Women’s rugby deserves better opportunities, including funding and coverage. Unfortunately, we’re not ready to be a serious part of that solution.
The global women’s game is developing at a time when rugby is building in the USA. While the men’s game has a group of traditional powers, the women’s game is just entering it’s professional phase. If America, or any non-traditional rugby country, wants to enter the world stage, the women’s game offers significantly more opportunity.
With the women’s Six Nations starting this week, that’s more apparent than ever. The World Cup this fall in New Zealand with be an every bigger event. However, our coverage will be saver for the later.
The reasoning is both a symptom and a cause. Simply put, we have neither the staff to supply quality content or the demand for that content. The first is the nature of a start up. The later is an issue with the tournament itself. With games only being available via FloRugby, few Americans will put down the cash to watch. We covered the men’s competition (at least a bit) because content was available via cable and low cost streaming. With that comes more interest in the game and shoulder content.
That’s not to say the women’s Six Nations shouldn’t be covered. Shoulder content breeds engagement. Engagement increases ratings. Better ratings means that games can be streamed on more affordable services without taking massive loses. Growing the game involves leg work upfront. It’s a long term investment.
On that end, if you’re so inclined, tune in. There’s some spectacular athletes on display. And if you want that type of content available through platforms such as this, there are two things you can do.
- Engage directly. Platforms with limited time and resources have to go with what they know will receive traffic. That limited ad revenue is what keeps us going. Just like these competitions, most of us see the current environmental as early investment. If there’s a certain type of content you want, be direct and let people know.
- Engage with available content. I recognize how tone deaf it is to say ‘follow the men and we’ll talk about women later.’ However, that’s sadly the current environment. My goal is to bring in a dedicated women’s rugby writer over the coming years. The only way to do that is by generating revenue via what sells now. Find those willing to build out their coverage and follow them. Engage with their content. Share something if you enjoy it. It’s a little way to push us along the path to giving both men and women the top tier coverage they deserve.