Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
What an exciting week huh?
The press conference for the upcoming Collegiate Sevens Championship and the news that it bore brought a wave of readers to my site that reached new heights. It was a legitimate sporting press conference that was miles apart from the other rugby events in America.
Personally, I would have loved to attend the press conference. I was invited, Columbus is well within my range, and I have a bunch of questions that would have been nice to present.
Unfortunately, rugby journalism doesn’t pay the bills.
Actually, it doesn’t pay anything.
So, while USA 7’s Executive and former Eagle Dan Lyle was rubbing elbows with NBC brass and the Mayor of Columbus, I was at my real job earning my paycheck.
While the press conference and fallout was exciting, it also showed me how far we have yet to go with rugby in America.
In the world of American rugby, the press conference was huge. A major network believing enough in rugby to put it live on National television… not one, but two days in a row. Then they pull out all the standard stops reserved for major sports and hold a press conference to officially launch the championship.
Not bad NBC… not bad at all.
Getting in on the ground floor is a risky, yet tantalizing approach. If the sport takes off with a big push from the Olympics, then NBC will be right there ready and waiting.
Sadly, in the world of American sports the press conference and news was a blip, albeit a bigger blip than normal.
Here in lies the problem and it is a microcosm of the struggles of American rugby in the greater sporting landscape. With only a few paid rugby journalists in America, coverage is pretty lean. But at the same time, the content is quite lean as well. It’s the chicken and egg scenario all over again.
Rugby needs media coverage, but there’s not much for them to offer media.
Take this past weekend for example. The Eagles held their first National team assembly of the year.
How much news has come out of camp?
Not one bit. Not even from the only dedicated American rugby news site, Rugby Magazine. If they can’t get news or photos or video, then how is the rest of the sports media world going to know?
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it really happen?
If rugby were a major sport, the camp would have been crawling with media and 50 different websites would report on what color sneakers Eddie O’Sullivan wore or if Kevin Swiryn used 3 or 4 pieces of toilet paper to wipe his butt.
All of this complete with video footage, reactions from the coaching staff, injury concerns, and the usual banter from a group of rugby analysts.
Instead, we’re left waiting for USA Rugby to send us a belated press release and feed us our opinion of the camp.
Yes, we still have a very long way to go.