How Much is Touch Worth?

Our leisure time is precious and we demand that our recreational experiences are not only fulfilling but value for money.  So how much are you prepared to pay in order to play Touch and what do you expect in return?  Answer the poll and comment below

Orangutans - ail salfe / second place 2012

Touch requires minimum equipment; a ball, an area to play on and that’s about it.  However, there is a whole sliding scale of optional extras which can have a huge impact on the player’s ‘experience’ and therefore the price.

The Price of Yoga

When you look at organised fitness activities such as Spinning classes or Yoga, you would expect to pay around £5 for 45-60 minute sessions.  What you are paying for is the knowledge that you are lead by a trained instructor, using suitable, safe equipment in a suitable venue, where you can have a shower and change afterwards.

The going rate for playing 5-a-side football is similar.  To play a weekly 30-40 minute match with 5-a-side national operators Leisure Leagues, costs from £22 -£35 per team.  In other words, it’s at least £4.50 per player, per game.  For this you get trained referees, good playing facilities, weekly programmes and an excellent website with fixtures and results for your league regularly updated.

The Price of Touch Poll

Touch leagues usually charge a season fee per team rather than per head.  To keep the maths simple, let’s assume that the costs are based on 10 players playing a 10 week season.   For example, if your team fee is £250, each player pays £25 per season, which is £2.50 each per game.

Based on this, I’ve come up with pricing options and what I think are reasonable expectations based on each price.

  • Free – let’s have a chuck around on the park, no refs, no score-keeping, just for fun
  • £1 per game – let’s all chuck in a quid to pay a mate to referee games for us, games are friendlies and not part of an accredited league
  • £2-3 per game – games officiated by one qualified referee, there is a league website with fixtures and results, plus trophies at the end of the season for winning teams
  • £3-4 per game – all the above, but I want games dual or triple refereed with level 2 or above qualified refs and free playing shirt for everyone in the team
  • £5+ per game – all of the above, plus access to changing and shower facilities and maybe even a nice bar

The (Actual) Price of Touch

I’ve done a quick check of prices to play Touch in three random locations.  These are all well established leagues with many teams already competing each summer.  This is based on the most up to date prices on league websites (either 2012 or 2013).  The price is the fee per team, per season (8-10 games per season).

London (Regent’s Park) £495 per team

Summer 2013, 8 week season, playing t-shirts supplied, 40 minute games

Nottingham £375 per team

Summer 2012, 10 week season, playing t-shirts supplied, 40 minute games

Cardiff £250 per team

Summer 2012, 8 week season, no shirts supplied, 30 minute games

An interesting comparison between playing in the capital of Wales and our English counterpart.  It costs almost double the amount to play Touch in London’s Regent Park, although you do get a snazzy t-shirt, slightly longer match time and the honour of playing in the Queen’s back yard.

Priced out of the game?

To pay a few pounds to play 40 minutes of Touch in an affiliated league seems reasonable in comparison to similar activities, but it can be a barrier to some.  Recent statistics show that adults in the most deprived areas of Wales were more likely to report no physically active days each week.  Can it be true that less well off people are less inclined to take part in physical activity in their leisure time?  Is the cost of many activities the reason for this trend?

The WRU will soon be announcing their fees for 2013 Touch leagues around the country.  If they are to hit their ambitious participation targets for what they are terming ‘Leisure Rugby’, i.e. Touch, then they are going to have to consider their season fees very carefully so as not to exclude large proportions of the Welsh community – the majority of which are not currently participating in sport.

WRU Participation Officers

After all, what is preferable, a large number of people playing the game, but paying less money, or a small, elite group paying a premium?  When Sport Wales is funding the WRU to employ 14 full time Participation Officers to the tune of £400,000 over the next three years in order to bring the game to masses, surely the former is the case.

Let’s hope the 2013 pricing structure is more Hailey Park than Regent’s Park.

What about you?  What are you prepared to pay and what do you expect in return?  Answer the poll and leave your comments below

Gadael Ymateb

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