The importance of sports and games is felt globally and nowadays it is recognized as an agent to maintain health, have a sane psychological health and foster the spirit of friendship and amity among the children and the teenagers. Hence, sports have been included within the regular curriculum in most parts of the world. Many schools, colleges and universities in India, Australia, UK, and USA have considered the benefits of sports and have included sports like cricket, football, hockey, rugby, tennis, swimming etc. within the educational infrastructure and are encouraging the students to pursue at least one of them regardless of their aptitudes.
Today I would prefer to compare and contrast the two of them, one is rugby and another is cricket, both being very popular games in Australia and in many other countries. With this context, this business report is analysed over both the sports strategical perspectives. The report consists of several sections and subsections in which the overview of two sports, the position analysis in global market, the participations as well as the future trends have been discussed thoroughly.
After the analysis it has been found out that both the sports have greater importance in developing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for those participated countries. It is also recommended that more Youngers should be provided the opportunities to participant and thus makes those sports more popular.
This business report focusses on the two sports analysis namely Rugby and Cricket. Both the sports have most popular as well as profitable games in the world. This study has discussed about the overview of each sports and their position in the global market. The participation trends of the specified sports items are discussed thoroughly. There is also a brief discussion on the future projections as well as the future funding of Rugby and Cricket in this report. Finally, a strong conclusion is drawn over the features and future trends of these two types of sports.
2. Rugby and Cricket
2.1 Overview of Rugby
Rugby is a body has a huge popularity in most of the countries of Southern hemisphere like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and again it is vastly popular in the nations like England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Most developed nations have a fondness for the game of Rugby. Born in England in the 1800s, rugby has gained fast popularity and presently professional rugby leagues are played in other European countries like Italy and France, in the United States, Argentina, pacific countries and also in Japan.
The grandest leagues of rugby are played in France and the French clubs host the highest paid rugby players of the world. Rugby is the second most popular game in the Rugby world numbers. England and Wales had witnessed the biggest event of rugby in the World Cup 2015 which had generated revenue of £250 million which determines the measure of popularity rugby has gained in the developed countries in the recent years and is the second most lucrative sports of the century.
Surprisingly, about 2.47 million tickets were marketed where the fans (480,000 in figure) travelled in overseas from different parts across the world, from nearly 24 nations. It has been surveyed that the 2015 Rugby World Cup was the second most attended event behind the FIFA World Cup of 2014. The steadily growing popularity of rugby in Japan can be concluded from the fact that almost one fifth of Japan’s total population have remained tuned in to their television sets when Japan played against Samoa.
Rugby is perhaps the most watched sports in UK where about 8.7 million viewers watched the opening ceremony and the opening match where England had participated. The 2015 Rugby World Cup had also shown its tremendous popularity in the social media wherein #rwc2015 was posted on Twitter in every two seconds (Sagar, 2016). The game of rugby has immense health benefits as this rough body contact game demands the players to be fit an agile in order to perform well in this game whether it is played for recreation or for competition.
A rugby player should have strong hand muscles and a flexible upper body for tackling and throwing and also sturdy leg muscles to combat and battle in scrums. The repeated twisting and dodging movements enhance flexibility while the constant running and sprinting movements improve cardiovascular activity and lung functions. The game of rugby helps to infuse the spirit of teamwork, mutual effort and togetherness boosting up self-confidence and courage shaping a developed overall personality (Health Fitness Revolution, 2015).
2.2 Overview of Cricket
The other game that I would discuss today is cricket which also has its cradle in England. Many parts of the world are still unaware of the existence of this game yet it has the second highest fan base among all other sports in the world owing its highest popularity to the Indian subcontinent, Europe and Australia. The love for cricket had spread its wings in the countries where once the Great Britain had formed a colony.
The love for cricket is almost like religion in the countries like India and Pakistan. Cricket world Cup ranks third in regards to popularity standing behind FIFA World Cup and Rugby World Cup in spite of the fact that many countries of the world are still oblivious about this game. Gradually, more and more countries are considering cricket to be raised to professional level. Cricket can be played in two forms, the five day long test series or the one day matches. Cricket has taken its new incarnation with the introduction of T20 matches.
This has begun the new wave of business where domestic league matches are played by the buying and selling of team franchise at exorbitant prices. This new form of business has invoked foreign countries to invest in such leagues and cricket has gained the status of the most lucrative sports. The biggest among the domestic leagues is the Indian Premiere League where participants are players from India as well as 16 foreign countries across the world.
Cricket has spread its dominant wings over the Asian countries like Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh while the big cricketing nations like Australia, New Zealand and England have cricket as their second most popular sports after football (Si, 2012). Cricket is also extremely popular among the Caribbean and the team of West Indies has produces world best cricket players ever.
Cricket has always been popular among women spectators but nowadays women are considering raising their level of interest from being only spectators to participating in women cricket and represent their nation. Women cricket is gaining popularity among viewers and the pay packages have been much improved seeing the growing popularity which is encouraging more and more women to play cricket.
The all-star cricket was held in USA in November 2015 in the form of exhibition match where there was overwhelming response in the cities of New York, Houston and Los Angeles and that shows that the new age Americans are taking interest in cricket which would become a globally popular game in the near future (Sagar, 2016). The game of cricket is a combination of batting, bowling and fielding and a good performance demands a seamless coordination of the motor skills, alertness and stamina. Hence, playing cricket improves the gross motor skills, mental agility and physical flexibility.
Cricket is entirely a team game which promotes togetherness, mutual understanding and cooperation. Cricket enhances cardiovascular activity and patience as the eleven player oriented team has to work together while bowling and fielding while everyone has to wait for their turn while batting. It sometimes happens that only the first two or three batsmen complete the game and the others do not get a scope to show their skills in a particular match. They would have to wait for another match to perform. Hence, patience and team spirit keep the players on in the game of cricket (Health Fitness Revolution, 2015).
2.3 Position of Rugby and Cricket
There is no consensus to exactly measure popularity but there cannot be any denial that soccer holds the top position in this regard. In the year 2016, rugby reoccurred in the Olympics and earned popularity beyond all expectations. Hence, rugby came to be included in sports curriculum in Brazil, China and the United States. This indicates that rugby is a head-turner in the non-conventional markets and promises growth and higher revenue in future.
The current position of rugby is that the women are coming forward to play rugby after its inclusion in the Olympics and the figure of participation is a spectacular rise from 2000,000 to 2.2 million in the Women’s World Rugby (Wigmore, 2017). Cricket is the religion in the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The triplet neighbours possess a quarter of the entire global population and still on the rise.
Hence, cricket can continue to be the sole revenue earner in the sub-continental areas. The sport economy largely depends on the devotion and popularity of cricket and this is the reason that T20 came into existence in order to keep the fast, technologically advanced generation addicted to the game of cricket. The breathtaking pace of the newly formatted game also stimulates the generation who are lacking the time to spend an entire day for entertainment.
The T20 cricket is a unique blend of entertainment and glamour where explosive hitting of 4s and 6s generate the adrenaline rush and keep the interest and excitement in place. Cricket has undergone much changes and innovation while being reformatted to fit into the T20 structure but the entire package proved to be highly fruitful and with the emerging popularity of the game and more and more foreigners investing in domestic leagues, chances are there that it might be included in the Olympics in near future. Cricket is steadily gaining popularity across those parts of the world where soccer was the only mode of entertainment even a decade back (Verma, 2014).
2.4 Participation trends of Rugby and Cricket
The Sports and Fitness industry Association has conducted a multiyear youth team sports tracking study from the year 2009 to 2014 which reveals that there have been reports of both gain and loss while the spectrum of consideration have been among myriads of sports. Taking into consideration as whole 17 types of sports, SFIA showed that there has been 9.09% reduction in overall participation which if converted to actual figure gives an alarming number that is participation dropped from 50.2 million children to 45.7 million children.
But the drop is not true for all kinds of sports. 6 sports showed a rise in participation while 11 sports showed a decline. While there was 100% growth in rugby participation among the children and the youths, there was found about 42% reduction in wrestling (Langhorst, 2016). Decrease of about 9% participation was also found among the sports that are considered to be pivotal youth sports like baseball, football, soccer, volleyball and basketball. The participation statistics say, as per, SFIA, that 5.9% of average decline was found in regards to team sports which annually come to a drop from 2.14 to 2.01.
Although the figure is not a substantial one yet it is a substantial portion of the global decline in participation. The trend reveals that the children and youths are more inclined to sports like rugby, ice-hockey, gymnastics and fast-pitch softball. The picture is absolutely magnificent in cricket where it is found that in Australia it is the topmost participation sports in the year 2015 and 2016. The record number of participants that showed their fondness for cricket and picked up the bat and ball are mostly females.
Australia’s National Cricket Census has revealed this spectacular fact which shows that there has been a flat 8.5% increase in the number of participants that played cricket across Australia in the year 2015- 2016 in comparison to the number that participated in the year 2014-2015. The Women’s big bash League of 2015-2016 witnessed titanic success and participation from even grass-root levels of the Australian society.
The census ventilates a mesmerizing 28% increase in the multicultural participation along with 40% increase in the indigenous participation not to forget the 70% increase in disability participation. Participation has been mobilized even within club and community wherein the gross increase is about 9.5% in the last year. Participation increased 7.5% in schools and about 9.95 in indoor participation (Van der Merwe, 2007).
Presently Australia can boast of being the top in the biggest participation sports of the nation and it is beyond doubt that cricket is the game of choice for most of the Australians. It is a matter of pride that people from all classes, levels and professions are taking up the bat and ball and moving forward to play cricket. The fan base of cricket is an astounding figure which says that 1.3 millions of cricket lovers in Australia stay tuned to the television during test series, ODIs and T20 matches. Women are more inclined to play cricket as a professional sports whereas most of the male participants are professional cricket players in Australia (Cricket.com.au, 2016).
2.5 Future Projections of Rugby and Cricket
Rugby is presently played in about 120 nations in the global context and again by entering in Olympics rugby has widened its arena among the myriads of other sports (Alvez, 2017). For an instance, it is a part of the Asian games as well as the Pan American games and at the same time it is creating waves in the international arena like the World University Games along with Olympics. Participation in such multi-sport competition can raise investments from the national Olympic committee.
The number of participants is about 7.6 million globally while the number of female participants has magnificently increased from 200,000 to a 1.7 million in three years. The HSBC sponsored World Rugby Seven’s Series has earned enhanced attention and investment. The Asian spectators are gradually getting attracted to this fast pace game and Olympic coverage has to be given the credit for this improved audience base (Kantar Futures, 2018). According to the predictions of Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the England and Wales cricket board, the future-proof cricket is the T20 format which would cater to the present generation as well as the future generations to come as this generation prefers to stay indoors most of the time and hence a whole day match might not interest them (Martin, 2017).
The Australian cricket conference in Melbourne has moved another step forward in creating a five year plan to improve the future of this game (Mani, 2009). The pivotal focus is to enhance the relevance of Test Cricket by imparting a better infrastructure and wider context. The big Bash League would put equivalent emphasis on the male and female participants to invoke better performance in the international cricket. Female cricketers are the future of international cricket and amplified focus on developing female cricketers would enhance the position of cricket in the world platform.
The consensus reveal that investing in the grassroots, especially in schools and clubs for both boys and girls would improve the growing trend of cricket in Australia and also the world context. Elite cricket would be benefitted by restructuring the game by imbibing the changes that are undergoing in international cricket that takes place between nations and a further robust growth strategy would be to propel the Big Bash league of both men and women in the global platform (Cricket.com.au, 2016).
2.6 Future Funding of Rugby and Cricket
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has determined to gain improved financial output in the next ten years apart from the British and Irish Lions tour while the Super Rugby clubs are still dicey about their future. The Lions had brought about $19.5 million surplus in the year 2013 while the ARU might announce a surplus of $3 million in 2016 in the Annual general meeting (Robinson, 2017).
The conflict among the sports’ chiefs of Australia regarding the future funding model for cricket has redirected the funds into the grassroots game. After the lapse of the contracts in June 2017, the players are opting to search for personal sponsorship. Many players are finding sponsorship from various vehicle manufacturers like Toyota who are actually vehicle sponsors of Australian cricket (Barrett, 2017). There has been a ceaseless dispute between the players and the management which is actually affecting elite cricket in Australia.
The CA demands that the players should share their surplus funds with the association in order to rise about Australian $500 million in the coming five years and this is where the players are reluctant. The increased fund would facilitate the improvements in the grassroots. But funds are pouring in the Indian subcontinent in the Indian Premiere leagues and are attracting the foreign investors who find it to be a really lucrative business (Bhatia, 2017).
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Rugby and cricket have certain characteristics in common and the primary trait is that both these games have been conventionally popular within smaller boundaries, usually within the Commonwealth, but are gradually attaining global domain of popularity. While considering the Rugby World Cup, the difference in points between the “Tier One” nations which are ten in number has reduced from 46 to 20. On the other hand, in the world Cup Cricket, the participants belonging to the non-elite countries have displayed the spectacle of performance (ICC, n.d.). Both the sports have taken up absolutely paradoxical approach in growing the sport in the international domain.
Rugby is dominantly played within 20 nations and they aim at increasing the figure to 24 for the future matches and tournaments (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2018). The inclusion of more and more nations would bring the smaller nations into limelight which would attract further sponsorship and fund in the sport hastening improvement and exposure (Parfitt, 2015). On the other hand, cricket looks upon widening its fan base beyond the core market in the period between2019 to 2023.
Till the year 2023, Australia, England and India would host all the major tournaments of cricket while the next Rugby World Cup would be held in the land of the rising sun- Japan (The Guardian, n.d.). Rugby and cricket are both lucrative international games judging from the current perspective and more and more youngsters and children are getting attached to these two sports for their lucrative future and glamour.
Entering the Olympics have definitely heightened the standard of Rugby and cricket should aim at making their introduction in the multi-sport competition like the Olympics to gain enhances popularity and must encourage females to join the cricket academy for a comprehensive growth (The Economist Newspaper Limited, 2018).
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