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Allan Foster View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Allan Foster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Match programmes
    Posted: 11 Mar 2021 at 11:13
At Fylde we're looking at the issue of match programmes. We've produced a 36 or 40 page printed programme for many years, with the usual content - teams (of course), column from the Head Coach, match preview featuring the visitors, league tables, reports from recent senior matches (1sts, 2nds, 3rds etc), mini-junior stuff, recent action photos, player news, community activities etc. Most but not all of this is recycled from the club's website, social media channels, NCA news and so on.

These are sold at £2 or distributed freely to people who dine at the pre-match meal. With advertising and sales, we cover the costs of production (by Minuteman) and make a very small amount of profit. It takes quite a lot of work to do all this and we're wondering whether it's worth the effort given that the info is all available elsewhere. Maybe a simple old fashioned team sheet handed out freely on admission would suffice ... or is this too radical?

My question. Has any NCA club moved to a digital only version and, if so, what has been the spectator reaction? Or any other solution? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard Lowther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2021 at 11:53
A subject close to my heart. 

As someone who collects programmes and appreciates not only the relevance of its use on match day, plus the historical interest years later I hate the idea of digital only programmes, as I fear there will be no long term archival policy in place - following a similar pattern with websites, so all that information is lost to a future generation. 

However, I can understand why more and more clubs (across all sports) are reducing or withdrawing match programmes.  Factors include profit (or more likely loss), duplication with 'Social media' and they are time consuming to prepare and produce. 

A team sheet - with maybe QR codes to link to relevant pages of the website(s) is the answer. I know one football club does this but I can't remember which. 

I have a theory that the decline in programme buying and collecting started not with the introduction of the web/social media but in the physical growth of programmes, which saw them get bigger (A4, no thanks, Bulky, no way) and therefore pricer.  Ironically the bulkier a programme is, the less I find interesting in it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camp Freddie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2021 at 11:55
Morning Allan, just before lockdown hit Lancs RFU were using digital programmes for the age grade games to be downloaded on smart phone or tablet which we trialled giving out for free.

The great thing is there is a lower carbon footprint and the sponsor adverts can be live linked to go straight to their website.

The downside is that programme collectors like my friend Richard Lowther can see the deathknell for hardcopies.

And they were really well received, we made sure we sent the weblinks to download the programme to our opposition in the preceeding week so away fans can download too. I'm sure there would be a way to monetise the whole thing but we are not there yet and as its zero cost there is no pressing need.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rabbie Burns Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2021 at 12:41
Hi Alan, Blackheath moved to Digital a couple of years ago, for all the reasons you state but I don’t think we made a profit on them. They were included in entry fee but as a consequence we used to spend time picking up the ones that people left when they went home. You had to try and second guess crowd sizes otherwise you were left with piles of them or you ran out. Ours is sent out to members as a PDF on Friday evening then available to download on a Saturday morning from our website for all. The other good thing about this is normally match day teams are correct as they come via GMS on Friday afternoon and are the final piece of the program. It certainly saves on cost as also allows a little extra time to complete. We do give out team sheets on the gate on match days but again after an initial surge where everyone took one now a lot read it at the gate and leave them with no clearing up. I think there was a bit of upset at first but now it is accepted as the norm. I did miss it in the beginning but not now
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camquin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2021 at 12:44
Surely the money comes from the advertising (as it does in the paper version).
Provided the sponsors can see the programme pushes links to their pages they should be happy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novocastrian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2021 at 12:57
It would be a shame to see programmes disappear. I agree with Richard, that the insistence on keeping thins digitally, isn't a fool proof way of keeping things for posterity. What happens if files or lost or the website is moved? You risk losing all of that history for years to come. 

From my experience clubs at L6 and above all make programmes, probably due to the fact you are charged to enter and watch the game.

For clubs at L7 and below (particularly in the NE), clubs that do charge will come with a programme, but the vast majority don't charge so a programme is effectively a donated fee - this being the case the programme tends to be a paper insert. Nevertheless a good momento to keep for posterity. Some clubs do put more effort into this however.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote islander Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2021 at 15:09
If you'll forgive a Championship interloper dropping in... Jersey Reds have been digital for last two seasons. This is our most recent effort (sadly from 12.5 months ago!):


I'll say at the outset that I have always liked a traditional programme and have a collection going back to my first visit to Twickenham aged 6, but sadly it seems to be the way of the world that things have moved on and after a while it gets tricky to swim against the tide...

Summarised thoughts below as sent to a Nat 1 club around a year ago:

In general, it has gone pretty well. Previously we were printing a couple of hundred programmes but sales could be as low as 50 with the remainder either given away or thrown away. We had a few grumbles from members to KO with, but not that much, and partly assauged these concerns by sending a team-sheet PDF, along with the actual programme (a web-address hyperlink), to our membership mailing list on Friday afternoons. People wanting a physical/paper record of team names could just print out the PDF.

 

There were also some sponsors who initially thought they were getting less value, but when it was pointed out how many people the prog was going to, with click-through links to their websites, they realised the benefit. We've also talked up the environmental benefits (fewer trees felled!) and the fact that teams are accurate (as announced by 12noon on Friday), rather a mid-week guess by a press officer whose DoR might be irked if accurate info was shared that far ahead of the match.

 

As you'll see, we also include quite a bit of linked video content which of course you can't get with a printed prog. And yes - it has saved quite a bit of money across the season.


I'm not up-to-speed with the technical side of this, but believe it's relatively straightforward.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard Lowther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2021 at 20:27
Originally posted by Camp Freddie Camp Freddie wrote:

Morning Allan, just before lockdown hit Lancs RFU were using digital programmes for the age grade games to be downloaded on smart phone or tablet which we trialled giving out for free.

The great thing is there is a lower carbon footprint and the sponsor adverts can be live linked to go straight to their website.

The downside is that programme collectors like my friend Richard Lowther can see the deathknell for hardcopies.

And they were really well received, we made sure we sent the weblinks to download the programme to our opposition in the preceeding week so away fans can download too. I'm sure there would be a way to monetise the whole thing but we are not there yet and as its zero cost there is no pressing need.

It's part of a wider debate around archival policies for clubs/CB RFUs.  I don't think one club or county has a structured policy in place for archiving or perserving their website, social media, digital programmes etc, so that they are available for a future generation to view. 

I would love to be proved wrong. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kimbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2021 at 23:50
Cov did a digital one (link on this page if anyone is interested https://www.coventryrugby.co.uk/2021/03/06/cov-v-bedford-live-streaming-and-match-day-programme/ ) for last weekend's Bedford game, but I understand that the intention is to go back to a paper one as soon as crowds are permitted.
I certainly hope that's still the case.
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Allan Foster View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Allan Foster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2021 at 10:55
The archiving policies of our clubs, if they exist at all, bother me too Richard. Match programmes are perhaps the most manifest vehicles of our histories. 

Those of us who've been around clubs undertaking media and digital jobs for any length of time know how fragile record keeping is. Changing websites, discarding reports and news deliberately or more likely by accident, is a common experience. Social media is like fish and chip paper, here today, gone tomorrow.

Some of Fylde's back history is now represented in files held on my computer(s) and that's a rubbish situation. I'll try to get around to copying them onto a medium that can be held more or less permanently for the Club in the Lancashire Records Office where our printed stuff is, and on a cloud-based site. But this is all too hand to mouth.

Our histories are too precious to play fast and loose with these matters.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camp Freddie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2021 at 12:37
Allan, I'm currently rebuilding all the playing records / appearances for Lancashire as the paper records were lost about 30 years ago and are untracable. Its 140 years of matches.

I'm doing this from match reports in Newspapers that have been scanned and digitised then uploaded to the internet. Without these in digital format it would be an impossible task and the collated information would be lost forever, so there are some positives.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novocastrian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2021 at 14:25
I'm doing exactly the same with my own club's history. Tracing down every available 1st XV teamlist and result that I can find on the online digital archives. If anything is missing (it happens) I will then have to do it the old fashioned way on Microfilm/bounded newspapers at the city library. It is a thankless task, but incredibly important. 

If clubs don't do this now, who on earth will be bothered to do it when clubs'/counties are 200 years old and everything from the year 2000?? onwards is lost because everything held on websites/internet/social media could well be a thing of the past?

You only have to look at how quickly technology has moved forward in the last 5-10 years. What will it be like in another 50 years? I very much doubt your current pitchero website or club website will still exist. With that you lose all of your stats/results/lower XV results/appearances etc.  

Perhaps paper/books is the best thing to keep for rugby club history and posterity.

Ironic, eh?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Allan Foster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2021 at 16:18
Well done CF and Novocastrians, great work of which you'll probably get little credit Cry

The archiving issue is incredibly important and each club needs to have a policy covering print and digital records. I know that Fylde doesn't and that's not to our credit. Sadly, as with so many clubs, too much work to do, insufficient volunteers to do it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote islander Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2021 at 20:54
There have been some good comments on this thread... and the one on N2 page (why both?! Ermm)

Yes I agree archiving is very important, and almost certainly neglected to a greater or lesser extent by the majority of clubs. Perhaps even the vast majority. It's a big job, and as pointed out there seem to be fewer volunteers, and more pressing tasks to be carried out.

Those who are fans of printed programmes probably tend to be over-50 (I tick both those boxes), so it shows that this is a declining market - if one can't persuade younger supporters of the merits of the printed product, there's little hope for it. Unless there's a 'retro' move back in that direction, as there's been with vinyl music in past 10-15 years.

It's simplistic to say that physical/print archives are safe/reliable while digital ones are liable to get lost - as someone has pointed out, the physical records can also get lost, or burnt, or rot.

The saving grace for me is that we retain a good daily paid-for paper in Jersey that provides good coverage, and back issues are stored electronically via the Jersey Archive, so that provides some reassuring back-up... we have 10 years of records on our website (going back to when we played Fylde in 2011/12 Smile) - that period roughly equates to my tenure, and I'd hate to think they might disappear...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard Lowther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2021 at 22:27
A simple solution for clubs etc is to save each Web page, digital programme etc as a pdf file and at the end of the season have these made into a book and deposit copies of the book with the local library and archive service, not forgetting the library at Twickenham. 

It is a cheap and simple option and should not require much extra effort.

I have found it is easier to research events 150 years ago as opposed to events 5 years ago. 

ESPN Scrum have withdrawn some of their Rugby statistics recently - there one day gone the next.

Who remembers OneRugbyPlace. Com? Probably one of the earliest Rugby sites on the Web or Rivals. Net and their Rugby sites? Both now just memories and all the information gone. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2021 at 12:36
Problem with a lot of online stats is they are inaccurate - whose fault is anyone's guess - could be the clubs or the website, probably both
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 'Hopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2021 at 13:27
Originally posted by Raider999 Raider999 wrote:

Problem with a lot of online stats is they are inaccurate - whose fault is anyone's guess - could be the clubs or the website, probably both

Never rely on Statbunker for 100% accuracy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Allan Foster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2021 at 10:08
Originally posted by 'Hopper 'Hopper wrote:

Originally posted by Raider999 Raider999 wrote:

Problem with a lot of online stats is they are inaccurate - whose fault is anyone's guess - could be the clubs or the website, probably both

Never rely on Statbunker for 100% accuracy.

No, but give due credit to Stephen McCormack for maintaining the longest run of precious data without any contributing funding (to my knowledge) from any official agency for many, many years. Where else can you get anywhere near the depth of player and club level data on the top four levels of English rugby??? An incredible proper database, even if sometimes with errors, going back to the late 1990s. Let's celebrate it and hope that it continues to be maintained!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 'Hopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2021 at 11:38
Originally posted by Allan Foster Allan Foster wrote:

Originally posted by 'Hopper 'Hopper wrote:

Originally posted by Raider999 Raider999 wrote:

Problem with a lot of online stats is they are inaccurate - whose fault is anyone's guess - could be the clubs or the website, probably both

Never rely on Statbunker for 100% accuracy.

No, but give due credit to Stephen McCormack for maintaining the longest run of precious data without any contributing funding (to my knowledge) from any official agency for many, many years. Where else can you get anywhere near the depth of player and club level data on the top four levels of English rugby??? An incredible proper database, even if sometimes with errors, going back to the late 1990s. Let's celebrate it and hope that it continues to be maintained!
Totally agree Allan. Unfortunately the errors usually arise from Match Cards submitted by the clubs
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Allan Foster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2021 at 12:37
Originally posted by 'Hopper 'Hopper wrote:

Originally posted by Allan Foster Allan Foster wrote:

Originally posted by 'Hopper 'Hopper wrote:

Originally posted by Raider999 Raider999 wrote:

Problem with a lot of online stats is they are inaccurate - whose fault is anyone's guess - could be the clubs or the website, probably both

Never rely on Statbunker for 100% accuracy.

No, but give due credit to Stephen McCormack for maintaining the longest run of precious data without any contributing funding (to my knowledge) from any official agency for many, many years. Where else can you get anywhere near the depth of player and club level data on the top four levels of English rugby??? An incredible proper database, even if sometimes with errors, going back to the late 1990s. Let's celebrate it and hope that it continues to be maintained!
Totally agree Allan. Unfortunately the errors usually arise from Match Cards submitted by the clubs

I'm sure that you're right Hopper.
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