For those of you who do not know me, I am Max – I am a contracting IT Project Manager by day and the proud founder and MD of RuckinRugby too. I am currently between contracts and as always, I use these short gaps to clean up my Website Design & Hosting side of the business.
Although these periods between contracts can be tough, particularly as you get older and you have a family to support – they are also great opportunities for reflection. The website design and hosting company that I run as a side hustle/passion (albeit a rather significant one), has been operating since 2002 when my (now) wife Michelle and I returned to Devon to start a family and I had to put my career on hold. In the 17 years I have been running the company, I have supported many and varied pro bono projects both in the UK and abroad. Mostly they are to serve as an outlet for my own generosity and interests in rugby and helping people but often, they can help give my company exposure in new markets too.
The WCR website is a labour of love and a pro-bono project, and that is a large part of what makes it so great. When you answer to nobody and have no agenda, you have the opportunity to offer people a platform on which they can publish their thoughts without fear of having their words twisted – or worse still, removed. I have offered many writers the opportunity to send me pieces and have them published, – unedited. I also offer the opportunity to individual teams to host their own ‘Team Pages’ like this – (https://womensrugbydata.com/team/west-park-leeds-ladies/) so they can let the public know who they are, where they are and what they’re about. It’s also a chance to give some thanks to their sponsors with links to their websites etc or maybe publishing specific offers on their behalf. Lastly, I offer pages for individual players too.
Last season I contacted every Tier 2 club (8 in the north and 8 in the south) and asked if they would be willing to contribute £10 per month (£120 for the year) to help run the website … only West Park Leeds Ladies and Novocastrians Ladies were willing. One or two others expressed an interest but never really pressed the button. This funding was to support my efforts in 1) Adding Tier 3 to the website (which I did anyway) and 2) Increasing exposure and involvement with Tier 2 by adding team pages and allowing space for sponsors etc.
Incidentally, this is how the project was originally funded when it was called the womenspremiership.co.uk and the ‘Women’s Premiership Group‘ was a private entity outside the RFU and all clubs paid a small sum per year to fund the website.
Last chance saloon
So, here we are. It’s November 2019 and we’re roughly half way through the season. It’s apparent that the clubs involved in Women’s rugby enjoy the service #WCR provide here on the website and through our social media channels and appreciate my support, but do not see it as their place to pay for it – which is fair enough.
As far as I am aware, nobody from Tyrrells, the RFU or World Rugby have any idea that #WCR exists – let alone have an opinion on how it should be funded, and again this is to be expected.
So the remaining option is to have a wealthy and willing benefactor fund #WCR, as I have been doing for the past few years. I did reach out for sponsorship a few times but to date, have not received any interest.
Costs involved in running #WCR include:
1. Continued registration of domain name(s)
2. Web Hosting
3. Web Hosting Security, maintenance and support including backups etc
4. Annual licences for website theme, plug-ins and software
5. Approximately 200 hours a year of time
1 to 4 add up to around £650 per annum of hard cash and 5 equates to around £6 – 10k per annum, but most importantly it’s the accurate and timely manner in which this service is provided that makes it special. #WCR is regularly the first service to have all scores published … and often the only service to point out errors, to both the RFU and clubs.
Of course it will be a shame to lose #WCR and it’s not something I do lightly, but I do not see why it’s something that one person should be funding on their own for the benefit and enjoyment of so many:
Instagram: 1200 Followers – lost of growth possible here, could easily be quadrupled and even become an influencer for young sports women.
Twitter: 6500 Followers and steadily rising.
Facebook: 4000 Followers with no effort – another potential growth area for families of players and clubs.
I’ve had a few offers to help ‘run twitter’ and ‘help with the website’ – thank you – but that isn’t what this is about.
If anybody out there is interested in, or knows somebody who is interested in sponsoring #WCR – please let me know. I strongly believe that a bold British company should cover the costs and put their name to the service as a dedicated and involved sponsor “Here’s this weeks results bought to you by …..”. A company who want to be seen as providing a voice for young women everywhere who want to play rugby and see their names and teams in lights, doing their thing!
Come on British Business … let’s be having you!