So o.k, I’ll be like the first to admit, I don’t really know that much, if anything at all, about rugby.
Well, I have, as the “official” photographer of Rugby New Japan, figured out how to get “ringside” seats at some really cool events. But other than that, I don’t really know much, nor like my more famous colleague, have a thousand opinions on subjects ranging from headgear to, well, um, headgear.
I do, though, have plenty opinions when it comes to proper planning, convenience, and putting on a good show for the fans.
To that end, I’d like to commend the JRFU and KRFU for hosting the Canon vs. South African Blue Bulls match, or game, or whatever it’s called in rugby.
At the same time I’d like to make a couple of suggestions.
If you are going to host a game with an international team, or any team, and you’d like people to show up and enjoy the experience, you might think of the following:
- Play the game in stadium that is accessible by train.
- Start the game at 7:30pm or 8pm so that people who trek from Tokyo or Yokohama, have time to get there after they leave work.
- Play the game in a stadium that doesn’t have a running track around the field.
Hosting a game in Machida, actually Tsurukawa, no actually someplace that I’d never heard of, nor had my friends who have lived in Tsurukawa for ten years, that requires a 20-minute bus ride from the station is not ideal. I’m still like, “where the heck were we?”
Forcing people to stand in lines 200 meters long before and after the game just to get on a bus for a 20-minute ride to the nearest station is not ideal.
Starting the game at 7pm at a venue that requires minimum of 60-90 minutes travel from Tokyo is downright unfair to the fans, many of whom missed the kick off and as much as the first half of the game.
I thought, perhaps that I might be unique in my frustration, but the banter on the bus was pretty much all about how far the venue was from the station and how inconvenient it was. Likewise on the way home, I listened to locals complain non-stop about the bad planning for the event.
Now the stands were more full than empty. And, I think most people had a good time. But, if the goal of the organizers was to promote rugby in Japan by giving the fans an amazing experience, they fell short on several fronts.
Maybe, at future events, the organizers should take public transportation to and from the venues with the fans, so they can get the “full experience.”
But then again, what do I know?
For some photos of the match visit the Rugby News Japan Facebook Page.