Thursday, 29 November 2007

Cohen chasing Pink Pound

Ben Cohen, clubless since quitting Northampton Saints after a hissy fit about not being made captain, has (not for the first time) turned his attention to to the pink pound, promoting his “racy” calendar recently at “Prowler” in Soho, the biggest gay store in the country.

The “Real Ben Cohen,” calendar, which commemorates his testimonial year, apparently contains 'striking images of Ben just the way you want to see him – real', according to his press release.

"I think it's fantastic. For a sportsman to do this for gay fans, I think is brilliant and many more should follow," a rugby fan called Paul from Brighton (who’d have thought?) is reported to have said.

The thing is, Paul, this is nothing particularly original. Stade Francais have for the last few years released their “Dieux du Stade” calendars which leave very little to the imagination and are clearly targeted at the gay market. And it’s not a question of altruistic sportsmen doing something for gay fans – this may come as something of a shock but the reality is that they are just after your money. Some of the profits of the Cohen and Stade calendars may go to charity, but the truth is that the pink pound is a new and exploitable target for rugby marketeers.

The pink pound also looks like it may be tinged by a touch of green next year as the latest wheeze from Paddy Power, fresh from its sponsorship of the Tongan team during the Rugby World Cup, is to sponsor next June's Bingham Cup (aka the Gay Rugby World Cup), to be played in Dublin.

The Irish bookmaker appears to have an uncanny knack in coming up with off-the-wall marketing initiatives and, in the Bingham Cup, they've bagged one of the largest amateur rugby tournaments in the world, last year’s competition held in New York featuring 30 teams from gay rugby clubs around the world.

The competition is organised by the the International Gay Rugby Association & Board (which rather conveniently shortens to IGRAB) which, I was surprised to learn, has approximately 40 clubs on is books. I had previously heard of London’s King Cross Steelers and, perhaps naively and somewhat stereotypically, assumed that the likes of Sydney and San Francisco might also have gay rugby clubs, but I’d no idea that so many clubs existed. I do wonder what this says about the rugby community at large – is it a sign of rugby’s inclusive culture or is it rugby's intolerance that has caused gay players to form their own clubs?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I do wonder what this says about the rugby community at large – is it a sign of rugby’s inclusive culture or is it rugby's intolerance that has caused gay players to form their own clubs?"

Surely it says that gay rugby players either play in "normal" teams, if they feel comfortable enough to do so; or choose to sign on to "gay" rugby teams if that's where said player would feel more comfortable.

Cohen is the without a doubt the most well known and 'iconic' player in gay society; I don't see a problem with him doing this or organising a supposed 'gay night' next year.

Nursedude said...

Flanker, when we were in France for the RWC, my daughter bought the "Dieux du Stade" Calender. I gotta tell you that a good chunk of those poses were homo-erotic. On the flip side, the guy who does the french comic "Les Rugbymen" did their own calendar called "Les Odieux du Stade"(Literally the Odious of the Stadium, or loosley translated, "The Ungodly of the Stadium".http://www.bamboo.fr/rugbymen/site/?p=14