As the British & Irish Lions prepare to visit Australia again, rugby union "finds itself struggling for relevance in one of the most competitive sporting markets in the world," according to Neil Hume of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Audiences and attendances "are falling and the sport finds itself outgunned by the country’s two other 'codes' -- Australian rules football and rugby league -- which are using billion-dollar TV deals to fund an aggressive push into the rugby heartlands of New South Wales and Queensland." The Australian Rugby Union "plans to use a multimillion-dollar windfall from the Lions tour to stabilise its finances and deliver a raft of initiatives it hopes can invigorate the game." However, whether this will be enough to get rugby back on its feet "remains open to question." There are "a number of reasons for rugby’s waning fortunes." Fusion Strategy Managing Dir Steve Allen said that the most important issue "is the performance of the national side, currently ranked number three in the world." Allen: "In Australia, if you don’t look like winners, then people just don’t bother." Rugby faces "serious challenges that were highlighted in a report" published last year by former Minister of Sport Mark Arbib. Arbib "also drew attention to the parlous state of the game’s finances." Arbib: "Rugby faces some serious financial challenges. The ARU’s capital reserves have been in decline over the past decade and most of the Super Rugby teams are in a weak financial position." None of this is lost on ARU CEO Bill Pulver, a former marketing exec. Pulver: "There is always a correlation between the performance of your elite teams and participation and growth in revenue. And we have had a bit of a tough period for the past decade and yet our participation has held up and our financial performance, while it could be better, is improving" (FT, 6/17).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The EPL has "offered to meet supporters who are protesting in London" Wednesday over the cost of ticket prices, according to James Olley of the London EVENING STANDARD. EPL CEO Richard Scudamore "will talk with selected representatives of the group and put forward any recommendations to the 20 top-flight clubs." Around 200 fans "are expected to gather in Regent's Park." There "will be a rally and several speakers demanding a reduction in prices next season." The event "has been organised by Liverpool fans' group Spirit of Shankly." Fans from a variety of clubs "will unite with the Liverpool supporters in protest." Their demonstration "is backed by the Football Supporters' Federation." An FSF spokesperson said, "Clubs are swimming in cash and it's about time fans' loyalty was rewarded with more affordable tickets" (EVENING STANDARD, 6/18).
The Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) has set a new attendance record during the '12-13 season. A total of 1,481,324 people attended the 334 games. The number translates into an average attendance of 4,435. During the previous season, the BBL's average attendance was 4,422, with 1,463,082 in total. The numbers show that the league increased its attendance by 0.3% from '11-12 to '12-13. It is the 11th attandance record in a row for the league. The league's percentage of full capacity was 86.1%. BBL CEO Jan Pommer said, "The result is very pleasing, and shows that the league has solidified its second rank in Europe and operates an attractive product" (BBL). Pommer also said, "For the first time in league history we will surpass the €80 million ($107M) revenue mark" (NWZ ONLINE, 6/18).
|Basketball Bundesliga Attendance '12-13
|Alba Berlin (18)*
|Brose Baskets Bamberg (24)
|FC Bayern Munich Basketball (21)
|ratiopharm Ulm (21)
|Telekom Baskets Bonn (19)
|EWE Baskets Oldenburg (24)
|TBB Trier (17)
|Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (17)
|Eisbären Bremerhaven (17)
|Phoenix Hagen (19)
|Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg (17)
|New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig (17)
|Artland Dragons (18)
|s.Oliver Baskets Würzburg (17)
|BBC Bayreuth (17)
|LTi Gießen 46ers (17)
|Walter Tigers Tübingen (17)
|Mitteldeutscher BC (17)
The German Hockey League (DEL) "wants to mediate between the German Hockey Federation (DEB) and its rebellious second-division clubs," according to the SID. DEL Board Chair Jürgen Arnold said, "All parties have to immediately get together. We would offer to play mediator. It can't happen that courts have to get involved. We are talking about sports and not about law." After nine 2nd Bundesliga clubs have purposely missed the DEB's deadline, the federation has started planning the new season completely with a second division. The rebellious clubs "want to join the independent professional league, DEL, as a DEL II, which the DEB categorically refuses." The DEL "supports the clubs." Arnold: "We completely back the concept's content. It is logical, coherent and complies with what the majority of the fans want." The DEB's biggest concern is that the top two leagues "would isolate the third tier Oberliga" (SID, 6/17).
A committee led by former Dutch Minister of Justice Winnie Sorgdrager proclaimed on Monday that "the majority of the Dutch professional cyclists used doping at the end of the nineties and at the beginning of this century" (XINHUA, 6/18). ... Three bookies, arrested in the Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal, on Tuesday alleged in a court here that "the Delhi police has extorted their confessions in the case by using 'third degree torture and coercion.'" The court sought police’s response on the allegations by bookies Sunil Bhatia, Ramesh Vyas and Firoz Ansari, who claimed that "investigators had obtained their confessions by use of force" (PTI, 6/18). ... South African Sports Confederation & Olympic Committee CEO Tubby Reddy said that he had a "'constructive' meeting with the Int'l Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at the weekend, in an effort to explain the administrative takeover of Athletics SA and prevent international sanctions" (SOWETAN LIVE, 6/18). ... The Spanish Footballers Association (AFE) and the Spanish Football League (LFP) agreed on Tuesday that the current collective bargaining agreement expiring on July 8 "will be extended until July 8, 2014" (EFE, 6/18).