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Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into rugby

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Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into rugby

Postby iul » Wed, 26 Oct 2016, 06:43


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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby antlat » Wed, 26 Oct 2016, 06:53

Fantastic news for World Rugby.

How great will it be to see a competitive China vs Japan rivalry in Rugby Union.!

Good luck to China and really hopes it works in developing their rugby skills.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby Canalina » Wed, 26 Oct 2016, 07:47

Good news, but one of my first feelings reading the article was that it's mortifying this equation many money=many players. You should have many players because the kids fall in love with the game, not because a rich enterpriser pumps his dollars in. But I know that rugby is a sport difficult to fall in love with, you need time before it happens; and financed school rugby programs will surely help this process
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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby Working Class Rugger » Wed, 26 Oct 2016, 08:04

Canalina wrote:Good news, but one of my first feelings reading the article was that it's mortifying this equation many money=many players. You should have many players because the kids fall in love with the game, not because a rich enterpriser pumps his dollars in. But I know that rugby is a sport difficult to fall in love with, you need time before it happens; and financed school rugby programs will surely help this process


Well, you have to be exposed to the game to fall in love with it. That's what they invest is all about. Exposing potentially millions of kids to the game. The goal is to get 1 million of them to become regular Rugby players.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby victorsra » Wed, 26 Oct 2016, 13:37

They haven't said if XVs or 7s will be the focus - or if both. The Alibaba talks about rugby being an Olympic sport and nothing is said about the RWC.
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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby victorsra » Wed, 26 Oct 2016, 19:10

Sorry, I misread

Establishment of first-ever professional men's and women's 15s leagues and national sevens programmes to drive forward China as a powerhouse on the international stage by creating dedicated high-performance pathways and support structures
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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby Sables4EVA » Thu, 27 Oct 2016, 07:25

Canalina wrote:Good news, but one of my first feelings reading the article was that it's mortifying this equation many money=many players. You should have many players because the kids fall in love with the game, not because a rich enterpriser pumps his dollars in. But I know that rugby is a sport difficult to fall in love with, you need time before it happens; and financed school rugby programs will surely help this process


This unfortunately is the problem with rugby in Zimbabwe and probably the rest of Africa (Outside of SA/Namibia). We have a huge culture of junior rugby, rugby is arguably the 2nd or 3rd most popular sport at government High School level and in the private schools it is the top sport. High schools get a lot of prestige for being the top rugby school and regularly draw in crowds 5-10 times bigger than the top club games (Club games attract 200-300 spectators, schools 2000 plus). This is why Zimbabwe can compete with SA Provinces up to U18 level and to some degree U19 level depending on where the previous years players end up after school.

Out of every 100 players at school level who go into the club system I would say no more than 5 continue. If Zim had a 10th of the Alibaba money that would increase to over 50 as senior rugby here has no backing and if there was something to play for it would add interest to the school leavers.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby thatrugbyguy » Thu, 27 Oct 2016, 09:44

That's a big investment, hope it pays off.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby paratus » Thu, 27 Oct 2016, 10:28

thatrugbyguy wrote:That's a big investment, hope it pays off.

But given the population of China it's a relatively minuscule investment - pissing in the wind....

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby ihateblazers » Thu, 27 Oct 2016, 10:40

If they strategically target population centres and utilise the centralised Chinese system it will go a long way

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby RugbyLiebe » Thu, 27 Oct 2016, 12:22

paratus wrote:
thatrugbyguy wrote:That's a big investment, hope it pays off.

But given the population of China it's a relatively minuscule investment - pissing in the wind....


It is a little bit more. 7,4 US-Cent für every inhabitant. So 4 Million USD in England or 5,92 Million USD in Germany. But then you have to calculate that the BIP is way less. Roughly 40.000 USD in the UK and Germany, while 10.000 USD in China per person. So those 4 Million USD in China are the equivalent of over 16 Million USD in the UK or 23,68 USD in Germany. That's a nice sum. I reckon the whole sport of rugby runs on maybe less than those 2,37 Million USD per year in Germany in comparision.
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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby ihateblazers » Thu, 27 Oct 2016, 12:25

That's actually pretty huge. Most T1 nations don't have that type of money to invest never mind T2.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby NedRugby » Fri, 28 Oct 2016, 09:41

It's good news alright, but I have to try and rein in my cynicism a bit. I recall China was going to be the Next Big Thing 15 or 20 years ago. The People's Army was going to take it up and there would be tens or even hundreds of thousands of new players. It didn't happen.

This is different, it is a commercial venture, but I am not going to hold my breath.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby paratus » Fri, 28 Oct 2016, 10:06

paratus wrote:
thatrugbyguy wrote:That's a big investment, hope it pays off.

But given the population of China it's a relatively minuscule investment - pissing in the wind....



OK so let's do the maths - let's say they spend $25 million over the next 4 years to recruit 30,000 coaches and 15,000 match officials - that's approx $500/coach/official, (or $125/year) that leaves another $25 million to spend on the 10,000 universities - $2,500/university over 10 years or $250/year. Then say they spend another $50 million on setting up the national 7s programme and professional men's and women's leagues with all the admin/marketing costs, I still say pissing in the wind. Wouldn't they be better off to channel this money in to fewer rugby centres? I think they're spreading their resources too thinly. If it was $100 million in 1,000 universities and less coaches/officials it might make more of a difference. Obviously I have no idea about how the budgets are split out or if they will get government support in addition - so all theoretical...

I should add that it's a positive start and good luck to them!

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby victorsra » Fri, 28 Oct 2016, 12:06

It is an odd venture, because it is indeed a commercial venture. Who will do everything is a company, and not the government or the local union, as far as I understood. In fact how the Chinese Rugby Union will deal is unclear to me. Will Alibaba act just as an sponsor of a development program, but it is the Union that will organize and plan? Or the Union is there just to stamp Alibaba's decisions?

And as it was pointed out already, China is huge and rugby is near zero there. They say they are going to invest in 20 provinces. Wouldn't it be more effective to concentrate in one region (that obviously has the size of a big country) and make rugby part of local identity/pride? I always fear iniciatves that treat rugby as just a commercial thing, because no one in the world until now showed us that a country can be a rugby power without a strong local rugby culture. At least a niche culture.
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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby sk 88 » Fri, 28 Oct 2016, 16:41

NedRugby wrote:It's good news alright, but I have to try and rein in my cynicism a bit. I recall China was going to be the Next Big Thing 15 or 20 years ago. The People's Army was going to take it up and there would be tens or even hundreds of thousands of new players. It didn't happen.

This is different, it is a commercial venture, but I am not going to hold my breath.



I remember this about the army as well.

Tigers did some links with China ten years ago too, I'll be skeptical but optimistic on these developments.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby jservuk » Sun, 30 Oct 2016, 13:51

If anyone can do it this way, the Chinese can. It will be very interesting to see how this develops.

Clearly someone at AliBaba has a love for Rugby.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby NaBUru38 » Sun, 30 Oct 2016, 22:21

Working Class Rugger wrote: Well, you have to be exposed to the game to fall in love with it.

That's not how Chinese physical education works :(

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby tryman » Tue, 08 Nov 2016, 22:04

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37836744

More information on the China rugby plans.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby thatrugbyguy » Tue, 08 Nov 2016, 22:22

Interesting development. It looks like this is a full on partnership with World Rugby. Perhaps this is the platform for game moving forward, getting investors to help increase the profile and build up the player base.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby NaBUru38 » Sat, 12 Nov 2016, 19:14

I'm fine with privatized leagues, like English Premiership and French Top 14, as long as they collaborate with unions (those two don't).

This Chinese project is privatizing the whole sport. It's not the Chinese union finding a sponsor, but a corporation taking over.

I'm very afraid. It could be a terrible example for other sports.

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby RugbyLiebe » Sat, 12 Nov 2016, 21:36

NaBUru38 wrote:I'm fine with privatized leagues, like English Premiership and French Top 14, as long as they collaborate with unions (those two don't).

This Chinese project is privatizing the whole sport. It's not the Chinese union finding a sponsor, but a corporation taking over.

I'm very afraid. It could be a terrible example for other sports.


Was there actually a union worth its name before? Some expats organizing some jolly good time are nice but not a real union. (the second part is just assumption as I don't know enough about the state of rugby in china).
How to grow rugby worldwide?
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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby 4N » Tue, 15 Nov 2016, 22:45

Gosper making noises that China will bid for future RWC. Also sounds like Shanghai could get WSS leg.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/ar ... d=11748894

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby dwpeate » Wed, 16 Nov 2016, 09:54

Just got back from Shanghai this weekend. Very cool place. Be nice to see some rugby there, the only posts I saw while I was there were in the grounds of an international/expat school

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Re: Alibaba’s sports division to pump US$100 million into ru

Postby jservuk » Sat, 08 Jul 2017, 11:39

This was a big news story when it broke.

Have there been any visible signs of the investment in China?

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