This has been an incredibly tough decision to make, and I am sorry for the delay in keeping everyone up to date - confirmation and finalisation of third party obligations has taken a touch longer than anticipated.
I’d like to begin by saying that I am very touched by those who have reached out to enquire about my own personal well being over the last few weeks. It reminds me what a wonderful community you have all been over these years (and makes this decision all the more tough).
My aim with the fantasy has always been to grow engagement with the game of rugby. With FPL drawing such a large audience, I felt that there was a huge hole for a fantasy that really grasped the nuances of the game they play in heaven, so I built the Rugby Mag. From day one I’ve built and managed the game myself, including later the app. It’s been a tough burden to bear, but I genuinely believed that as we grew and we were able to draw in more partners, the game could be expanded and I would be able to take a step back.
This has failed to materialise, and as the user base has grown, so too has the stress involved with running the game. I’d like to note (and say a huge thank you to all of you who did) that those who purchased upgrades have helped sustain the game over the years. It has run at a loss since day one, though not so much that I haven’t been able to cover it. However, costs have been steadily rising over the last few years, and the burden of running the game has increased. Equally, the user base has not increased at such a speed that I could start to engage third parties to support and maintain the game, which has held us back over the years. That said, while some support could be found in this respect, there are greater forces at play that have influenced my decision.
I have worked hard over the years approaching third parties that would help grow the fantasy, and engage a wider audience with the sport, however, I have been surprised by the general apathy of most of those I have encountered (especially given the clear success of FPL). I’ve tried not to let this deter me, but a point has now come where this constant struggle has little distance left to run, and has left me rather out of love with rugby as a whole.
With my passion diminished, and the stress of the game having a (quite honestly severe) impact on myself and my young family, I’ve made the decision to indefinitely suspend the fantasy. I understand this will be frustrating for a great many of you, and I am sorry to have reached this point, but I can no longer put myself through the hardship of running the fantasy.
We’ve had a fantastic run with this game (and I hope (but no promises) that while this season isn’t running, this isn’t the end), and I want to thank all those of you who have played and made it what it has become.
It would be remiss of me not to extend special thanks to those people who have put in an incredible amount of time over the years in supporting both the Rugby Mag as a whole, and the fantasy:
- Ali Stokes, who was ever greater than the Rugby Mag could have allowed him to be, wrote superb articles for me over the years and lent me his shoulder on numerous occasions
- Ben Mills, who kept all of the player data on the fantasy up to date, as well as providing support to users (and again, shoulders for me)
- Craig Swayne, who helped me with social media
- Ed Potter, for testing the app and always there for support
- ‘Anonymous’ at RugbyInsideLine, for being one of the main advancers of the cause
- Morgan Lowrie, for keeping the articles ticking over
- FantasyRugbyGeek for spreading the game far and wide
- Jarred and Ben, the Fantasy Rugby Yanks
There are so many more, and I’m grateful to everyone who has played their small part over the years.
All the best to you all, and I hope you don’t all sit and rock in your chairs on Friday afternoons wondering what to do.