Superbowl-style halftime shows at next year’s Rugby World Cup would help win over new fans, claims England prop Ellis Genge, after he teamed up with Jay Z’s agency Roc Nation.
- The NFL has incorporated halftime shows into big events like the Superbowl.
- England prop Ellis Genge thinks the Rugby World Cup should do the same
- Genge, who joined Jay Z’s agency Roc Nation, thinks he’ll gain new fans
- Rugby only has a 15-minute half-time break, leading to logistical problems
England prop Ellis Genge has backed proposals for NFL-style halftime shows to shake up next year’s World Cup.
Genge signed with Jay Z’s agency Roc Nation, who played a key role in securing Rihanna as the headlining act for the 2023 Super Bowl.
Rugby is desperate to engage new audiences and Roc Nation CEO Michael Yormark recently met with the World Cup organizing committee to discuss a ‘grand opening event’.
The NFL has made it a fixture of the Superbowl to put on an extravagant halftime show.
England prop Ellis Genge believes rugby will gain new fans if the World Cup does the same
Half-time breaks in rugby matches traditionally don’t exceed 15 minutes, but Genge believes the sport needs to be open-minded to accept the change.
“My friends only come to watch games because I’m playing,” Genge said. ‘If you bring in an artist they like, a lot more people from that demographic will come.
‘Half time is 15 minutes in rugby so they will do well to build a stage and get a star in and out of that time. But these are the challenges we have to think about and push. We could potentially get more treatment at halftime and come out feeling a little more relaxed.
It has always been the same. That is a problem with rugby. There are many things that have always been the same and that is why we need a change.
Jay Z’s agency Roc Nation (right) has signed Genge, adding to its roster of stars
‘If you are afraid to change, you will get the same thing over and over again. Why not hit the reset button?’
English club rugby is currently struggling with overcrowded schedules, and Genge was unable to play in Friday night’s match against Newcastle due to load management. He believes a reduced game schedule could improve the show.
“I guarantee you 100 percent of the teams on the weekend have a bump or a nuisance,” said Genge, who was speaking at the Leaders Week conference. “Everyone is suffering and it’s just a matter of who gets through it the best.
“Imagine the product you’d get if you could rest people more effectively, bring in halftime shows, make games more spectacular, and see people at their best, maybe every other week.”
The Bristol Bears star has called on rugby to ‘change’ and not stick to how things have been
Genge (right) addressed the topic of halftime shows at the Leaders’ Week conference
With the domestic club game struggling with an aging audience, Genge also believes the sport should take more advantage of the growing world of sports documentaries.
“I am aware of what needs to change to make rugby look different,” Genge said.
‘All my friends think it’s just chinos and jackets and to be fair it probably is now. My mother never saw F1 in her life, but she saw drive to survive and now she absolutely loves him. That’s a woman who grew up in Bristol, she worked as a secretary for 15 years and never had anything to do with cars.
“You can see the power that a really well-produced documentary can have around the world. Domestically in the Premiership I think it would be brilliant. Everybody has to open up, including the coaches.
Rihanna announced that she will headline the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show with a close-up image of her holding a soccer ball with her tattooed hand.