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Sport: Living in the Past

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Excuse me while I waffle on, but I have had a few thoughts.


Steve Mascod wrote in his latest blog that it seems that whatever was the dominant sport in an area when mass media started there remains the dominant sport now.  This was the start of his discussion on media, however, I think it reveals somethings else.  The sports that became dominant understood the dynamics of the day:

- There are lots of young men looking for looking for something to do with their weekend (a new phenomenon).

- They will be happy to chip in to make this happen.

- There are people who will watch the highest level sport bring played in their area, as they have nothing better to do.  However, they can barely afford anything.  Clearly though, playing is more fun.


This is why we have weekly fixture lists, lots of men have nothing else to do at the weekend.  This is clearly not true anymore, or clubs would not be wondering why they have sixty players and struggle to get thirteen on a pitch.


It is hard to squeeze subs out of players to fund the matches and many expect to get plenty back thank you very much.  This is because they are aware that there is a scarcity of them.


Also, people are not desperate to see any top level sport as there are many other distractions. 


A sport starting out should not try to have fixtures every week.  Most players do not want to play every week.  They say they do, but what they mean is that they want to have the option of a game every week.  Balls to that, have games every few weeks and make them commit.  When you have a large excess of commited players, then extend your fixture list.


However, players cannot be taken for granted.  Give them an occasion and expect them to pay barely anything.  Players are what all the sports are competing for.


The occasion is made by spectators.  Spectators have plenty of money and are an asset that you can attract.  Bring in music, top class food and drink and you will generate a following.  Make sure games are occasional though, people will not come every week.  Only play games as often as you can get a crowd and players will commit to playing in front of the crowd.


Sponsors will pay good money to sponsor to such a crowd.  That means minimal charge on the gate and minimal player subs.


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Here's a tale of our times.  A friend of mine is on the committee of a local RU club, (apologies to CKN)!  He got a phone call to ask if his son could play, as he was home from university.  The lad agreed and was been taken to the club but said he had to see a mate for a few minutes in a pub that was on the way.

It was about 2.00pm on a Saturday and my friend followed his son into the pub.


The pub was chokka with lads wearing football shirts!  There was a big football game on TV and all they want to do is talk about sport, not play it.


This seems to be a common problem for all sports. If you talk to anyone who's involved in any sport, Football, RL, cricket, RU, athletics etc. they all say the same thing.  Kid's are not going through to open-age teams in any numbers.


I think that one of the main causes of this is changing the licencing hours.  When I played, the pubs closed from 3.00pm to 5.30pm.  In effect, there was nothing better to do.


What to do?  I don't know if there is an answer.

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For lots of spectators be it football or rugby, they can only afford to attend home games. Association Football crowds peaked in 1948, but then there wasn't as many attractions to entice people's money. Television, hooliganism and other factors eventually drove fans away. I once played football twice-weekly during the late Sixties and early Seventies and loved every minute. Nowadays I watch junior football where you can find some teams short of players. Rugby league has had its ups and downs also over the years, especially in the Seventies. 

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