Cody Kuxmann is a Referee at the London Society Of Rugby Football Union Referees, while studying International Relations at Richmond, The American International University in London. He lives in Richmond Upon Thames but hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin.
LONDON, ENGLAND – All the local rugby I have seen on TV within Wisconsinhas always been on tape-delay. That’s acceptable because it at least gets the sport out there and allows for an enjoyable, if not diminished, viewing experience.
Outside of this, and the recent coverage by NBC/Universal, Rugby doesn’t get much air-time. More specifically, it hardly gets any live coverage in the USA. Why? It could be that networks are leery because Rugby has no breaks allowing for commercials or replays.
Which leads us to… 7s. We’ve all watched 7s. It’s great because the games are quick, there is lots of scoring and it has plenty of time for game review because the many scoring plays allow for a quick digesting of the previous play and replays. This as a very American thing. Baseball, for instance, has loads of replays. The NFL has a replay every other play. The NBA may not have as many as the previous two, but it has its fair share. 7s is the version of rugby that comes closet to its American cousins in this department.
This is important because the time broadcasters in the USA spend breaking down the game is amazing. We see it all the time. But can rugby be like its American counterparts? The answer is yes. It’s obvious that it can work – look at NZ, SA, AUS, ENG, etc.. But for it to work in America, sticking with the tape-delay may be the smartest way to hook the TV audience. It would allow for the intimate breakdowns that Americans have become accustomed to: for all the replays, the breakdowns, etc.. It wouldn’t detract from the game (purists be damned), yet it would allow for an intimate understanding for the newest of rugby fans. And let’s face it – we need them.
What are your thoughts?