Can the live rugby experience be revolutionised by adding referee-spectator interaction and a better big screen experience?
A common theme develops talking to rugby spectators, you go for the atmosphere. So much action happens at such close quarters spectators, 100m from the action, have no idea when something happens – either a penalty is committed or the play carries on.
Should rugby referees take responsibility not just to signal to the players (and in practice half of them have no clue either) what the infringement is, but also to the crowd? Could a series of hand signals (most are there already), better still flags, be developed so the ref could communicate to the crowd precisely what has happened?
Should TV have a responsibility to provide a better stadium experience? The ref is mic’ed up already, what if he just told the TV director the play (foul or otherwise), they could put this on the big screen, overlaid on a replay clip if available?
A rugby game is not that different than going to a music concert. It is great to see the whole act, but when the lead guitarist is playing a solo you really what to see the skill of his hands on the fretboard. Big screens are an intrinsic part of a concert experience. Concert producers don’t try and improve the live music experience by playing rugby on the big screens, so why do rugby event producers play music to improve the rugby experience, rather than maximising the rugby?
Should rugby re-think what it means to attend a game? It is not all about the players and the referee, the spectators are as much a part of the event and need to be treated accordingly.