugby and national championships of all stripes. There are a lot of events that are like the USA Rugby nationals, such as any extreme sports expo, motorsports expo, beach volleyball or any other sporting event with athletes that isn't part of a much larger national league like MLS. The AVP is more like a series of events and is not controlled by team owners. So, the biggest costs to someone managing an event like these is athlete appearance fees and cost to fly them in and host them. USA Rugby doesn't have these costs associated with any USA Rugby Nationals competition. So, here you have an organization with a monopoly on rugby and with athletes willing to pay their own transport and hosing to compete. They have had these events year after year and they have not grown them one bit, and that is with the largest cost component not part of the equation. There is no excuse on why USA Rugby has not turned the college nationals into a 6 week 5 college campus tour stopping at an East, South Midwest and West campus every week for 4 weeks to get to the final four, then one week off followed by the finals at the last campus. Each year you change the campuses and you go after the brands targeting colleges. There are many brands going after the college market, with companies paying millions to have their soda on campus, credit card sign-up booths and application slips in books and concerts of all types paid for by car companies. USA Rugby needs to hire an event company to run the nationals and accept a very modest fee to be the consultant for the event. Let a marketer turn the USA Rugby Nationals into the Axe Deodorant Rugby Nationals at Boston College, Alabama, Notre Dame and Colorado University with the finals at Cal Berkeley! Look for the Axe Rugby Tour Bus at South Padre Island this Spring Break! It is very possible, but you need vision and initiative.

I played for Daytona and flew the 1000s of miles to play from London.....after the game the eagle Dallen Stanford was at the bar ...I bought him a beer and he never bought me one back what a cheapo.....I hope he sorts me out this year or he's gonna get it....mines a Guinness please mate
see u in August

Your post are very good, you should add some videos or something like that

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