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It has taken a while, but in the latest episode of The Carter Divide, Ethan and I finally talk about some college rugby.
One of the first things I showed to Ethan, in my quest to turn him into a real rugby fan, was a PRO match. Having watched a little Super Rugby, he was not impressed. In fact, he was rather dismissive. Nearly 10 months later, when he watched a full college match, there was nothing dismissive about his reaction. He enjoyed the match, even if he didn't quite watch the one he was supposed to.
My focus in converting Ethan into a fan has been on professional and international rugby. However, when sports fans watch college athletics, there is already an understanding that the spectacle is about more than simply the play on the field. That means that it might be easier to attract fans to the college level than a new professional league. Ethan's reactions support this kind of thinking.
For sure, I love watching the Eagles, and cannot wait for a professional league to gain traction. Still, collegiate rugby should be viewed not only as a tool for development, but also as its own commercial entity with serious potential.