We need to consider the impact of the All Blacks’ dominance on the popularity of the sport.
The recent victory over South Africa highlights the obvious superior skill set of the All Blacks and the lack of excitement for the neutral fan.
As a rugby fan, I am lucky to live in America where it is amazing how much rugby I get to watch. The game is striving to break into the U.S. market and doing a fairly good job. It is one of the fastest growing team sports in the country.
ESPN shows all the Super Rugby and Rugby Championship matches; while NBC Sports shows Premiership rugby from Europe. I also get to watch some of the French club rugby as well. A gluttony of rugby, some might say.
Personally, I enjoy watching northern hemisphere rugby because the games are closer and I find that more exciting. It is not exciting when one team is clearly better than the other and the game is decided by halftime. This weekend I stopped watching the All Blacks on ESPN after 20 minutes and switched over to a Premiership game on NBC.
Rugby has become a professional sport and TV viewership is the main source of funds. The neutral TV fan will not be interested in watching games with a score line of 57-0.
Is the All Blacks dominance bad for the sport? Is the gap as large as last weekend’s scoreline suggested? The Lions certainly got close to beating them. As some have suggested on The 1014 YouTube channel, is it just a matter of sitting back and enjoying it whilst it lasts. Much like Ali, Federer, Bradman, and Woods. What do you think?
From The Shed
The 1014 discuss this very question on their YouTube channel, you can see it at 2:48 in the following video.
Author: John Francis