Spike will be airing the NRL playoffs and championship match starting tomorrow night. NRL is, of course, the National Rugby League but if you’ve never heard of it before don’t be too surprised. It’s not our National Rugby League (although there are a couple of U.S.-based rugby leagues. Who knew?) It’s coming to America from Australia. (How can they do that? I thought we had a monopoly on calling our leagues national. It’s very confusing.)
Rugby is apparently quite popular in Australia but how many people in the 100 million homes Spike reaches even know what rugby is much less how it’s played, what the rules are or, least likely of all, find it captivating sports entertainment? Heck, is it more popular in Australia than Australian Rules Football? Inquiring minds want to know because once upon a time during the dark ages of cable sports ESPN used to broadcast Aussie Rules Football in the middle of the night.
I suppose paintballers should have realized–and when I say paintballers I mean me–the position competitive paintball was in when you could watch Major League Lacrosse on basic cable. But rugby? C’mon! That’s like putting soccer on TV! Oh, wait, they do actually put soccer on TV, don’t they? I mean what does rugby have that paintball doesn’t? Other than stuff like an actual league, national federations, fans and somebody who talked some Spike executive into putting them on American TV. Other than that.
I’m gonna DVR it not because I’m particularly interested in rugby but I do want to see the commercials.