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The future of Italian Rugby

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 00:05

I think Italy and Romania could work together. Withdraw from the Pro 14. Set up a Super 10 competition with 6 Italian clubs and 4 Romanian clubs.
Benetton Treviso, Calvisano, Petrarca, Viadana, Rovigo Delta, Valorugby Emilia.
Baia Mare, Timisoara Saracens, Steaua Bucuresti, Dinamo Bucuresti.
This would cut down on travel and allow these clubs to develop as top level professional clubs. Italy could still enter teams into the European Cup competitions.
I don't think the current situation is working for either country.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Working Class Rugger » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 00:19

Chester-Donnelly wrote:I think Italy and Romania could work together. Withdraw from the Pro 14. Set up a Super 10 competition with 6 Italian clubs and 4 Romanian clubs.
Benetton Treviso, Calvisano, Petrarca, Viadana, Rovigo Delta, Valorugby Emilia.
Baia Mare, Timisoara Saracens, Steaua Bucuresti, Dinamo Bucuresti.
This would cut down on travel and allow these clubs to develop as top level professional clubs. Italy could still enter teams into the European Cup competitions.
I don't think the current situation is working for either country.


Actually, I think they should look at something similar to the Super 6 in Scotland. Look to open bids for ideally regionally based teams but not excluding compelling clubs bids that have to meet certain requirements including facilities, sponsorship etc. Establish a salary cap. And look to build from there.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby iul » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 00:40

Italy is a big wealtgy country. Why would they need clubs from Romabia, or regional franchises or anything like that? They just need to have a proper club system, like the French one and for the clubs to start growing themselves.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 01:55

iul wrote:Italy is a big wealtgy country. Why would they need clubs from Romabia, or regional franchises or anything like that? They just need to have a proper club system, like the French one and for the clubs to start growing themselves.


I believe the Pro 14 is preventing Italy's club game from growing. Italy is a big wealthy country and should have its own professional league, but Italy doesn't have 12 professional rugby clubs. And to go from 2 pro teams to 12 would spread the talent too thinly too quickly. The ultimate aim should be to have its own professional league, but in the medium term a combined Italy-Romania league would allow the top clubs and players from both countries to play at a high level.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Canalina » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 08:13

Chester-Donnelly wrote:I think Italy and Romania could work together. Withdraw from the Pro 14. Set up a Super 10 competition with 6 Italian clubs and 4 Romanian clubs.
Benetton Treviso, Calvisano, Petrarca, Viadana, Rovigo Delta, Valorugby Emilia.
Baia Mare, Timisoara Saracens, Steaua Bucuresti, Dinamo Bucuresti.
This would cut down on travel and allow these clubs to develop as top level professional clubs. Italy could still enter teams into the European Cup competitions.
I don't think the current situation is working for either country.

It would be a complete flop, believe me.
I can't demonstrate it to you but as far as I know the italian fans, they would be less interested by an italian-romanian championship less than by an all italian championship; and the costs of course would be bigger, because of voyages and hotels.
Just remember the recent Continental Shield: how many spectators were there in Italy, how many in Romania? Very few hundreds I'd say

iul wrote:Italy is a big wealtgy country. Why would they need clubs from Romabia, or regional franchises or anything like that? They just need to have a proper club system, like the French one and for the clubs to start growing themselves.

"and for the clubs to start growing themselves"
How?
Italy had for decades a proper club system without franchises. If we went for franchises it's right because the system seemed not working and the gap with the best european nations stagnating or worsening. Was the franchises' one a right move? I tend to answer "yes" but it's hard to say how the things would have gone without that decision. Fact is that the spectators on the national top championship seem going down a bit year by year (last weekend: 350 spectators in Colorno, 250 in San Donà, 130 in Rome... quite better instead in the other three games) and it's hard to find sponsors with such numbers; the public subventions, quite generous in the past, are much harder to obtain now that we finally started to understand that the State can't just give money to everyone asking.
So the way to grow, for the clubs, is very difficult.
If it was by me, I would always start from the base, trying to attract more kids possible. Those kids, their relatives and their friends will be the managers, spectators and maybe sponsors in the future. But I understand that it's maybe a too simple and naive solution. Also kids' activity needs money and the families can't pay it all; so you need sponsors also for this, and sponsors come just (if they come) with a good senior team

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby iul » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 09:44

Canalina wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:I think Italy and Romania could work together. Withdraw from the Pro 14. Set up a Super 10 competition with 6 Italian clubs and 4 Romanian clubs.
Benetton Treviso, Calvisano, Petrarca, Viadana, Rovigo Delta, Valorugby Emilia.
Baia Mare, Timisoara Saracens, Steaua Bucuresti, Dinamo Bucuresti.
This would cut down on travel and allow these clubs to develop as top level professional clubs. Italy could still enter teams into the European Cup competitions.
I don't think the current situation is working for either country.

It would be a complete flop, believe me.
I can't demonstrate it to you but as far as I know the italian fans, they would be less interested by an italian-romanian championship less than by an all italian championship; and the costs of course would be bigger, because of voyages and hotels.
Just remember the recent Continental Shield: how many spectators were there in Italy, how many in Romania? Very few hundreds I'd say

iul wrote:Italy is a big wealtgy country. Why would they need clubs from Romabia, or regional franchises or anything like that? They just need to have a proper club system, like the French one and for the clubs to start growing themselves.

"and for the clubs to start growing themselves"
How?
Italy had for decades a proper club system without franchises. If we went for franchises it's right because the system seemed not working and the gap with the best european nations stagnating or worsening. Was the franchises' one a right move? I tend to answer "yes" but it's hard to say how the things would have gone without that decision. Fact is that the spectators on the national top championship seem going down a bit year by year (last weekend: 350 spectators in Colorno, 250 in San Donà, 130 in Rome... quite better instead in the other three games) and it's hard to find sponsors with such numbers; the public subventions, quite generous in the past, are much harder to obtain now that we finally started to understand that the State can't just give money to everyone asking.
So the way to grow, for the clubs, is very difficult.
If it was by me, I would always start from the base, trying to attract more kids possible. Those kids, their relatives and their friends will be the managers, spectators and maybe sponsors in the future. But I understand that it's maybe a too simple and naive solution. Also kids' activity needs money and the families can't pay it all; so you need sponsors also for this, and sponsors come just (if they come) with a good senior team

Grow their infrastructure by finding investors/sponsors so that they can generate revenues from that, create a nicer, more attractive matchday experience, market the games better to attract bigger audiences, etc...

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Canalina » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 10:07

I will suggest it to the clubs, pretty sure they never thought it

I was mumbling to suggest them an other idea I've had right in these days: if they want to win more matches, they should do more tries, and concede less

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby iul » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 10:15

Well they're not doing it are they?

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Canalina » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 10:35

They are trying. I know managers that every summer must start a big tour between all the companies of the province, to beg a even little sponsorship.
There's a little difference between our thousands ideas in a forum and the realty, unfortunately

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby dans » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 15:37

Chester-Donnelly wrote:
iul wrote:Italy is a big wealtgy country. Why would they need clubs from Romabia, or regional franchises or anything like that? They just need to have a proper club system, like the French one and for the clubs to start growing themselves.


I believe the Pro 14 is preventing Italy's club game from growing. Italy is a big wealthy country and should have its own professional league, but Italy doesn't have 12 professional rugby clubs. And to go from 2 pro teams to 12 would spread the talent too thinly too quickly. The ultimate aim should be to have its own professional league, but in the medium term a combined Italy-Romania league would allow the top clubs and players from both countries to play at a high level.


I think too that a combined Italian/Romanian league would be beneficial (maybe with a additional of a couple of German teams)...but there are 2 sides of such development.
Italy have maybe 2 teams that could keep their own against some of the French and British teams and have the finances to make things add up.
For now, it is unlikely that another 1-2 teams from the internal italian Top12 will get at that level...maybe in 5-6 years.
To develop the base maybe such a scenario is not that bad... a combined italo - romanian league will have the top 5-6 teams from Italian first national competition that are easily at simillar level with the Romanian 3 top teams Baia Mare, Timisoara and Steaua...Then there are the second string of Romanian teams Dinamo, Cluj & Buzau who are growing but maybe too slow for now to be joining in. Hence Heidelberg and Frankfurt 1880 would be worthy additions.
There are well over 1.5 million romanians leaving in Italy (some 6-700k in Germany) and could be targeted (from the romanian side) if such an arrangement take place...is true that a lot of the new generations have left rugby and fotbal would be their first choice but i'm sure with right approach/actions they can be brought back.
The issue becomes, if the best 3-4 Romanian teams are to join such a league with another top 6-7 Italian and let's say the 2 German teams, it would mean the local competitions will die and inside country development will suffer unless plans are made. It would mean complete re-organisation of the internal leagues...and second divisions to merge, with whatever is left to create a single championship (valid for all Italy, Romania and Germany)...Both Timisoara and Baia Mare have good flight connections to both Italy and Germany (~less than 2h flights / 2.5h from Bucharest but more choices) ....possible, i would prefer it (instead if the Continental League competition talked about).. but i cannot see it.
Last edited by dans on Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 19:12, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Higgik » Wed, 01 Jan 2020, 19:09

Working Class Rugger wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:I think Italy and Romania could work together. Withdraw from the Pro 14. Set up a Super 10 competition with 6 Italian clubs and 4 Romanian clubs.
Benetton Treviso, Calvisano, Petrarca, Viadana, Rovigo Delta, Valorugby Emilia.
Baia Mare, Timisoara Saracens, Steaua Bucuresti, Dinamo Bucuresti.
This would cut down on travel and allow these clubs to develop as top level professional clubs. Italy could still enter teams into the European Cup competitions.
I don't think the current situation is working for either country.


Actually, I think they should look at something similar to the Super 6 in Scotland. Look to open bids for ideally regionally based teams but not excluding compelling clubs bids that have to meet certain requirements including facilities, sponsorship etc. Establish a salary cap. And look to build from there.

The Super 6 idea would work as an intermediate level.
I also think that the current Pro14 teams should move to Top14 or D2, less travel and many more sponsorship opportunities.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby ihateblazers » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 01:46

Higgik wrote:
Working Class Rugger wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:I think Italy and Romania could work together. Withdraw from the Pro 14. Set up a Super 10 competition with 6 Italian clubs and 4 Romanian clubs.
Benetton Treviso, Calvisano, Petrarca, Viadana, Rovigo Delta, Valorugby Emilia.
Baia Mare, Timisoara Saracens, Steaua Bucuresti, Dinamo Bucuresti.
This would cut down on travel and allow these clubs to develop as top level professional clubs. Italy could still enter teams into the European Cup competitions.
I don't think the current situation is working for either country.


Actually, I think they should look at something similar to the Super 6 in Scotland. Look to open bids for ideally regionally based teams but not excluding compelling clubs bids that have to meet certain requirements including facilities, sponsorship etc. Establish a salary cap. And look to build from there.

The Super 6 idea would work as an intermediate level.
I also think that the current Pro14 teams should move to Top14 or D2, less travel and many more sponsorship opportunities.


The Top 14 or Pro D2 don't need them so it is unlikely to ever happen i'm afraid. However, a cup competition with the Pro D2, Spanish Heineken League and Italian Top 12 clubs and maybe other T2 European's in the future could be doable. France has always been at the forefront of European expansion so it is a shame that they haven't proposed anything at club level. I think the LNR would be more effective at garnering sponsorship and television deals for such a comp than the EPCR was able to do.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby ihateblazers » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 08:00

Tobar wrote:
Edinburra wrote:I have been thinking about this comment a lot and it is an eye opener for me as it is not a pathway I had considered for the evolution of rugby. The comments about the Pro14 are spot on and is one of the most unattractive features of that league.
It is a very valid point that where teams are maturing as rugby nations that they explore professionalism in a cross border competition. Once they have built the infrastructure , it is an interesting concept that they would withdraw from a perceived larger competition and evolve their own domestic league for the improvement of their own game.
It would be interesting to see if this would be undertaken by other nations where the clubs are financed the unions. Lets say hypothetically , that Edinburgh and Glasgow were disbanded , the impact of putting the same level of investment into the Super 6 league would be astonishing. Imagine if the £10-12 million (rumoured not fact figures) used to finance those teams were spread across those clubs and they all developed a brand. Having 6 professional teams , would be a game changer for countries like Scotland and keeping on track for this thread , Italy.


Italy is using the top down approach for the sport which has worked in some ways and failed in others. The national team is performing better than before (but the rest of 6N is getting even better than they are) but rugby is still a niche sport in the country. The idea seems to be that the 60 or so players in Pro14 will make the national team better -> more people will support them -> the Union has more money to invest in grassroots. At least that’s how I interpret it from the outside.

The issue with this is that it doesn’t seem to mesh with Italian sports culture which is driven by intercity club rivalries. Even Canalina above says that he isn’t a big follower of Pro14 outside of Italy which sort of blows a hole into the idea that Italians will care about watching stars from other countries playing here.

Italian rugby needs some serious grassroots investment. There need to be a lot more clubs across the country and far more kids playing the sport. Determining the problem is a lot easier than determining the solution though.


They are part of the ring fenced T1 money making international calendar so they have guaranteed revenue. The funding is there to invest in the grassroots and development pathways if they weren't spending so much on Zebre and Treviso.

They should not rely on international success to grow the game as it is unrealistic and if just playing catch up and being competitive is the goal then what is the point. They should strive to be the best in the world and that wont come from having 2 teams in the Pro 14.

Canalina wrote:They are trying. I know managers that every summer must start a big tour between all the companies of the province, to beg a even little sponsorship.
There's a little difference between our thousands ideas in a forum and the realty, unfortunately


It is understandable that the Top 12 is struggling as it is not the premier competition anymore. I think it's reasonable to think that crowds and sponsors would return and grow if it was viewed as such. I don't know if the Top 12 or a regional franchised league is the answer but the Pro 14 doesn't give Italy what it needs. The Top 10 wasn't in such a bad place when they joined the Pro 12 was it? I thought the main thing was the push by Nick Mallet to improve his pool of players.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Higgik » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 08:07

ihateblazers wrote:
Higgik wrote:
Working Class Rugger wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:I think Italy and Romania could work together. Withdraw from the Pro 14. Set up a Super 10 competition with 6 Italian clubs and 4 Romanian clubs.
Benetton Treviso, Calvisano, Petrarca, Viadana, Rovigo Delta, Valorugby Emilia.
Baia Mare, Timisoara Saracens, Steaua Bucuresti, Dinamo Bucuresti.
This would cut down on travel and allow these clubs to develop as top level professional clubs. Italy could still enter teams into the European Cup competitions.
I don't think the current situation is working for either country.


Actually, I think they should look at something similar to the Super 6 in Scotland. Look to open bids for ideally regionally based teams but not excluding compelling clubs bids that have to meet certain requirements including facilities, sponsorship etc. Establish a salary cap. And look to build from there.

The Super 6 idea would work as an intermediate level.
I also think that the current Pro14 teams should move to Top14 or D2, less travel and many more sponsorship opportunities.


The Top 14 or Pro D2 don't need them so it is unlikely to ever happen i'm afraid. However, a cup competition with the Pro D2, Spanish Heineken League and Italian Top 12 clubs and maybe other T2 European's in the future could be doable. France has always been at the forefront of European expansion so it is a shame that they haven't proposed anything at club level. I think the LNR would be more effective at garnering sponsorship and television deals for such a comp than the EPCR was able to do.

I think that they might like them as they would strengthen D2 and maybe even push into Top14. As you said the French are very open to enhancing the league finances. The Super 6 proposal could be like Farm teams for the pro teams focusing on development of players. They could have their own cross border comp with Spanish league.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 08:13

ihateblazers wrote:
Tobar wrote:
Edinburra wrote:I have been thinking about this comment a lot and it is an eye opener for me as it is not a pathway I had considered for the evolution of rugby. The comments about the Pro14 are spot on and is one of the most unattractive features of that league.
It is a very valid point that where teams are maturing as rugby nations that they explore professionalism in a cross border competition. Once they have built the infrastructure , it is an interesting concept that they would withdraw from a perceived larger competition and evolve their own domestic league for the improvement of their own game.
It would be interesting to see if this would be undertaken by other nations where the clubs are financed the unions. Lets say hypothetically , that Edinburgh and Glasgow were disbanded , the impact of putting the same level of investment into the Super 6 league would be astonishing. Imagine if the £10-12 million (rumoured not fact figures) used to finance those teams were spread across those clubs and they all developed a brand. Having 6 professional teams , would be a game changer for countries like Scotland and keeping on track for this thread , Italy.


Italy is using the top down approach for the sport which has worked in some ways and failed in others. The national team is performing better than before (but the rest of 6N is getting even better than they are) but rugby is still a niche sport in the country. The idea seems to be that the 60 or so players in Pro14 will make the national team better -> more people will support them -> the Union has more money to invest in grassroots. At least that’s how I interpret it from the outside.

The issue with this is that it doesn’t seem to mesh with Italian sports culture which is driven by intercity club rivalries. Even Canalina above says that he isn’t a big follower of Pro14 outside of Italy which sort of blows a hole into the idea that Italians will care about watching stars from other countries playing here.

Italian rugby needs some serious grassroots investment. There need to be a lot more clubs across the country and far more kids playing the sport. Determining the problem is a lot easier than determining the solution though.


They are part of the ring fenced T1 money making international calendar so they have guaranteed revenue. The funding is there to invest in the grassroots and development pathways if they weren't spending so much on Zebre and Treviso.

They should not rely on international success to grow the game as it is unrealistic and if just playing catch up and being competitive is the goal then what is the point. They should strive to be the best in the world and that wont come from having 2 teams in the Pro 14.

Canalina wrote:They are trying. I know managers that every summer must start a big tour between all the companies of the province, to beg a even little sponsorship.
There's a little difference between our thousands ideas in a forum and the realty, unfortunately


It is understandable that the Top 12 is struggling as it is not the premier competition anymore. I think it's reasonable to think that crowds and sponsors would return and grow if it was viewed as such. I don't know if the Top 12 or a regional franchised league is the answer but the Pro 14 doesn't give Italy what it needs. The Top 10 wasn't in such a bad place when they joined the Pro 12 was it? I thought the main thing was the push by Nick Mallet to improve his pool of players.


I agree. Same as how the Celtic League / Pro 14 has diminished the Welsh Premiership. The difference being that Wales has been successful in the professional era, possibly at the expense of the Welsh Premiership, whereas Italy hasn't. I think their best option is a League with a small number of teams, maybe 6, with a view to expanding in the future, and an Italian-Romanian competition with a Currie Cup type format, and continue to enter teams into the European Cups.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Canalina » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 09:04

The crowds in the top national championships before the creation of the franchises were just a bit better. It's hard to define it precisely because spectators numbers in the official sheets are often inflated, but probably if before there were around 1000 spectators per match (officially, so perhaps less in the realty) now there are just 700 spectators per match (officially). But number were slowly slipping down also before the franchises, so all in all I think that Benetton and Zebre have cut just a little the popularity of the national championship

About the number of teams, in the past seasons we discussed a lot this argument and everyone has his own purpose: 6 teams? 7? 8? 10? 12? 16? 20? Everyone of this purposes has been advanced.
And everyone has its pro and contra. Few teams=higher game and club quality but minor diffusion. Many teams=minor quality but larger diffusion. The right solution? I don't know, but personally I prefer current Top12 to the former Top10.

And, please, believe me: basically no one in Italy would be interested in an italian-romanian championship. It would have probably the 60% of the (already low) interest of the current championship

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Raven » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 10:16

I read a lot of crazy ideas here so why not add another weird one...

Here´s my 2 cents: Pro14 should ditch the South African sides (yes, I know romour has it that they bring some extra money due to TV rights, but let me finish first) and have 1 extra Scottish team (Borders or North of Scotland?) and a Rome based Italian franchise. Now why on earth would the FIR want another franchise if they can´t bring more people into stadiums and Rome based rugby clubs aren´t succesful you may be asking? Well, 1st because although rugby is more popular in the North of Italy, it cannot escape the fact that Rome is after al the capital city and where there´s more density of people, a great -tour- destination with many connecting flights; 2nd, local rivalry. Both Scotland and Italy have only 2 sides and almost certainly bring more people to the clash between them than most or all of the other teams they play against in the league, so the need a younger brother to elbow its way in, also showcase the sport elite at a club level in another area of the country. Hell, if it was me I´d even explore the possibility of sending Zebre to the very south of Italy and have the contry split in 3 regions as we know the North v South in Italy is pretty strong, but I don´t know how good would that be considering there isn´t a big rugby community to start with, a heck of a challenge it would be to persuade people to a sport they don´t know about just to play a northern rival.

But I am not kidding myself, this won´t happen. Just as I am almost 99% sure that an Italian - Romanian League wouldn´t work, and adding German sides -for now- is completely crazy, nor would it help Italian Rugby at all.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 11:07

Everyone is saying a Romanian-Italian competition won't work and won't be interesting, but currently Romania has 7 professional teams (2 of which are really not good). They play each other in the league, then in the cup, then in another cup. How is that interesting? So to make it more interesting they have joined the Continental League and will have to fly to Siberia! There are similar standard teams in Italy which is much much closer.

In Romania rugby is less popular than football (obviously), basketball, volleyball, handball and ice hockey. There has to be something more than playing the same 6 teams 6 times every year to make it more appealing.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby brules » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 11:45

Canalina wrote:The crowds in the top national championships before the creation of the franchises were just a bit better. It's hard to define it precisely because spectators numbers in the official sheets are often inflated, but probably if before there were around 1000 spectators per match (officially, so perhaps less in the realty) now there are just 700 spectators per match (officially). But number were slowly slipping down also before the franchises, so all in all I think that Benetton and Zebre have cut just a little the popularity of the national championship

I do not think that your analysis is correct. You are comparing 1000 spectators per game with Benetton against 700 without Benetton. If you take out the Benetton's fans from the 1000 per match probably you get to the current 700.
Numbers are small so they are easily biased. For example, if you replace Verona with Colorno it is likely that the overall count drops. Add the fact that Petrarca is less competitive now, has an impact too on their attendance.


Overall I believe that people here are underestimating Benetton Treviso. Treviso is on another planet compared to the best Top12 clubs (the best not all), in terms of budget, infrastructure and staff. 10 years ago the Celtic League was their only option. I know that Treviso's fan are missing the clashes with Padova and Rovigo, but for the club that was not enough.
So, Treviso will never accept a domestic league, Benetton would rather stop funding the club. FIR would save 4Meuro but would lose Benetton's investment (another 4M) and (more important) know-how.

Finally, let's assume that FIR saves overall 12 Millions euro stopping the Pro14 project:
- 12 M distributed to 6 franchises is 2 M each: not enough (by far) for any international pro rugby
- You can invest the money in grassroot rugby, but the return (if any) would be in 10 years and, at the current peace, in 10 years the pro rugby of the other top unions will be miles and miles away.

Overall, I believe that the current status is the best, although it has to be optimized. For example finding a club that replaces Zebre, so that FIR can save some money to be invested in infrastructures.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby vino_93 » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 12:15

Higgik wrote:
ihateblazers wrote:
Higgik wrote:
Working Class Rugger wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:I think Italy and Romania could work together. Withdraw from the Pro 14. Set up a Super 10 competition with 6 Italian clubs and 4 Romanian clubs.
Benetton Treviso, Calvisano, Petrarca, Viadana, Rovigo Delta, Valorugby Emilia.
Baia Mare, Timisoara Saracens, Steaua Bucuresti, Dinamo Bucuresti.
This would cut down on travel and allow these clubs to develop as top level professional clubs. Italy could still enter teams into the European Cup competitions.
I don't think the current situation is working for either country.


Actually, I think they should look at something similar to the Super 6 in Scotland. Look to open bids for ideally regionally based teams but not excluding compelling clubs bids that have to meet certain requirements including facilities, sponsorship etc. Establish a salary cap. And look to build from there.

The Super 6 idea would work as an intermediate level.
I also think that the current Pro14 teams should move to Top14 or D2, less travel and many more sponsorship opportunities.


The Top 14 or Pro D2 don't need them so it is unlikely to ever happen i'm afraid. However, a cup competition with the Pro D2, Spanish Heineken League and Italian Top 12 clubs and maybe other T2 European's in the future could be doable. France has always been at the forefront of European expansion so it is a shame that they haven't proposed anything at club level. I think the LNR would be more effective at garnering sponsorship and television deals for such a comp than the EPCR was able to do.

I think that they might like them as they would strengthen D2 and maybe even push into Top14. As you said the French are very open to enhancing the league finances. The Super 6 proposal could be like Farm teams for the pro teams focusing on development of players. They could have their own cross border comp with Spanish league.


Strengthen what ? Do you know Pro D2 a bit ? It doesn't look like ... Pro D2 doesn't need other teams. In fact with 16, it's already a long season. And all clubs are competitive, and you could find other french clubs which would be interested in playing there. We have enough depth nationally, there won't be any favour for italian clubs. French public wouldn't understand it, and french clubs wouldn't accept it neither. Stop dreaming everytime about including clubs in french leagues. Or you start at the bottom as Genève or you don't go into it. It's as simple as that.

Neither think about a european cup with Pro D2 clubs. Their season is already long. There's no room for such a cup. And I think they would mostly all care about it. Their goal is to reach Top 14. Not to play with unknown clubs from Spain, Italy or wherever you want. Or something very short, some preseason tournament ... not very interesting.



For me, Italy should have keep on working with their own league. They killed it, now they are paying the price as they are "blocked".
Come-back to their own league now would be a huge step backward, especially when you have 2 entities very pro, high level, and the others ... that would be boring. Maybe they could create a third franchise, but would Pro14 be interested ? That's not really exciting, considering the poor standard of italian national league.
And how generate more value for a national league which is clearly now a second level league ? What would an investor win in creating a good club there ? For the moment, there's nothing ... It's a vicious circle. They need to find something... is the league shown on TV ? If yes, is coverage of good quality ? Maybe their could be a start from there... FIR could pay TV production for one game / week (one good game) + creating a TV show with highlights, talks, ... trying for a few years to push it, generate step by step a few value for the league. That would be a good point to start, even on a small sport channel.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Canalina » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 12:59

rules wrote:...

Thanks for the answer, more informed that my ones.
Anyway I have the feeling that Top12 is really slipping down as general interest, drop by drop and season by season, and not just because it lacks the amount of Treviso crowd. In the last day I've read on the match sheets 350 spectators (Colorno), 250 (San Donà) and 130 (Rome, Fiamme Oro). I don't remember to have never read so many low numbers in the same day

vino_93 wrote:...
And how generate more value for a national league which is clearly now a second level league ? What would an investor win in creating a good club there ? For the moment, there's nothing ... It's a vicious circle. They need to find something... is the league shown on TV ? If yes, is coverage of good quality ? Maybe their could be a start from there... FIR could pay TV production for one game / week (one good game) + creating a TV show with highlights, talks, ... trying for a few years to push it, generate step by step a few value for the league. That would be a good point to start, even on a small sport channel.

No, the Top12 is not shown by any television, just on the web by the Italian Federation facebook page.
Yet in the last season, for the first time after many years, the final of the championship was shown live by Rai Sport, the channel of the national state tv dedicated to the sport.
The Federation could pay to have a space every weekend on Rai Sport, it's an idea sometime purposed also by the italian fans, but I don't think it would worth the expense. Rai Sport has a low audience, composed (I suppose) mostly by middle-high-age men. You need to involve kids and boys more than grown-ups.
At the opposite of Spain, Germany, Russia, Georgia, Romania... we italians have the big luck to be part of the Six Nations, so the games are shown by tv (even if now by a minor one, DMAX) and the women and U20 games can tour the whole nation, bringing a good propaganda. If it doesn't work so much, I very doubt that showing in a minor tv the regular season of the Top12 could do something efficacious

Chester-Donnelly wrote:Everyone is saying a Romanian-Italian competition won't work and won't be interesting, but...

I was talking by an italian point of view. That championship would not help the italian movement. Maybe it would work for Romania, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work for Italy

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 13:07

Maybe not. But if the British and Irish league goes ahead Italy will either have to work with its continental neighbours, go it alone, or play in South Africa which, is what Georgia will be doing.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby io.porcorosso » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 17:31

There're just two solution for a medium long term sustainability.

1.Increase the Italian teams in PRO14 at the minimum number of 6-8 taking them from the present best TOP12 teams, helping also them to become a sort of franchise of their own territory. Quite impossible at these stage and also frustrating for any other club that would like to invest in Rugby, since it is a closed league.

2.Improve the domestic till it become a better league than PRO14.

Any other option is not feasible.

Cheers PR-WSM

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby iul » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 17:52

Rugby is too focused on band aid solutions, shortcuts and Hail Marys. It should build things with the goal to make it work over the long term, and I mean decades by that. Italy is a big country. It has lots of money. It has a history of people watching sport as entertainment. It should build its own league instead of making their domestic league second fiddle to some league with Celtic and SA teams in it.

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Re: The future of Italian Rugby

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Thu, 02 Jan 2020, 18:18

iul wrote:Rugby is too focused on band aid solutions, shortcuts and Hail Marys. It should build things with the goal to make it work over the long term, and I mean decades by that. Italy is a big country. It has lots of money. It has a history of people watching sport as entertainment. It should build its own league instead of making their domestic league second fiddle to some league with Celtic and SA teams in it.


I agree with this. The challenge is how to get to that point. There needs to be a strategy.

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