Brisbane Tens was doomed from the start
RUGBY UNION: The Brisbane Global Tens was doomed from its conception.
The sad images of empty stands at Suncorp Stadium on the opening day of the international rugby club event show the entire concept of 10-man rugby as a gala weekend was a complete pooch screw from beginning to end.
The festival atmosphere embraced by sporting events like rugby sevens, darts and - more recently - one-day cricket has clearly been proven a success for event organisers, blending sport and entertainment into one package.
The attempt by Brisbane Tens organiser Duco Events to come to the party 10 years after sports like rugby sevens and darts first embraced the idea of festival atmospheres at sporting events is shameless.
The New Zealand-based sports event management company is on to a winner with the annual rugby league Auckland Nines, but its attempt to pivot the same strategy into an abbreviated club-based rugby competition was lazy, arrogant and a complete misread of the Brisbane sporting landscape.
Bold claims from event organisers on Friday that crowds of up to 30,000 people would attend on Saturday and yesterday were clearly off the mark.
According to reports, the crowd of more than 20,000 on day one retreated to the shade at the back of the stands, making Suncorp Stadium look more vacant than it was.
The event had been struggling with sluggish ticket sales before the Bureau of Meteorology started painting a scary picture for Brisbane over the weekend.
The east coast heatwave simply put the final nail in the coffin, but it's a cop-out to blame the concept's poor showing on the forecasts of 36-degree temperatures in Brisbane.
Most teams sent weak squads to the tournament, holding back their stars for the Super Rugby season.
None of the All Blacks players were cleared to compete. Even French club Toulon left most of its stars, including Ma'a Nonu, back home.
It is now embarrassingly obvious why, before the event had even been staged, there were reports the Tens would not remain in Brisbane next year.
According to The Courier-Mail, Suncorp Stadium may instead host the rugby league Nines next season in a straight swap with Auckland for the Tens.
NRL boss Todd Greenberg has already said the Australian Rugby League Commission is exploring the idea of moving the Nines to Brisbane in 2019.
An estimated crowd of just 22,000 attended the Nines this year, after the concept initially attracted sell-out crowds at Auckland's 50,000 Eden Park.
Duco Events, which created the Nines concept, brokered a five-year agreement with the NRL, which expires following next year's event.
Unlike its rugby league big brother event, the Tens is not a unique concept.
Where rugby league has thrived in a gala day format with players given additional space to play razzle-dazzle football, rugby's Tens concept simply comes across as a clunkier, more congested and less meaningful version of rugby sevens.
With sevens rugby expanding its foothold around the world in recent years with a boost from its inclusion in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Tens is just the equivalent of Thirty30 cricket.
On paper, the format never looked like working. In execution, it hasn't.