Global Survey Identifies Enormous Support For An International Hybrid Rugby CompetitionBy Twenty3 Sport Entertainment, PRNE
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
MELBOURNE, Australia, September 1, 2011 -
A significant global survey conducted across the key rugby union and rugby league markets of Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland and France indicate high levels of support for the establishment of an International Hybrid Rugby competition.
The survey, conducted by Melbourne-based consultancy Twenty3 Sport + Entertainment, was undertaken to understand consumer interest in a competition that sees the world’s best players, from both rugby union and rugby league, pitted against one another.
It appears code-crossers, such as Wendall Sailor, Mat Rogers, and Sonny Bill Williams, have whetted the appetite for the intriguing possibility of a hybrid game of rugby.
Commenting on the report, Duncan MacWhirter, Twenty3’s Research & Insights Director, said “Results of the survey indicate there is significant support for an International Hybrid Rugby competition, with an overwhelming 98% of fans from both union and league voting in favour of the concept.”
- 98% of fans from both codes surveyed, union and league, have interest in an international competition where the best rugby union and league players from each country combine to form a national team.
- Hybrid Rugby would work best as a national competition rather than being club or franchise based, with 39% of union and league fans believing it should be held annually, and 54% believing it should take place every few years.
- Significantly for both codes, interest is highest among under 25’s, with 77% of 15-18 year olds, and 72% of 18-24 year olds having interest in the concept, which would be critical to underpinning the launch of any such initiative.
- 65% of both union and league fans believe the two codes will remain separate for the foreseeable future. However, 20% would like to see the two codes merged on a permanent basis, with 23% believing that neither code will reach their full potential while the two codes remain separate.
- There is some concern about the future of both codes. While most fans want the codes to remain separate and the rules remain uncompromised, a high proportion of fans (38% of rugby league fans and 31% of rugby union fans) see problems with the grass roots competitions and with the financial future of both codes if changes are not made to the current structures.
- In each of the markets surveyed, there were clear favorites identified to captain their countries Hybrid Rugby team, with Darren Lockyer in Australia, Brian O’Driscoll in Ireland, Jonny Wilkinson in the UK, Richie McCaw in NZ and Sebastien Chabal in France the preferred options.
“It appears that both rugby union and league fans are very pragmatic when it comes to the future of their respective sports,” said Mr. MacWhirter.
“Although obviously they would like to see their codes continue in their purest form, there’s a clear pessimism out there concerning the long-term viability as separate sports if change isn’t made.”
It is important to note that Twenty3 Sport + Entertainment is not advocating the abolition of either code as a stand-alone sport. Mr. MacWhirter pointed out that “the research was conducted to understand if people are satisfied with the current state of their respective code, and to further explore the sustainability of a Hybrid Rugby competition if run in addition to the two existing codes.”
Significantly, interest in a Hybrid Rugby competition was highest among the under 25 age group, with 77% of 15-18 year olds, and 72% of 18-24 year olds having interest in the concept. “This concept has clear support from the youth market. This is particularly important as it provides anyone that might be considering launching a Hybrid Rugby competition, a very clear understanding of the potential support for such an initiative moving forward,” commented Mr. MacWhirter.
Significant U.K. and Irish findings:
- In the U.K., 52% of Rugby Union and 53% of Rugby League fans are very interested in a Hybrid Rugby competition.
- Jonny Wilkinson and Mike Tindall are the two most mentioned players in the survey thought best to captain the U.K.’s Hybrid Rugby Team.
- Over half (67%) of those surveyed in the U.K. are interested in a Hybrid Rugby competition.
- Almost a fifth (17%) of those surveyed from the U.K. would like to see the two codes merge.
- Over a third (39%) of those surveyed in the U.K. believe it’s going to be very difficult for Rugby League grass roots teams and competitions to survive financially in the future under the current structure.
- Almost a third (31%) of those surveyed in the U.K. believe it’s going to be very difficult for Rugby Union grass roots teams and competitions to survive financially in the future under the current structure.
- Only 32% of people in the U.K. believe Rugby League will survive financially if change isn’t made, and whilst more people have faith in Union, still only 35% believe that code can survive without change.
- 15 players per Hybrid Rugby team is the most preferred option in the U.K.
- 76% of people surveyed from Ireland have interest in a Hybrid Rugby competition. Over a quarter are very interested and almost half have some interest.
- Over a fifth (22%) of those surveyed from Ireland would like to see the two codes merge.
- Almost a half (42%) of those surveyed in Ireland believe it’s going to be very difficult for Rugby League grass roots teams and competitions to survive financially in the future under the current structure.
- Almost a third (31%) of those surveyed in Ireland believe it’s going to be very difficult for Rugby Union grass roots teams and competitions to survive financially in the future under the current structure.
- Only 35% of people in Ireland believe Rugby League will survive financially if change isn’t made, while even less (33%) believe in Rugby Union’s survival chances.
- 15 players per Hybrid Rugby team is the most preferred option in Ireland.
About the survey
The online survey, conducted by Melbourne-based consultancy Twenty3 Sport + Entertainment in July, sampled 1,481 people across five markets (Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland and France) consisting of an equal mix of passionate rugby union and rugby league fans, and sports fans who didn’t follow either code passionately.
About Twenty3 Sport + Entertainment
Twenty3 Sport + Entertainment is a strategic consultancy specialising in the business of sport and entertainment. Headquartered in Melbourne and independently owned, Twenty3 partners with clients across various industries to identify and maximise opportunities, and overcome business-critical challenges.
Research & Insights Director
Twenty3 Sport + Entertainment
Tags: australia, Melbourne, September 1, Twenty3 Sport + Entertainment