Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
by Ted Hardy
An email distributed today to subscribers of Rugby Magazine outlined the end of an era for the only rugby publication in America. The longstanding Rugby Magazine will cease to exist in print form at the end of August. At a time when rugby participation is reaching all-time highs in America, those same advances aren’t being seen in the print subscription realm. To that end, the late Summer issue of Rugby Magazine will be the final print edition as all content moves to digital delivery. Current print subscribers of the magazinewill be given access to RugbyMag.com’s newly established Premier Content section.
Rugby Magazine took bold steps in recent years to improve the quality and format in which the print edition was delivered. While the new steps were relatively well received, there remained a segment of the rugby community that longed for the old days of Ed Hagerty’s Rugby Magazine and it’s more grassroots approach to coverage of the game. The new format brought color and flair to the pages of the magazine, but failed to break new frontiers in terms of readership.
The revamped magazine relied heavily on subscriptions as it struggled to find it’s way onto magazine racks in retail outlets. Truth be told, the move to eliminate the print edition and focus on digital media may just be a sign of the times and not serve as a dark cloud over the entire production. Newpapers and magazines across the globe are struggling to keep up with the “have it now” generation of readers that can access news seconds after it happens. However, it is still a disappointing turn for rugby in America.
It is sad to see the magazine go, but we should also not be too surprised. Having been a subscriber for years, I did not renew my subscription the last time around.
I’m sure I was not alone in that decision.
I prefer to remember the good times and harken back to when I first subscribed to the magazine. I used to get so excited to see it in my mailbox and reading Hagerty’s editorials was one of the major reasons I started writing about rugby. Rugby Magazine is also where I was first introduced to the musings of Buzz McClain. While Buzz continued to write for the magazine after the format change, some of his best stuff came before the switch.
As I write this, a box sits on the floor not 10 feet from me. It is filled with all of my old Rugby Magazines. I guess they are collectors items now.
Here’s to a good run and best of luck in the future to the staff at RugbyMag.com.