User:Caitlin~enwikiversity/BPS2011 Essay

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Presentation[edit]

This is the supplementary presentation for my essay. It is on the same topic as the essay, with a bit more depth in terms of pictures and the way the presentation is shaped. I used power point slides and exported them to movie maker and then recorded the narrative. You may need to turn the sound up as the recording devices I had weren't ideal. The presentation is focussed on the expansion of Rugby Union in Australia, and why it hasn't had the developmental success that sports such as AFL have had in Australia, as it is still considered to be a sport that is big in Queensland and New South Wales, while other states lag behind. A lot has been done in recent years to counteract this idea, however as the Australian Rugby Union doesn't have a national competition similar to the National Rugby League or the AFL, and instead must co-operate with the peak bodies of rugby in South Africa and New Zealand, they are restricted on what they can do. This is demonstrated in the broadcasting agreements, as they must agree with the other unions of SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) before they can sign any contracts. The presentation suggests that the best way to move forward and develop the sport so that it can be considered the dominant national sport (such as it is in New Zealand) is to move the focus away from a NSW/QLD dominated developmental structure and to concentrate on expanding the game into new markets, as the AFL have done to great success.

[Why isn't Rugby Union the Dominant Sport in Australia? Presentation]

Outline[edit]

Rugby Union in Australia is considered one of the four major sports. Its popularity at the elite and grassroots level is unquestioned, and despite having major participation in New South Wales and Queensland, the game is expanding to become a nationally supported sport. The recent expansion of the Super Rugby competition to include a fifth Australian team (the Melbourne Rebels) and the creation of an Australian ‘conference’, where each local team plays each other twice in a season, have seen the sport expand its reach around the country further. The release of the Crawford Report in 2009 emphasised the need to focus on sport at a grassroots level and that the major football codes, who have the highest participation rates of any other sport in Australia, should receive more funding as the Australian sports system shifts its focus to involve preventative health and community fitness values. The Wallabies have had a history of success and their matches are broadcast nation-wide on free to air television and on pay TV. The ARU in 2010 reported a $1.07M surplus, and following the professionalism of the sport in Australia in the mid-90s, the sponsorship deals and TV rights are huge. Despite this, it can be argued that Rugby Union is still not a national sport. A combination of competing sports such as AFL, Rugby League, etc, a lack of Rugby culture in certain states and primarily a lack of support for regional areas in terms of funding and education may be the reason for this. States such as Tasmania have a very small but passionate rugby union following but the Tasmanian Rugby Union, when contributing to the Australian Rugby Union’s 2010 annual report, complained about this lack of support. This article will discuss the above issues and what the ARU needs to do to become a truly national sport in Australia.

Introduction[edit]

Rugby Union in Australia is considered one of the top four commercial sports, however it has not been able to match the dominance of the Australian Football League in terms of national reach, or been able to match the fanatical following that the sport enjoys in New Zealand. The sport began in Australia in New South Wales, with Sydney University being the first rugby club in the country. This was followed by the first inter-colonial match between Queensland and New South Wales in 1882, which established the sport in these two colonies. Over the next 75 years, New South Wales dominated the sport, and were the de facto peak body for the country. It can be argued that this is one of the reasons why even today the sport’s participation numbers and following comes from New South Wales, closely followed by Queensland, but cannot be viewed as a truly national game.

The Beginning of Rugby Union in Australia[edit]

One of Sydney University's early teams. Photo by aussieobserver.blogspot.com

The first rugby club formally established in Australia was Sydney University Rugby football club, in 1865. The founding in 1874 of the Southern Rugby Football Union, which became the New South Wales Rugby Union (NSWRU), was the beginning of the institutionalisation of the game in Australia. The first inter-colonial rugby match, played in 1882 in Sydney between NSW and Queensland, not only provided an avenue for the promotion of the game in the colony of Queensland, it also offered a focus for rugby football in New South Wales, and may well have offset the further encroachment in NSW of sports that would later compete with rugby for players and spectators, such as Australian Football and Association Football [1].

In the 1900s officials of the NSWRU, supposedly the guardians of the game, assumed the position of ‘owners’ and ‘controllers’, following years of dominance of the game by NSW teams, until the formal establishment of the Australian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) in 1949. As a result the custodians of the game in Australia were for the Australian game’s first 75 years, New South Welshman[2]. It can then be claimed that this discouraged the expansion of the game throughout the country, up until this time, as NSW were in control of the sport at a national level but their primary focus was the success of their team against others in Australia.

The establishment of the ARFU was an outcome of the struggles and rivalries between the NSWRU and all other states’ rugby unions, particularly Queensland’s. However, much of the momentum came directly from the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB), as global controllers of the game. In 1949, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa became full members of the IRFB. This recognition of the allied ex-colonial territories was expedient and necessary, as collectively they had already become very powerful and internationally successful rugby playing nations[3].

Despite this, the period from 1950 to 1980 still saw control based in Sydney: NSW dominating on and off the field as it had during the previous 50 years. The negative effects of this domination and control were demonstrated in 1962 when NSW refused to play Queensland on the grounds that the Northern state players were just not competitive enough: the previous season they had lost heavily to NSW in Brisbane and in Sydney. Even more embarrassingly, Queensland had been defeated by the rugby union minnow state of Victoria[4].

Even with an increase in loyalty, intensity and parochialism of rugby union in Queensland, its state team could not match the power of NSW until the late 1970s. Sydney remained the rugby union capital of Australia[5].

The Development of Rugby Union in New Zealand[edit]

Conversely, in the case of New Zealand, it was the sending and receiving of national teams that provoked the establishment of a truly national governing body, the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) in 1892, 57 years before Australia. Once formed, the New Zealand national body quickly sought to subordinate provincial unions, control local competitions and punish any infringements of rugby’s original amateur principles. This early establishment of a centralised New Zealand organisation in the amateur period, in which the tensions between ‘clubs’ and ‘country’ were resolved through the control of provincial unions by the NZRFU, served two national purposes: the development of popular and strong competitions that could produce competitive national teams, and protection against professionalism (which at that time was seen as vital to the success of the sport)[6].

File:Hakacaitlin.jpg
The New Zealand All Blacks doing the Haka at the Rugby World Cup in 2011. Photo by life.miningpeople.com.au

Gallaher and Stead (1906) stated that:

‘Clubs are not organised promiscuously in New Zealand as they are in Britain, the Union decides what clubs there shall be, and supervises their management. In doing so it particularly desires to ensure the thoroughness and effectiveness of the working of each club, the equality of all of them so far as conditions and opportunities are concerned, the maintenance of strict amateurism throughout, the prevention of one club being completely overshadowed by another by reason of superior financial resources, or by any social or other non-financial inducement that it might offer to players to belong to it, and too easily facilitates for changing clubs'[7].

The success of this (at the time in the sport) ground breaking system of ‘organisational efficiency’ highlights that centralised power and local subordination characterised the New Zealand rugby governance model, and that the sport benefitted greatly from this management system[8].

The NZRFU also established the grading of players into first- second- and third-graded club competitions, restricted players to only the competition-grade to which he was ‘classed’. The provincial union committee decided any promotion of players and a player could not play in the grade from which he was promoted. This ensured that the lower grades were are competitive and ‘scarcely inferior in point of interest to those of the grade above’[9]. This again ensured that there was continued competitive competitions at all levels of the sport, which ultimately led to the success and eventual dominance of the sport in New Zealand[10].

In 2011, rugby union is unquestionably a national obsession in New Zealand, which puts it in quite a different situation to that of rugby in Australia.

Development of AFL in Australia[edit]

Australian Rules Football on the other hand is widely regarded as a truly national sport in Australia, and is in direct competition with rugby union, particularly as the Australian Football League expands further into the traditional rugby territories of Sydney and Queensland with the inclusion of the Gold Coast Suns and Greater Western Sydney teams into the national competition.

Since the mid-1960s, the AFL has undergone a wholesale process of economic restructuring. This process commenced with the commercial downturn of the former VFL, which ultimately was the catalyst to the formation of the national competition league in the 1990s. in 1990, the expanded VFL was renamed the Australian Football League (AFL) and currently spans five states, comprising seventeen clubs (with an eighteenth to enter the competition in 2012), which are overseen by a central administrative body [11].

The sport moved to one national body much later than rugby union did, however strong competitions had already been established in each state, so when a national body was developed there was still enough strength in the local competitions that there was no individual dominance from one area.

In 1982, the league first moved to expand its geographic broadcasting coverage by allowing the south Melbourne Football Club to play games in Sydney. The South Melbourne Football Club was eventually relocated to Sydney, where it became known as the Sydney Swans. This expansion policy was extended in 1987 with the inclusion of the Brisbane Bears from Brisbane, and the West Coast Eagles from Perth making up a fourteen-team league competition. In 1991, the competition was enlarged to fifteen teams with the introduction of the Adelaide Crows. Until 2011, the competition was sixteen teams with the Fremantle Dockers from Western Australia being admitted to the league in 1995, and in 1996 Port Adelaide (South Australia) replaced the former Victorian-based Fitzroy football club which merged with the Brisbane Bears to become the Brisbane Lions[12]. The current framework for the league is nine teams from Melbourne (with Geelong comprising number ten from the State of Victoria), two from both Perth and Adelaide, and as of 2012 two each from Queensland and Sydney.

This rapid expansion of teams in the national competition has also contributed to the success of the AFL at a national level, particularly in the era of globalisation. Rugby has been expanding as part of the super rugby competition, however it has not expanded at the rate or in the number of locations as the AFL has, which is why it cannot be recognised as a truly national sport.

Rugby Union in Australia Today[edit]

Regardless of what football code or sport, broadcasting has emerged to be the singularly most important revenue source to most professional sporting leagues and events, in Australia and around the world.

File:SANZAR 0.jpg
The SANZAR logo. Image from www.superrugby.com

The major direct revenue source for the ARU, the state rugby unions, and the Super 14 franchises in New South Wales, Queensland, ACT and Western Australia, comes from the allocation of funds from the television broadcasting rights[13]. The difference between the AFL and the ARU however, is that the AFL is a national sporting competition who has complete control over the sport and the broadcasting rights. The ARU, however, participate in the Super Rugby competition through SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australian Rugby), and therefore do not have complete control over the broadcasting rights, or even over the competition as it is an international clubs competition between the three countries. SANZAR control the broadcasting rights, which means that the matches are broadcast on pay tv rather than free view in Australia. This limits the game’s accessibility, particularly in comparison to the AFL, whose matches are on free view every weekend of the season.

However, the Wallabies’ television audience in metropolitan markets grew by 2.2% in 2010, but was offset by a decline in regional markets. Significantly the wallabies grew the male 18-24 years market by 42%. Super Rugby audience was up 20% on 2009 with all key metropolitan markets showing strong growth[14].

In terms of community rugby, according to the Australian Rugby Union’s 2010 annual report, there were more rugby players in Australia last year than at any time since the game was introduced in the mid-1800s (ARU Annual report). Participation numbers for 2010 were at record-breaking levels and went over the 200,000 mark for the first time in history (209,571 in 2010). This was an increase of 16,990 (8.8%) in 2009. 2010 was the second year in succession that Rugby has registered an increase in playing numbers, which underlines how the code is expanding in Australia[15].

Conclusion[edit]

Rugby Union has had a strong history in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, however from errors made in this history, the sport has not been able to develop into a national pastime. The sport is slowly starting to expand into new markets around the country, with the development of the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby team, and participation numbers have been increasing around the country; however it has not moved as rapidly as other sports in this area, and may soon be left behind. If rugby union is to continue to develop in Australia, and be able to appropriately handle threats from other sporting codes, particularly with the expansion of the AFL into the Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney, it needs to address the short fallings of the past and look to other sports and countries to be able to develop into a truly national sport.

References[edit]

  1. Horton, P., Rugby Union Football in Australian Society: an Unintended Consequence of Intended Actions, Sport in Society, 2009, 12(7), 967-985
  2. [http://eprints.jcu.edu.au/5555/1/Rugby_in_Aust._Sport_in_Society_09.pdf Horton, P., Rugby Union Football in Australian Society: an Unintended Consequence of Intended Actions, Sport in Society, 2009, 12(7), 967-985
  3. [http://eprints.jcu.edu.au/5555/1/Rugby_in_Aust._Sport_in_Society_09.pdf Horton, P., Rugby Union Football in Australian Society: an Unintended Consequence of Intended Actions, Sport in Society, 2009, 12(7), 967-985
  4. [http://eprints.jcu.edu.au/5555/1/Rugby_in_Aust._Sport_in_Society_09.pdf Horton, P., Rugby Union Football in Australian Society: an Unintended Consequence of Intended Actions, Sport in Society, 2009, 12(7), 967-985
  5. [http://eprints.jcu.edu.au/5555/1/Rugby_in_Aust._Sport_in_Society_09.pdf Horton, P., Rugby Union Football in Australian Society: an Unintended Consequence of Intended Actions, Sport in Society, 2009, 12(7), 967-985
  6. [http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14660971003780362 Obel, C. ‘Club Versus Country’ in Rugby Union: Tensions in an Exceptional New Zealand System, Soccer and Society, 2010, 11(4), 442-460
  7. [http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=JTQvAQAAIAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=the+complete+rugby+footballer+on+the+new+zealand+system&ots=Mz2TrIVwgz&sig=odbqensIfzjnYZ-bKb1a_m8uPDc#v=onepage&q&f=false Gallager, D., and W.J. Stead. The Complete Rugby Footballer on the New Zealand System, Christchurch: Kiwi Publishers, 1906/1998
  8. [http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14660971003780362 Obel, C. ‘Club Versus Country’ in Rugby Union: Tensions in an Exceptional New Zealand System, Soccer and Society, 2010, 11(4), 442-460
  9. [http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=JTQvAQAAIAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=the+complete+rugby+footballer+on+the+new+zealand+system&ots=Mz2TrIVwgz&sig=odbqensIfzjnYZ-bKb1a_m8uPDc#v=onepage&q&f=false Gallager, D., and W.J. Stead. The Complete Rugby Footballer on the New Zealand System, Christchurch: Kiwi Publishers, 1906/1998
  10. [http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14660971003780362 Obel, C. ‘Club Versus Country’ in Rugby Union: Tensions in an Exceptional New Zealand System, Soccer and Society, 2010, 11(4), 442-460
  11. [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1441352305700383 Turner, P., Shilbury, D. Determining the Professional Sport Broadcasting Landscape: An Australian Football Club Perspective, Sport Management Review, 2005, 8, 167-193
  12. [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1441352305700383 Turner, P., Shilbury, D. Determining the Professional Sport Broadcasting Landscape: An Australian Football Club Perspective, Sport Management Review, 2005, 8, 167-193
  13. [http://eprints.jcu.edu.au/5555/1/Rugby_in_Aust._Sport_in_Society_09.pdf Horton, P., Rugby Union Football in Australian Society: an Unintended Consequence of Intended Actions, Sport in Society, 2009, 12(7), 967-985
  14. [http://www.rugby.com.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=kE4KFqngC9w%3d&tabid=1684 Australian Rugby Union 2010, Annual Report 2010, Prepared by the Australian Rugby Union, ARU, Sydney.
  15. [http://www.rugby.com.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=kE4KFqngC9w%3d&tabid=1684 Australian Rugby Union 2010, Annual Report 2010, Prepared by the Australian Rugby Union, ARU, Sydney.