If you want to talk NFL then I’ll quote you one of my favourite ever sporting quotes from the Cleveland Browns owner in 1955: “We are 30 fatcat Republicans voting socialist”. This was summing up the league’s decision to NOT follow a free market hierarchical pattern (NY Giants had a solo megabucks TV deal lined up, which they were persuaded to reject) and instead pool resources to create the most competitive and exciting product, which to this day bears ever increasing dividends.
2 words: revenue sharing. The NFL ensures that the Green Bay (100,000 population) franchise gets a cut of every Dallas Cowboys jersey that is sold. Moreover though, Green Bay serves the much wider Wisconsin area and doesn’t (unlike Castleford) have a ton of competitors on its doorstep. Similarly, New England is a huge metropolitan (and sport-mad) area. That they had a poor team once isn’t in dispute but that they and Green Bay are roughly as attractive to investors as the franchises in New York, Chicago et al also isn’t and is ultimately the reason both have had great periods of success.
It’s all about latent fanbases and placing teams where they can and should work (ie London). Your argument only serves to work against you I’m afraid. Castleford Tigers can never and will never be a success in the modern era. They’re small fry in an overly congested marketplace and nothing more than a historical curio known to long-standing RL fans over about 35 and precisely no-one else. And damaging to the league as a competitive entity.
I absolutely agree with you re revenue sharing and have posted on it's merits before.
However, the same could be said to you, as you have said to me, namely your very argument serves to work against you. If we had revenue sharing, the smaller market teams, like Castleford would be successful. What is the over 35 point about. Do Castleford not have childfren and young men and women in their fan base?
The New England sucess only really took off when Mr Kraft took over and heavily invested in the team. If Castleford find the money they can do the same.
RL only has one team in a big City, with even a semi dominant position and that is Leeds. The USA has multiple multi million population cities at the disposal of the NFL. The UK does not and RL, in particular, has always operated more in the small town to small City milieu. We will never be in the position of the NFL sizewise but we can mimic them on a smaller scale and Castleford are a viable SL member using that scenario. Their catchment area is larger than their town just as New Englands is much larger than Foxboro. There are enough hinterland villages around Castleford to sustain the supporter base.
That they are in trouble now is indisputable but who is to say this is permanent. Is Widnes much bigger than Castleford with Warrington in the living room, never mind on the doorstep ? Money is the key. Other examples are Wakefield, London, Hull, Hull KR, Wigan, Warrington and yes, even Leeds, our one big city club. Bradford are the embodiment of the paucity of your big team argument. They had the crowds, the fan base and a City to themselves but they went bust. I repeat, money is the key. London, jeez London, there it's all about the money. Without it they would be history. Fanbases are fine but if they are latent and you can never unlock those latent numbers, what good does it do ?
Damaging as a competitve entity you say. Didn't Catalans go from worst to first ( well almost).? Didn't Huddersfield and Wakefield and even Crusaders go from basket case teams to playoffspots.? Didn't the mighty Hull miss the playoffs. Castleford can improve in that area. Who is to say they can't. History says they can.
So, Castleford can be our Green Bay or Buffalo. In a country as small as ours and as dominated by soccer as it is, both big in relative terms like Leeds are important but we must have smaller clubs like Castleford, Widnes and Huddersfield in the equation as well. Four team leagues don't cut it.