Apologies for the misunderstanding. I can see where you're coming from, but realistically the Pacific Nations are the strongest area for growth at the moment, even if that means using heritage qualified players. The sport is light years away from having even a meaningful presence in the US. Internal politics has intervened in Russia, and all the other European nations are basically just running small comps as a way of forming international teams.
I disagree about the Pacific nations being a stronger area for growth than others. Does any team in one of their domestic competitions draw as well as the Jacksonville Axemen? I don't have figures on it but somehow I think not. Actually RL's prospects in the US are a lot better than you suggest. RL is unique among international sports in having many parallels to the most popular of American sports, American football. The millions of Americans who've grown up with that sport will find RL easy to understand since it has all the same basic concepts. That allows RL to be promoted there as an international brand of football in the American sense of the word. Apparently some people in the Jacksonville media already consider RL "the other football" from what I've read. That combined with its' low cost make the proposed US pro league a ground floor opportunity for well-heeled Americans wanting to get into the pro sports business, and there are probably thousands of them around. With the right plan there could be a natural fit.
What holds the sport back is the focus on club football - SL and NRL - that's where all the money goes. The game at international level needs big money investment. I just don't see where it's going to come from. Most developing nations seem to rely on one or two individuals to drive it. When they leave, the momentum goes and the interest is lost. What it needs is a strong RLIF to back these people up with finance and actual help. I guess that's where your point about adding commercial value comes in again.
Financially RL is a long way behind other pro sports, especially internationally. The AU$5 million profit from the last World Cup is peanuts compared to other sports' World Cups, a small drop in the bucket. The game needs to broaden its' reach to places that can add big bucks to that to catch up. The US is the place to make that happen. American TV networks spend $ billions every year broadcasting sports, there's huge potential if RL can reach even a fraction of the millions of Americans who watch sports. One NCAA conference earns $200 million a year from TV (CBS and ESPN) all by itself. That's more than double what 9 and Fox combined are currently paying the NRL -- for college sports! Getting a piece of that pie would do more for RL than anything else ever could.
Is it easy to do? Not even remotely as I'm sure all those in American RL could attest. Would it the best thing that ever happened to the game? You bet your life it would.
Edited by Big Picture, 18 November 2010 - 05:44 PM.