This weekend USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville issued a lengthy apology for not having a live webstream of the USA v. Russia game.
The move is somewhat unprecedented in that the USA team has, many times, played with no TV coverage or webstream coverage, and in those instances USA Rugby has usually shown a "yeah, so what?" attitude. But, in addition, this statement by Melville was different because it referred to a game not played in the United States.
Essentially, Melville was apologizing because USA Rugby didn't provide live video coverage from a country several thousand miles away of a game that, until fairly recently, they thought was going to be shown live by the IRB.
Even then, they attempted to get it together, but were stymied by huge bandwidth costs.
I say, Nigel Melville has nothing to apologize for. I am glad he did it, and I am very glad USA Rugby posted the team video of the game. It's obvious fans want to see it. But any comments (and there were plenty, even on USA Rugby's own website) that say USA Rugby dropped the ball are too harsh.
Sure, you could livestream your kid's little league game, but who cares if the quality is lousy? And, for that matter, try providing video coverage of a rugby game, where you can't get close to the action with an iffy camera. Try showcasing your country's national team with a poor camera.
I say USA Rugby made the right call by not spending huge amounts of money to stream the game live at short notice. I also think that in the future, this type of coverage has to be provided for every game. It is easier than it used to be to live-stream rugby games. It costs some money for equipment, but not a huge amount. So USA Rugby should start thinking about not relying on others to stream games overseas, and starting doing it themselves.
The host team has rights for their TV coverage? Great, geo-block the stream to just USA. Just one camera? If it's a good camera, and a good internet connection (critical for a webstream), then one camera is fine.
Anyway, thanks, Nigel, for the apology. I, for one, appreciate someone taking a little responsibility and not just ignoring the fact that fans wanted to see the game. But at the same time, you didn't need to give us one, or at least, not one so serious. And even if maybe an apology was necessary, I would suggest to those who want to singe USA Rugby for this episode, pull back your firebrands and wait for something worthwhile to complain about.