Spotlight on women’s rugby at major event in Dublin tomorrow
Former Leinster, Ireland & Lions rugby player, Shane Byrne, will join rugby legend Jim Glennon tomorrow night in Dublin to host a Rugby Business Network (RBN) event to discuss opportunities for the sport and businesses.
The evening will include the topic of women’s rugby and how women’s rugby influences business.
Former Welsh International, Melita Williams, is travelling to the event from Belfast where she currently works as Director of Bespoke Belfast. During the evening, Williams will discuss how the game had an effect on her professional career.
Readers of Gaelick may recall earlier in the year that Shane Byrne was vocal in his support of Ireland’s women in the latest Six Nations, when news emerged of difficulties in travelling to the squad’s away fixture against France. It’s fantastic to see his continued support, and that of the RBN, for the women’s game.
So, what are the potential commercial opportunities or challenges for women’s rugby? And are there opportunities for the women’s game to go professional? If there are, should it?
How can terrestrial broadcasters such as RTÉ, BBC, Setanta Ireland be convinced that women’s rugby should receive comparable coverage to that given to the men’s game, be it at international or club level?
During the World Cup 2010 in England, Sky Sports broadcast each of the England fixtures, earning impressive viewing figures. This was echoed during this year’s Six Nations, when the IRFU streamed the Ireland v Scotland fixture live online, and it became the IRFU’s most watched live stream.
Speaking earlier in the year, she said of her hopes for the sport:
I’d like rugby to be seen as a genderless sport, for the women’s game to be treated the same as the men’s. It should be appreciated for the athletes and people involved.
Alphonsi has also shared her views on professionalism and the women’s game:
The game is becoming more and more professional and the athletes within the women’s game are being presented with different challenges. Who would have thought five years ago that women would be playing on the greatest of stages around the world and people would be taking notice and more female rugby players being recognised and rewarded for their efforts?
With professionalism comes more commitment though and with more commitment there is less flexibility and ones choices become limited. The challenges that now face women rugby players are when do they start planning for their careers? Do they start planning early into their sporting career or do they leave it until they have finished their sporting career and retirement is upon them?
The night’s sponsors are SportforBusiness.com and Teamer.net. SportforBusiness.com recently hosted a round table meeting to discuss women in sport in Ireland, and the possibilities for generating greater commercial support and awareness.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s event, Shane Byrne said:
The Rugby Business Network is a great event for interaction and knowledge sharing with business professionals on all levels to take the rugby teamwork ethos and club camaraderie into a corporate setting.
The RBN is a not for profit venture hosted on business networking online platform Linked In. The Network aims to connect business people with a passion for rugby and aims to become the world’s number one facilitator of business networking. Members of the RBN host networking events all over the world which are free to attend.
Due to the popular demand for the event and tickets being sold out, the RBN hopes to provide another chance for new members to utilise the Network and attend a further Dublin event.
The Network is not just about the game or a career within the game off the field, but is for any professional on any landscape who enjoys rugby.
Key dates coming up in the rugby calendar:
The Rugby Business Network: