I've now watched 3 of the 4 games yesterday. All of which were very entertaining. Really good start for the NRC. I really hope they keep this structure intact. If they do, which they should, they really need to look to really begin to develop the overall package surrounding the competition.
I like the free to view option of the stream. Would like to see them invest more in improving the overall quality to something similar to that offered by the Shute Shield broadcast. From there they could look to pursue a similar arrangement with the likes of 7 to broadcast a game of the round. Potentially even on a delay. Do as MLR in the States does and go for sponsorship revenue split. This would go a long way to helping provide the competition with some much needed exposure.
Working on the game day experience and working with the host venues to draw in better crowds also needs to be high on that list. What GPS did yesterday was fantastic. Looked good on the stream. From there extending the schedule to 10 rounds would also help.
On what I saw the positives:
1. Yes for me the stream on Rugby.com.au was big hit as the fox stream was too complicated and yes you have to have a fox subscription. With stream of all games this is huge game changer imo as finally giving all people access to games without having to have to pay for a subscription. Streaming services the future so this could well get around problem of not being on FTA.
2. Need to make sure stream reliable - Force vs QLD Country game meant lost a lot of people who could not access given only available after 35 minutes.
3. Finally seem to sort out NSW problem child - NSW teams under Tahs seem to be much improved as I did think Sydney side on paper was weak but surprised me for last 60 minutes of their game.
4. Seems nearly all sides found generally nice balance and all taking it seriously - early years chop and change questionable whether all sides taking the competition seriously. Also good to see them giving u20 players game time.
5. Some places seem to be working out how to better maximise game day experience e.g. game at GPS.
6. Having all games on same day - this I thought was really clever to maximise awareness of games on.
7. Streaming games on Rugby.com assume means oppportunities for Rugby Australia to make more money from advertising (video ads when first click on) and help offset costs. I assume we are getting ready for Fox sports dropping NRC completely, noting they are now down to just one game they televise.
8. Streaming all games on Rugby.com.au is making it a central destination for all things NRC which makes it easier for fans to access, build awareness and stickiness.
The negatives or improvement opportunities:
1. I do wonder whether if they can announce provisionally squads towards end of club competitions but while latter still running so the clubs get make more of a fanfare of their players selected for NRC, and promote at the club games getting along to NRC to watch these players play for the NRC teams selected for.
2. Marketing still a challenge - nothing in Sunday papers about yesterdays games.
3. We have got to do something to improve the awareness and marketing of the start of the NRC competition as still one of the best kept secrets.
4. The Melbourne Rising stream was bit ordinary as was the choice of oval where played next to another local game being on oval next door. Does not look good from a viewing experience.
I must have a lot of positive bias as I don't feel I have many more negatives/improvement opportunities at this point.