As the air gently cools, nature’s colours deepen and the sun relaxes to a slightly lazier trajectory it can only mean one thing……..
……we are easing our way into Autumn.
I am a committed and grateful worshipper of the sun and am already thinking about a cheeky long weekend somewhere warmer but one thing I do love about this period of the year is that rugby is back!
The Aviva Premiership already looks like it’s going to be a belter after a superb couple of weekend’s action and the world of rugby in general seems to be fresh and perky to match the weather.
The Aviva Premiership now boasts some of the biggest names in world rugby, with players like George North, Toby Faletau, Owen Farrell, Schalk Burger and JP Pietersen. With record attendances and TV money, the league is growing into one of the most exciting and marketable on the planet.
Twickenhan Stadium is just around the corner from where I live and I can tell you, the new East Stand redevelopment is pretty impressive and surprisingly massive!
It’s new state of the art hospitality facilities (bringing into the new East Stand all offsite hospitality places) will make Twickenham Stadium one of the premier rugby venues with a vast range of VIP experiences.
I personally know some hospitality colleagues who relied heavily on these offsite packages for their businesses so it remains to be seen what level this will effect them.
There’s also a new CEO at the RFU with former RFU financial officer and MD of The Rugby World Cup 2015, Steve Brown, taking the Twickenham helm.
Is a numbers man what’s needed?
Eurosport have just confirmed that they have expanded their Guinness Pro14 deal to show ‘live’ games to a massive 62 countries worldwide.
BT have also extended their sponsorship until 2021 with Scottish rugby.
There’s no doubt that BT do some great things for grass roots rugby as does all sponsorship money that’s pumped back to where it makes a difference.
Its investment has helped the rugby landscape in Scotland through investment in the Scottish Rugby Academy, The BT league and cup competitions, as well as supporting the Club Sustainability Fund to provide investment in capital projects at lower level clubs.
The world champions, New Zealand, tour the UK in November and The Rugby World Cup 2019 is sneaking up on us.
When there is an influx of extra finance it can have a massive effect on any entity be it a person, business or sporting framework and I hope (and tentatively believe) that rugby will stick to its values.
For me rugby represents all that is good and virtuous in life. It’s about seeking success and victory through courage and bravery but always with a humble and respectful foundation.
It’s no accident that large numbers of ex-professional rugby players go on to be very successful in life and business after their playing careers (by success I mean giving other people steady wages, providing services and products that the market needs and demands).
Maybe it’s out of lack of need but how may ex-footballers do we see going on after they’ve hung up their boots to do something engaging that adds value to society outside of the footballing arena?
In trying to better yourself you need to be open and willing to learn and I think we’ll see further changes which means the sport and business of rugby will grow which is only natural. I sometimes think however, that football lacks a moral balance to help it grow in the right direction.
As rugby players get paid more, certain clubs become more powerful, and rugby associations look to enter new markets, I hope that that everyone keeps an eye on what matters which for me is ;
Making sure that people reach their full potential in and out of rugby and that rugby itself remains an example goodness.
Long live the joy of playing and watching sport (for rugby AND football).
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