Winter is a tough time for Rugby League fans.
Not only must we suffer with gloomy days and cold weather, but we also have to go without our beloved sport for five months until the new season starts up in February.
Thankfully, today’s digitised world means that there are hundreds of things we can do to stay in touch with our clubs, whether it’s attending a live event or connecting with fellow rugby fans online.
Here are five of the best ways to stay in touch with the sport this winter.
Public get-togethers for sports fans are a great way of getting to know people with similar interests to you.
For example, rugby league followers in the UK get several to choose from across the country, mainly in the form of fan villages for special events. Newcastle Quayside, for example, hosted a carnival atmosphere for last year’s Rugby League World Cup, with family activities, food and drink stalls, and an enormous firework display to round things off. There was even a zip line for the more adventurous attendees.
There are also several apps dedicated to meetup events that rugby fans all around the world can take advantage of. Meetup, for example, has a range of options, including tag rugby meetups and even cinema groups.
The bottom line is that rugby fans don’t have to be lonely during the winter break!
Fan rewards platforms
The modern sports fan spends a lot of time online, especially via their smartphones, and they’re frequently looking at ways to connect with their interests through digital mediums.
Fan rewards platforms allow us to do this, offering a digital hub where we can connect with other fans and earn rewards for interacting with our club.
For clubs, it’s an opportunity to join the ranks of successful online businesses that use the ‘carrot’ of a freebie to encourage further purchases. Think of that free bonus no deposit casino that awards you prepaid slots spins, or the Amazon giant which offers you a free trial of its Prime service.
These rewards often embrace the latest technology. Digital tokens have gotten a bad rep recently, but they’re still a collectible for many fans. Unique fan experiences, meanwhile, such as meeting a player, can be once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The best thing about it is the money we spend on a platform goes directly to the club we love, rather than the pockets of third-party advertisers.
Visit a rugby attraction
As the home of rugby, the UK is dotted with special rugby attractions dedicated to devoted fans of the sport.
The Rugby League Museum at the George Hotel in Huddersfield is a great place to start, housing artefacts and photos from the sport’s 127-year history. It’s in an apt place given that it’s where 21 clubs voted to break away from the Rugby Union in 1895.
Another option is to visit a Rugby League stadium, with hosting events for fans who are eager for a look behind the scenes. Wigan Warriors are one such team, with a dedicated ‘Visit’ section on their website, dedicated to showing fans around.
Play rugby video games
Rugby league video games aren’t that common, but when they do come around, they’re worth a look at.
The Rugby League Live series is one of the most popular franchises, allowing players to control various Aussie league teams, with crisp graphics and engaging gameplay.
For gamers aspiring to be the next great rugby coach, Rugby League Manager is a game play simulator where you get to build your own set of players capable of challenging for the game’s biggest honours.
The last edition, RLM 3, was released in 2018, and there are hopes that a fourth will enter the market soon.
Listen to rugby league podcasts
The best podcasts shine a light onto a specific topic or interest and can give us a new perspective that we didn’t have previously.
Rugby league has a generous list of podcasts which fans can immerse themselves in over the cold winter months.
Forty20 is a popular show for UK listeners, recorded in York every Monday and fresh with the latest takes on the beautiful sport. It includes interviews with leading players and live shows where an audience takes part in the proceedings.
If it’s in-depth analysis and tactical discussion you’re looking for, then Rugby League Guru brings an interesting perspective on the Australian RFL, as well as frequent nods to the British league.
In short, you should never be short of podcast choices, or any other rugby league-related material, during the break!