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Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 02:10

Chester-Donnelly wrote:It's not hard for the NFL to be the flagship tournament for football. It's an American sport and not really an international sport. Rugby is spread all over the world.
Super Rugby was once the flagship tournament for the Southern Hemisphere, but the Six Nations has always been the most important rugby tournament for Europe. That's not likely to change. For club rugby, the closest thing to UEFA Champions League is Champions Cup Rugby, but it makes sense for rugby fans to follow a tournament in their own time zone and hemisphere. I live in England. I'm not going to watch a tournament in New Zealand or Japan unless it's the world cup.
Rugby doesn't need a flagship tournament, it needs a strong professional tournament in each region.

The point about NFL is they managed to reach non-US audience (even when time zones are not favorable and it is not only about watching live marches... It is bigger than this) in a very strong way for a sport with properly strong foundations abroad. I'd it has "soft power". And whilst rugby is isolacionist American Football isnt much better. Just look at how horrible is their international federation.

About soccer, until early 2000s UEFA Champions League wasnt that popular in South America, as we always supported and cared about our clubs, as they were as strong as any European club. But we lost the economic battle. Now a Brazilian or Argentine kid that wants to be player dreams about success in a local club, yes, but as a mid way route to Europe. Winning Libertadores is a dream but their ultimate life goal is to win UEFA Champions League (and the World Cup, obviously).

In other words, there is a reference for football in an anual basis.

Pichot thought national teams could do this job for rugby and he is damn right. People started to complain about how cool is to be world champion only once every 4 years or how important are tours or whatever, but the main point was that. What we have that can realy break into new audiences and offer such a poweful image? Only national teams, that are under a conservative cartel mentality. A national teams league could indeed drive rugby to such universe of REALY BIG sports leagues. Is there another possibility? Maybe... But national teams are still central for this discussion.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 02:23

Blurandski wrote:
victorsra wrote:RWC is once every 4 years, that's what I said, not enough. 6N is a month an a half competition. Not enough either. Otherwise finances would be great in British rugby and... they aren't.


I mean, finances sort of are great relative to where they were. Average salaries have somewhere between doubled and quadrupled in the past decade. All British unions have experienced strong revenue growth, and strong investment growth in rugby.

(07 to 18) The IRFU's net worth has increased by £120m (cash reserves up from £20m to £70m something), amount re-invested into rugby up from £37m/year to £67m/yr. Income up from £49m/yr to £88m/yr

(08 to 18) The WRU's net worth has gone from £10m to £55m. Amount reinvested in rugby up to £55m from £32m. Income up from £43m/y to £98m/yr

(08 to 19) The SRU's investment in rugby up from £24m/yr to £52m/yr. Income up from £28m to £61m.

(09 to 18) The RFU's income is up to £213m/yr from £112m, investment in rugby up from £70m to £110m/yr.


That money is invested into the game but what return is there? The professional game continues to lose money and grassroots investment benefits the rugby community only. Does the man on the street really know more about rugby now or have an active interest?

Sure, the 6N keeps the game in the public sphere once a year and it tops the coffers of the unions so they can reinvest and keep the status quo, but people don't really have more than a passing interest.

The unions really rely on world cup success to grow the game. The English had their greatest spurt of growth after they won the WC, the Aussies have banked everything on world cup success. If we are really going to rely on a competition once every 4 years, when there are 8 contenders now then it isn't a good model.

How can we capture the imagination of the wider public more than once ever 4 years is the question and everyone will benefit. The status quo does not achieve this for anyone.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 04:23

victorsra wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:It's not hard for the NFL to be the flagship tournament for football. It's an American sport and not really an international sport. Rugby is spread all over the world.
Super Rugby was once the flagship tournament for the Southern Hemisphere, but the Six Nations has always been the most important rugby tournament for Europe. That's not likely to change. For club rugby, the closest thing to UEFA Champions League is Champions Cup Rugby, but it makes sense for rugby fans to follow a tournament in their own time zone and hemisphere. I live in England. I'm not going to watch a tournament in New Zealand or Japan unless it's the world cup.
Rugby doesn't need a flagship tournament, it needs a strong professional tournament in each region.

The point about NFL is they managed to reach non-US audience (even when time zones are not favorable and it is not only about watching live marches... It is bigger than this) in a very strong way for a sport with properly strong foundations abroad. I'd it has "soft power". And whilst rugby is isolacionist American Football isnt much better. Just look at how horrible is their international federation.

About soccer, until early 2000s UEFA Champions League wasnt that popular in South America, as we always supported and cared about our clubs, as they were as strong as any European club. But we lost the economic battle. Now a Brazilian or Argentine kid that wants to be player dreams about success in a local club, yes, but as a mid way route to Europe. Winning Libertadores is a dream but their ultimate life goal is to win UEFA Champions League (and the World Cup, obviously).

In other words, there is a reference for football in an anual basis.

Pichot thought national teams could do this job for rugby and he is damn right. People started to complain about how cool is to be world champion only once every 4 years or how important are tours or whatever, but the main point was that. What we have that can realy break into new audiences and offer such a poweful image? Only national teams, that are under a conservative cartel mentality. A national teams league could indeed drive rugby to such universe of REALY BIG sports leagues. Is there another possibility? Maybe... But national teams are still central for this discussion.


What is quite clear is that both the 6 nations and SANZAR are desperate for money. The 6 nations are so arrogant that they are willing to sell their souls to CVC for a an uncertain future to try and squeeze what little is left of the British and French market, for a competition 3 teams from 1 market and is only lucrative in 1.5 markets. The Celts, Italians and SANZAR are trying to compete with wages from the English and French clubs and the RFU and FFR are fighting their clubs. The status quo doesn't work, but they should be looking at global growth rather than preserving self interest because it just isn't sustainable.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Scoob » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 06:47

So basically one thing SANZAAR and 6 nations can agree on is that they want more money from where ever say [Japan,USA] as long as where ever does not become competitive on and off the rugby field. Yeah that will work ;)

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby RugbyLiebe » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 08:34

Chester-Donnelly wrote:It's not hard for the NFL to be the flagship tournament for football. It's an American sport and not really an international sport. Rugby is spread all over the world.
Super Rugby was once the flagship tournament for the Southern Hemisphere, but the Six Nations has always been the most important rugby tournament for Europe. That's not likely to change. For club rugby, the closest thing to UEFA Champions League is Champions Cup Rugby, but it makes sense for rugby fans to follow a tournament in their own time zone and hemisphere. I live in England. I'm not going to watch a tournament in New Zealand or Japan unless it's the world cup.
Rugby doesn't need a flagship tournament, it needs a strong professional tournament in each region.


The problem is that the 6N are not at all an event for Europe, but only for the small part of Europe which takes part there. There are not enough people who would root for another nation. Why should a German or a Spanish citizen watch the 6N? And that's the major problem. A German can become part of the NFL, but when he takes part in the 6N, he cannot really be marketed as a German anymore.
So therefore it doesn't matter the slightest if the 6N is a regional tournament or not as it has not enough appeal to anyone not from those countries which take part. Actually it already does quite well for what it really is. Rugby's problem is closed shops and every single other problem has its origin in this.
How to grow rugby worldwide?
Look at the world ranking in July. Teams ranked 1-10 have to play one team from 11-20 (they don't play in a regular competition) away the next year. 11-20 play 21-30 away and so on. Yes, it really is that simple.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 10:26

RugbyLiebe wrote:
Chester-Donnelly wrote:It's not hard for the NFL to be the flagship tournament for football. It's an American sport and not really an international sport. Rugby is spread all over the world.
Super Rugby was once the flagship tournament for the Southern Hemisphere, but the Six Nations has always been the most important rugby tournament for Europe. That's not likely to change. For club rugby, the closest thing to UEFA Champions League is Champions Cup Rugby, but it makes sense for rugby fans to follow a tournament in their own time zone and hemisphere. I live in England. I'm not going to watch a tournament in New Zealand or Japan unless it's the world cup.
Rugby doesn't need a flagship tournament, it needs a strong professional tournament in each region.


The problem is that the 6N are not at all an event for Europe, but only for the small part of Europe which takes part there. There are not enough people who would root for another nation. Why should a German or a Spanish citizen watch the 6N? And that's the major problem. A German can become part of the NFL, but when he takes part in the 6N, he cannot really be marketed as a German anymore.
So therefore it doesn't matter the slightest if the 6N is a regional tournament or not as it has not enough appeal to anyone not from those countries which take part. Actually it already does quite well for what it really is. Rugby's problem is closed shops and every single other problem has its origin in this.


Slightly unrelated to this, but still relevant. I would like to see Germany put back into the European Championship, along with Netherlands. Have an 8 team tournament. Europe's tier 2 should grow together, with this tournament and the Continental League.
Rugby is very much based around national teams, the regional tournaments they play in, and the rugby world cup. The flagship tournament is the rugby world cup, but also the Six Nations. If rugby can be grown in the low countries, Germany, Romania, Russia, Georgia, Portugal and Spain, there can be a competition for those countries to rival the Six Nations. Also there could then be enough strength across Europe to have a true European Club Championship, which could be the equivalent of the NFL, but that's a long way off.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby 4N » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 14:29

This isn’t a great look.

THE highest paid executive in the Scottish Rugby Union – usually the Chief Executive – received aggregate emoluments of £933k (before pension contributions) for the year up to the 31st May 2019, more than double the £455k earned the previous year.

The fees and salaries for all the company directors has jumped from £1.13m to £2.246m. These figures include the crystallisation and release of bonuses accrued during the past three years as part of the organisations ‘Long Term Incentive Plan’.

https://www.theoffsideline.com/huge-hik ... -revealed/

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Edgar » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 21:03

Interestingly this article, by a different author, comes to the same conclusions as the one I posted a couple of days ago, notably the importance of the internet in keeping rugby in the public eye. There are a few more stats on offer, however:

In 2015, the average crowd size across the competition was 19,163, making it easily the world's biggest rugby competition by average attendance.
in 2017, that overall average had dropped to just 14,436, a 24.67 per cent drop in attendance in just two years.
In 2019, regular season attendances for games on Kiwi soil were down another 6 per cent on the previous year, as big pockets of empty seats at stadiums make for a big eyesore and a lack of atmosphere, not to mention a miss in gate takings.
In its debut year in 1996, Super Rugby had its latest start on the calendar (March 1). A quarter of a century on, the traditional winter sport is set for its earliest kickoff (January 31), clashing with a Black Caps v India Twenty20 cricket match.


https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/sup ... j0Nafyr1yc

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby TheStroBro » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 21:23

4N wrote:This isn’t a great look.

THE highest paid executive in the Scottish Rugby Union – usually the Chief Executive – received aggregate emoluments of £933k (before pension contributions) for the year up to the 31st May 2019, more than double the £455k earned the previous year.

The fees and salaries for all the company directors has jumped from £1.13m to £2.246m. These figures include the crystallisation and release of bonuses accrued during the past three years as part of the organisations ‘Long Term Incentive Plan’.

https://www.theoffsideline.com/huge-hik ... -revealed/


I know they're getting hammered for that. But the reality is that under his leadership the SRU has increased their revenue by more than a third and halved their debt load. So earning an increase in compensation is warranted.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby 4N » Tue, 14 Jan 2020, 22:04

For reference, the Welsh Rugby Union (£90.5m turnover, £49.9m surplus, 358 staff) paid their highest earning director £351k in total (including bonus and other benefits) last year. The highest paid director of the Scottish Football Association for year up to 31st December 2018 was £376,169 (turnover £37.5m). Newcastle United (£178m turnover) paid their highest earning direct £300k in their most recent accounts and Southampton FC (turnover of £150m) paid £675k.


For comparison SRU: £500k operating profit on £61m turnover

I read this would make him the highest paid rugby administrator in the world? It’s a joke when they can’t afford to keep their best players.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Wed, 15 Jan 2020, 04:22

4N wrote:
For reference, the Welsh Rugby Union (£90.5m turnover, £49.9m surplus, 358 staff) paid their highest earning director £351k in total (including bonus and other benefits) last year. The highest paid director of the Scottish Football Association for year up to 31st December 2018 was £376,169 (turnover £37.5m). Newcastle United (£178m turnover) paid their highest earning direct £300k in their most recent accounts and Southampton FC (turnover of £150m) paid £675k.


For comparison SRU: £500k operating profit on £61m turnover

I read this would make him the highest paid rugby administrator in the world? It’s a joke when they can’t afford to keep their best players.


They can't afford to keep their top players because the Pro 14 generates sweet FA. They are already investing too much into the pro game.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby sk 88 » Thu, 16 Jan 2020, 11:34

Well I've got an obvious place to find £500k to pay Stuart Hogg at least!

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Fri, 17 Jan 2020, 14:01

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby TheStroBro » Fri, 17 Jan 2020, 22:17

4N wrote:
For reference, the Welsh Rugby Union (£90.5m turnover, £49.9m surplus, 358 staff) paid their highest earning director £351k in total (including bonus and other benefits) last year. The highest paid director of the Scottish Football Association for year up to 31st December 2018 was £376,169 (turnover £37.5m). Newcastle United (£178m turnover) paid their highest earning direct £300k in their most recent accounts and Southampton FC (turnover of £150m) paid £675k.


For comparison SRU: £500k operating profit on £61m turnover

I read this would make him the highest paid rugby administrator in the world? It’s a joke when they can’t afford to keep their best players.


You tend to compensate your executives when they crush the balance sheets. Unlike many other clubs the SRU seems to at least try to run their professional teams like a business. Also, it was a one time performance bonus.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby 4N » Sat, 18 Jan 2020, 01:14

Their debt related to Murrayfield and was offset by selling naming rights to the stadium... innovative stuff. Otherwise Dodson’s tenure has been noted for Russellgate, a dismal World Cup and the U20s being relegated for the first time. This bonus seems like a breaking point for lots of Scottish fans and you can’t blame them.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby TheStroBro » Sat, 18 Jan 2020, 03:17

4N wrote:Their debt related to Murrayfield and was offset by selling naming rights to the stadium... innovative stuff. Otherwise Dodson’s tenure has been noted for Russellgate, a dismal World Cup and the U20s being relegated for the first time. This bonus seems like a breaking point for lots of Scottish fans and you can’t blame them.

Murrayfield has naming rights?

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby 4N » Sat, 18 Jan 2020, 03:23


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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby rey200 » Sat, 18 Jan 2020, 09:30

How many rugby players in the world get more money from the sport? Any idea? Because that's what makes that figure so unbelievable.
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Sun, 19 Jan 2020, 05:23



There is a huge over-reliance on traditional media outlets and traditional fan bases in T1 rugby. Not only is there a new, totally different generation of people coming of age but the whole of society has changed with less people bothered loyalty to sports teams and more appreciative of experiences and events. Rugby is in a particularly precarious position where it hasn't even broken into the mainstream, it doesn't have the big loyal fan bases which were established when society was different that other sports have and these sports are now adapting to keep up, so rugby doesn't have either. Rugby needs to approach things differently and the lack of effort in trying to grow the fan base with the use of modern technology in T1 nations is hugely concerning. It should be seen a great opportunity for rugby to grow in T1 at a low cost.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby victorsra » Sun, 19 Jan 2020, 18:55

https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/51168926

And this is where professional rugby union continues to teeter: on a permanent knife-edge, desperate to grow audiences and revenues but with no proven strategy to do so, determined to ape the success of Premier League football but with nowhere near the same clout or means.

Everywhere you look in the game you see financial conundrums and hazardous, long-range punts at trying to solve them.

As one deputy team principal said as CVC's 11-year period owning Formula 1 came to an end: "All their actions have been taken to extract as much money from the sport as possible and put as little in as possible."

At the same time, the value of title sponsorship of both the Six Nations and the Heineken Champions Cup has fallen dramatically in the past two years. World Rugby's big plans to revitalise the international game through their World League proposal also fell apart, when it could not reach its own agreement with CVC.

Meanwhile, Scottish Rugby is paying chief executive Mark Dodson £933,000 this year, despite finishing the last Six Nations with just one win and going out of the World Cup at the group stage.

Punts and speculation and mistakes. Some 25 years on from the slow death of the old amateur structures, it is as uncertain a future as ever.


Can't say the author is wrong!
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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby Edgar » Sat, 25 Jan 2020, 08:18

NZ rugby facing challenges . . .

Wellington - Rugby in New Zealand is to undergo an extensive review, with the sport's bosses admitting on Friday the game was "under pressure" as it faces an All Blacks slump in world rankings and dwindling numbers at the grassroots level.

The five Super Rugby franchises and 26 provincial unions have announced a joint review aimed at setting the sport up "for sustained success over the next decade".

"It is timely to review how we deliver rugby and ensure the sport has the resources to ensure it is sustainable and relevant to fans and communities right across the rugby system," New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said in a statement.

Although rugby has long been treated almost like a national religion in New Zealand, with the All Blacks captaincy regarded by many as the most important job in the country, it is now struggling to maintain its support.

The fading prestige was not helped last year when the three-times world champion All Blacks were beaten in the semi-finals at the World Cup and along the way lost their 10-year grip on the No 1 world ranking.

In Super Rugby, an increasing number of players not immediately in line for All Blacks selection are being lured off-shore by big-money contracts on offer in Europe and Japan.

The next tier down, the national provincial championship, once the pinnacle for non-internationals, is now largely filled with little-known talents as it competes with All Blacks commitments and Super Rugby players undergoing off-season injury rehabilitation.

At a grassroots level, the number of women is surging but men, particularly in the 13-20 age bracket, are dwindling.

New Zealand rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said that while rugby in New Zealand had a structure that had served it well for more than 125 years, the time was right to look at how it can best thrive in a rapidly changing society.

"Rugby is under pressure in many parts of the game, from participation, fan engagement, talent retention and increasingly tough financial environments," he said.

"We have seen significant growth in rugby since professionalism in 1996, but not all areas of the game have thrived in that environment and there is a never-ending drive to grow revenue and manage the cost base of the game."

NZR has already announced changes at under-age level where, if a team cannot muster 15 players, a match can be played with a minimum of 10 players a side.

Games can be from 40 to 80 minutes long, with rolling substitutes across all grades, scrums can be uncontested, and at the learner level there will be no knock-ons.

https://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/extensi ... d-20200124

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby ihateblazers » Thu, 30 Jan 2020, 09:52

On the topic of New Zealand, it seems as if there are tensions between the private investors and NZRU.

I think the biggest problem with this arrangement is that the NZRU controls the broadcasting rights by selling it on behalf of SANZAR as a block with the international rights. This is a good way of keeping control of commercial income and to drive the value of the rights but when you have a third party it can only cause friction. What is the point of being a licence holder/investor for a Super Rugby team if you don't have access to broadcasting rights?

What the NZRU could consider is setting up a separate company like US soccer does with MLS for a NZ Rugby commission. The private investors or provincial unions buy into this company to fully/partially own a Super Rugby team and the commercial rights of Super Rugby and Test rugby are sold by this company and income flows through it. In order to prevent a disproportionate share going to the Super Rugby teams they can weigh it in terms of the % value of the international and super rugby rights. SANZAR unions want to control everything but they also need private investment, they can't have their cake and eat it.

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/sport/rugby/tensions-between-new-zealand-rugby-super-licence-holders-over-future-kiwi-teams

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby thatrugbyguy » Thu, 30 Jan 2020, 10:32



Great article. This is really a generational thing. Kids these days are watching Esports, and the viewing figures they get are astounding. Sports across the world are being affected by this. I have to admit I'm not the sports watcher I use to be and have been known to watch professional gaming tournaments myself.

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby jservuk » Thu, 30 Jan 2020, 11:37




Interesting read indeed.

The question it prompts is this affecting all the top 5 sports and to what degree, as the article makes it sound like a problem for NZ Rugby (and MLB).

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Re: Growing rugby in Tier 1 nations

Postby RugbyLiebe » Thu, 30 Jan 2020, 12:10

jservuk wrote:



Interesting read indeed.

The question it prompts is this affecting all the top 5 sports and to what degree, as the article makes it sound like a problem for NZ Rugby (and MLB).


If I'm not mistaken someone else has already posted this or another similar article in another thread.
It rightfully makes this a problem for mostly Rugby and MLB as apparently those two are the sports/organizations that were really strict with their online-content. And their problem with attracting a new generation is the direct outcome of this. It does make a lot of sense.

Other sports weren't and therefore they don't have this problem. To be honest this article(s) make a lot of sense.
How to grow rugby worldwide?
Look at the world ranking in July. Teams ranked 1-10 have to play one team from 11-20 (they don't play in a regular competition) away the next year. 11-20 play 21-30 away and so on. Yes, it really is that simple.

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