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#581 The Parksider

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:36 PM

RL could easily be on a par with the French competition now, were there no SKY deal.


Anyone like to disagree??

#582 Ackroman

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:50 PM

The REAL question is what state would the game have been in if the clubs had refused the deal by insisting the money be paid to SLE for things SKY didn't want to provide it for.

That's the comparison.

Compare RL today with what it would be today if we had turned SKY down.


No it isn't. That is a pointless exercise. I was referring to Dave T's question over whether money had made things worse. Just looking at your own answers it seems the only things that have improved are;

1. we have attracted more money. A significant improvement
2. France but more evidence needed.

However, what you can't claim as a benefit because of the "facts" are;

1 The overall balance at the gates. No real significant improvement across the game. I would need to see evidence.
2 We have professional academies and boosted Junior involvement in SL areas? So where's the benefit? Where's the evidence other than the fact we don't have more players on the rosta's which is a fact. It's like saying we have more red shirts in the League so it's better.
3. More respect? What? Are the press, media and potential sponsors battering down the door? Do we read reams of copy saying just how well RL is run? Or are you referring to stomewall and the RL campaign for equal rights and respect? Laudable but not a result of more money in the game,
4. London. On what evidence? The evidence from the Welsh experiment suggesst that having an SL club has no link to involvement in the game so London will be fine. It would also be useful to know when the London revival began so we have a baseline to work from.

#583 Ackroman

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

Anyone like to disagree??


Would either of you like to show us evidence or simply shout counter arguments without any basis either?

#584 keighley

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:56 PM

I certainly like your analysis of the problem with Superleague. Those at the top seem to be rather intransigent towards the changes that could make superleague a much much better competition. I think Hetherington recognises this - wether he can get people to do anything about it is another matter.

He'll certainly use your analysis that SL could collapse if things just drift on (albeit I'm not sure SKY care about what people say SKY see as "filler"). We know there'll be no "even competition" anymore, unless there are changes, now that we have seen over the last 12 months how SL clubs have struggled and few rich people have bothered to come in to help.

I'm not sure what bullet should have been bit in 1995 Tro? Mergers?? or the rejection of SKY's demands for an elite competition to take all of the TV money?

Mergers (of all the new fans, money, sponsors and best players) by stealth continue to very slowly come about. The collapse of cas and HKR can advance Wakefield and Hull's cause, but after 17 years it's a shame on SLE that they do not have their house in any sort of order.

As for a rejection of the SKY demands/money I do challenge anyone to set out how that would have done anything but sent the game into a busted regional oddity, therefore i disagree SKY money has been bad for the game.

It has however been very badly used.......


I absolutely agree with you. There is no way the game could have turned down the Sky money. The game, and I mean the whole game, from the top teams down was in serious danger of total collapse and extinction in 1995. The Sky money was like manna from heaven and saved the game.

I also agree with you that the money has been badly used. It was obvious from the outset that the SL clubs were to get the lions share of the SKy largesse but they were totally greedy and took it all or as near as possible.

If they had given a larger share to the CC clubs, the disparity between the two competitons would not have been as big as it is. This would have allowed them to be ready to step up more easily.

The other part of the SL greed for the money was the abolishing of p and r. It was working perfectly well and there were no yo yo teams but the very thought that they might lose their share on relegation caused the ring fence to be built and the drawbridge to be raised. This compounded the pauperiszation of the CC clubs which had been created by denying them a reasonable share of the Sky money at the get go.

#585 Ackroman

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

Why, when people decry International competition at the top do they never acknowledge just how far the Aussie comp has moved on and the quality of their team?


I asked a question. I didn't decry it. Parky answered it and said it hadn't improved. Money in the English game hasn't improved our ability to compete.
Are you saying therefore we need more to compete?

If you asked me to jump 6 foot high, I would try and fail. If you asked me to jump 6 foot high for a million pounds I would try and still fail.

The root of the problem is as you suggest elsewhere, how we spend the money. Giving it to an "Elite" group of clubs to spend at will on players as that is what SKY want (I quot Parky here) has failed.

So what do you suggest other than pointing at the opposition and saying how big they are?

#586 keighley

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:59 PM

I'm fairly certain that if RL had rejected the SKY money, Australian clubs would also have rejected theirs and would not have advanced one inch from that point. :rolleyes:


Many of them did reject the SL, others didn't, and Murdoch created new teams, Adelaide, Hunter valley and others to make his SL big enough to compete with the ARL competition. I don't think you are correct on that point.

#587 Padge

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:00 PM

I absolutely agree with you. There is no way the game could have turned down the Sky money. The game, and I mean the whole game, from the top teams down was in serious danger of total collapse and extinction in 1995. The Sky money was like manna from heaven and saved the game.

I also agree with you that the money has been badly used. It was obvious from the outset that the SL clubs were to get the lions share of the SKy largesse but they were totally greedy and took it all or as near as possible.

If they had given a larger share to the CC clubs, the disparity between the two competitons would not have been as big as it is. This would have allowed them to be ready to step up more easily.

The other part of the SL greed for the money was the abolishing of p and r. It was working perfectly well and there were no yo yo teams but the very thought that they might lose their share on relegation caused the ring fence to be built and the drawbridge to be raised. This compounded the pauperiszation of the CC clubs which had been created by denying them a reasonable share of the Sky money at the get go.

A bit of a rewrite of history but hey-ho.

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#588 Ackroman

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:03 PM

I absolutely agree with you. There is no way the game could have turned down the Sky money. The game, and I mean the whole game, from the top teams down was in serious danger of total collapse and extinction in 1995. The Sky money was like manna from heaven and saved the game.


I agree we couldn't turn it down.

However the domesday scenario is not necessarily a fair comment because in that time a lot of clubs have still "failed". So the SKY money didn't "save" everyone or even most clubs. This is more misinformation. It also does not answer why those that did fail have rebuilt without Sky money and still survive or even prosper. Maybe someone could ask Mark Aston what he thinks about how Sky saved Sheffield from the brink of disaster?

#589 keighley

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:24 PM

I agree we couldn't turn it down.

However the domesday scenario is not necessarily a fair comment because in that time a lot of clubs have still "failed". So the SKY money didn't "save" everyone or even most clubs. This is more misinformation. It also does not answer why those that did fail have rebuilt without Sky money and still survive or even prosper. Maybe someone could ask Mark Aston what he thinks about how Sky saved Sheffield from the brink of disaster?


Did you read the rest of my post where I said the money should have been distributed more fairly with a bigger share going to the CC clubs. Also, at the beginning, the first Murdoch offer was rejected and he came back with an improved offer with extra millions for CC clubs. this was a one off arrangement to placate those clubs not in SL but it surely helped many CC clubs. If only this had been included in the next Sky deal or there had been a better distribution,the CC clubs would have done much better.

I think if there had not been any Sky money, many many clubs, including a bunch in SL would have gone belly up. As it was we lost Oldham, Workington and Halifax from the original SL even with the Sky money.

As to Sheffield, I don't know how they did it. They were completely shafted by the Shuddersfield merger and died. Aston resurrected a club, who were barely voted into the league, and has taken it to the CC Championship. He did this in an expansion area. Somebody should write a biography of what he has achieved in RL as a player, coach and administrator with an explanation of how he had managed the Eagles rebirth and rise. it would make interesting reading. Some top division scouting team missed a gem in him.

#590 Johnoco

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:34 PM

Would either of you like to show us evidence or simply shout counter arguments without any basis either?

And what evidence are you providing exactly? All your arguments are based on 'if me auntie had balls' theory.

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#591 Johnoco

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:35 PM

Many of them did reject the SL, others didn't, and Murdoch created new teams, Adelaide, Hunter valley and others to make his SL big enough to compete with the ARL competition. I don't think you are correct on that point.


OK then, rejected ALL money, Murdoch OR Packer or anyone else.

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#592 Johnoco

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:40 PM

So what do you suggest other than pointing at the opposition and saying how big they are?


A bit of an acknowledgement that we haven't actually stood still but they have moved further than we have, would be a start. It would make a change form constantly trashing the English RL game. (not saying you)

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#593 Padge

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:45 PM

When News International decided to fight for the TV rights to Australian RL, Packer predicted what Murdoch would do, since he pulled the exact same move with cricket years earlier.

If Australian RL would not play ball with Murdoch then the plan was to create an alternative competition and to sign up the best players in the world to play in it. In Australia some clubs, lead by The Brisbane Broncos, wanted to sign up to the new deal from news international other wanted to stay with Packer. Packer seeing the threat suggested to the ARL that they start to sign up the best players on long term contracts tying them to the ARL competition and thus to CH9 and Packer. This started a bidding war for the worlds best players which was slowly drawing in British players.

Murdoch realised that it may be easier to gain control if he could stem the flow of British talent to Australia and sign up the best of British to his league. In order to do this he would have to ensure that British players would be offered contracts that would ensure that they wouldn't be tempted to take a Packer contract. Also if he could sign up the RFL to his league he would effectively have control of the international competition as well.

Murdoch will have been well aware what state the British game was in financially and so knew any big money offer would be looked on favourably by the RFL, the problem was though that it was the whole game that was in trouble and not just a few clubs. If he wrote a big cheque to the RFL the money would be dilluted if it was handed out between all the clubs, dilluted to the point where the contracts offered would not be enoough to stop the top players leaving to go to Australia.

The way to ensure the money was used for the purpose intended, to provide him with a competition with elite players paid highly enough to avoid temptation, was to offer a deal not to the RFL but to the clubs who would be in the Elite league. Hence SL was born as a stand alone group of clubs all with an equal share holding in the SL business. The Murdoch contract was with this group and no other, the purpose of the contract was to ensure that players could become fully pro and be highly paid.

This wasn't about the greed of the clubs this was purely about how a business handing over a lot of money to protect its interests ensured that its interests were indeed protected.

The RFL had effectively been sidelined by Murdoch, the British game had protection of its top players from raids by Australian clubs and British players could at last get paid enough to become full time.

If Murdoch had handed the money to the RFL to bail out the whole league then he was well aware that he would not get what he needed, he would just being off the entire leagues debts and he would still be in danger of losing the very best of British to Packer.

In summary the money wasn't handed over to save the game, it was handed over to give the top players better contracts and effectively sign up the top players to ESL who Murdoch had the contract with.

Edited by Padge, 05 December 2012 - 03:04 PM.


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#594 Ackroman

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:51 PM

Did you read the rest of my post where I said the money should have been distributed more fairly with a bigger share going to the CC clubs. Also, at the beginning, the first Murdoch offer was rejected and he came back with an improved offer with extra millions for CC clubs. this was a one off arrangement to placate those clubs not in SL but it surely helped many CC clubs. If only this had been included in the next Sky deal or there had been a better distribution,the CC clubs would have done much better.

I think if there had not been any Sky money, many many clubs, including a bunch in SL would have gone belly up. As it was we lost Oldham, Workington and Halifax from the original SL even with the Sky money.

As to Sheffield, I don't know how they did it. They were completely shafted by the Shuddersfield merger and died. Aston resurrected a club, who were barely voted into the league, and has taken it to the CC Championship. He did this in an expansion area. Somebody should write a biography of what he has achieved in RL as a player, coach and administrator with an explanation of how he had managed the Eagles rebirth and rise. it would make interesting reading. Some top division scouting team missed a gem in him.


I did read your post but I wasn't referring negatively to it. I just wanted to address the idea that Sky's entry into our game is evidence it was going to end without it. The only evidence we have is that Sky's intervention created a full time comp. The other evidence is that their intervention did not prevent failure in many, many cases, regardless of the size of handout.

#595 Ackroman

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:57 PM

When News International decided to fight for the TV rights to Australian RL, Packer predicted what Murdoch would do, since he pulled the exact same move with

cricket years earlier.

If Australian RL would not play ball with Murdoch then the plan was to create an alternative competition and to sign up the best players in the world to play in it. In

Australia some clubs, lead by The Brisbane Broncos, wanted to sign up to the new deal from news international other wanted to stay with Packer. Packer seeing the

threat suggested to the ARL that they start to sign up the best players on long term contracts tying them to the ARL competition and thus to CH9 and Packer. This

started a bidding war for the worlds best players which was slowly drawing in British players.

Murdoch realised that it may be easier to gain control if he could stem the flow of British talent to Australia and sign up the best of British to his league. In order to do

this he would have to ensure that British players would be offered contracts that would ensure that they wouldn't be tempted to take a Packer contract. Also if he could

sign up the RFL to his league he would effectively have control of the international competition as well.

Murdoch will have been well aware what state the British game was in financially and so knew any big money offer would be looked on favourably by the RFL, the

problem was though that it was the whole game that was in trouble and not just a few clubs. If he wrote a big cheque to the RFL the money would be dilluted if it was

handed out between all the clubs, dilluted to the point where the contracts offered would not be enoough to stop the top players leaving to go to Australia.

The way to ensure the money was used for the purpose intended, to provide him with a competition with elite players paid highly enough to avoid temptation, was to

offer a deal not to the RFL but to the clubs who would be in the Elite league. Hence SL was born as a stand alone group of clubs all with an equal share holding in the

SL business. The Murdoch contract was with this group and no other, the purpose of the contract was to ensure that players could become fully pro and be highly paid.

This wasn't about the greed of the clubs this was purely about how a business handing over a lot of money to protect its interests ensured that its interests were indeed

protected.

The RFL had effectively been sidelined by Murdoch, the British game had protection of its top players from raids by Australian clubs and British players could at last

get paid enough to become full time.

If Murdoch had handed the money to the RFL to bail out the whole league then he was well aware that he would not get what he needed, he would just being off the

entire leagues debts and he would still be in danger of losing the very best of British to Packer.

In summary the money wasn't handed over to save the game, it was handed over to give the top players better contracts and effectively sign up the top players to ESL who Murdoch had the contract with.

Thanks for that summary. It makes it clear SL was not set up for the good of the game, it was for the good of the players/SL. Neither it is evidence that the game would have folded without Sky, although it suggests we would have potentially lost players.

#596 Ackroman

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:01 PM

A bit of an acknowledgement that we haven't actually stood still but they have moved further than we have, would be a start. It would make a change form constantly trashing the English RL game. (not saying you)


Appreciate the last bit and in relation to the recent post by Padge. It seems Murdoch put an "equal" rating on British and Anipodean players at the inception of SL but does the evidence suggest that valuation was quickly downgraded when the clubs actually played each other in the expanded WCC? it also gives some idea as to why the rest of RL ended up out in the cold. We just couldn't match his expectations.

#597 Dave T

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:09 PM

It helps if you measure it against some criteria.

International competitiveness Has it improve. Do we have more teams to play that can compete?
Domestic competitiveness. Do we have more talent in the playing rosta's.
Inclusivity - how broad a brush do we have. How many clubs are pushing to get included in the money.
Accessibilty for fans. Where can we watch it? Do we flick channels that is wall to wall RL. Is it round the corner for most fans.
Cost. Is it cheap enough to access
Variety - Do we see enough different teams
Trophies - Do we see enough valid competitions
Exposure - Do we push it and do we get treated fairly in the press. Do we sell good stories or fight fires over bad.
Assets - What grounds do we own. What brands and market places do we exist in
What do clubs owe against what they own.

IMO the money has gone into building squads to compete in SL and not a lot else. A lot of clubs sold their crown jewels to build and fund those squads rather than admit it was bar that was too high other than for 4 or 5 teams.

Some of these criteria are strange to say the least, and tbh smack of being created to simply support P&R and criticise SL.

I don;t see what's wrong with people just saying they loved P&R and they want it back. It doesn;t have to go down the route of criticising everything.

#598 Padge

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

Appreciate the last bit and in relation to the recent post by Padge. It seems Murdoch put an "equal" rating on British and Anipodean players at the inception of SL but does the evidence suggest that valuation was quickly downgraded when the clubs actually played each other in the expanded WCC? it also gives some idea as to why the rest of RL ended up out in the cold. We just couldn't match his expectations.

I think the British game was downgraded for failing to deliver what was agreed.


Thanks for that summary. It makes it clear SL was not set up for the good of the game, it was for the good of the players/SL. Neither it is evidence that the game would have folded without Sky, although it suggests we would have potentially lost players.

Without Sky the game would have been stripped of its best players, the game had no money to compete with Packer and Murdoch (don't forget if the RFL had told Murdoch to do one he would have been in the market for British players to fill places in his Aussie clubs), with a drain of talent and financially slowly bleeding to death the game was going to be a gonner. Murdoch could have pulled the plug on the existing TV contract leaving us in having to sell a game who had just quite openly had its best players removed to an already indifferent British TV service. The money offered would have been peanuts if we were offered any.

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#599 Keith T

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:34 PM

Vic Wakelin, one of Murdoch's trusted and dependable lieutenants wrote in the book "Super League - The First Ten Years" by Phil Caplan and Jonathon R Dodge, - "Twice during the initial negotiations in 1995, the RFL went back to Sky and raised the ante, partly to assuage clubs outside the initially proposed structure that they would not be cut financially adrift. Many assume that it was the conductor who was leading the orchestra down the road of mergers and a broader geographical base to Super League. There was certainly never any requirements from Sky's point of view to have a European element to Super League."

Wakelin also says that the RFL already had a document "Framing the Future" which proposed taking the game from winter to summer and he says, "the RFL approached us and told us what they were doing." He adds that Maurice Lindsay went down to London for meetings and asked would Sky still be interested if they switched the game to summer. Wakelin says that their stance was to say to Lindsay, "yes, if you make the switch we will bid for the rights".

The initial breakdown of clubs was to merge 15 clubs in to Cheshire (Warrington & Widnes); Cumbria (Barrow, Carlisle, Whitehaven & Workington); Humberside (Hull & HKR); South Yorkshire (Doncaster & Sheffield); Mancjester (Oldham & Salford); Calder (Castleford, Featherstone & Wakefield) plus Bradford, Halifax, Leeds,London, Paris, St Helens, Toulouse, and Wigan, with talk of adding future clubs in Barcelona, Newcastle, Wales and even Rome. So that was the distribution of the original Sky money to 23 clubs and up to 27 clubs.

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.


#600 keighley

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:36 PM

When News International decided to fight for the TV rights to Australian RL, Packer predicted what Murdoch would do, since he pulled the exact same move with cricket years earlier.

If Australian RL would not play ball with Murdoch then the plan was to create an alternative competition and to sign up the best players in the world to play in it. In Australia some clubs, lead by The Brisbane Broncos, wanted to sign up to the new deal from news international other wanted to stay with Packer. Packer seeing the threat suggested to the ARL that they start to sign up the best players on long term contracts tying them to the ARL competition and thus to CH9 and Packer. This started a bidding war for the worlds best players which was slowly drawing in British players.

Murdoch realised that it may be easier to gain control if he could stem the flow of British talent to Australia and sign up the best of British to his league. In order to do this he would have to ensure that British players would be offered contracts that would ensure that they wouldn't be tempted to take a Packer contract. Also if he could sign up the RFL to his league he would effectively have control of the international competition as well.

Murdoch will have been well aware what state the British game was in financially and so knew any big money offer would be looked on favourably by the RFL, the problem was though that it was the whole game that was in trouble and not just a few clubs. If he wrote a big cheque to the RFL the money would be dilluted if it was handed out between all the clubs, dilluted to the point where the contracts offered would not be enoough to stop the top players leaving to go to Australia.

The way to ensure the money was used for the purpose intended, to provide him with a competition with elite players paid highly enough to avoid temptation, was to offer a deal not to the RFL but to the clubs who would be in the Elite league. Hence SL was born as a stand alone group of clubs all with an equal share holding in the SL business. The Murdoch contract was with this group and no other, the purpose of the contract was to ensure that players could become fully pro and be highly paid.

This wasn't about the greed of the clubs this was purely about how a business handing over a lot of money to protect its interests ensured that its interests were indeed protected.

The RFL had effectively been sidelined by Murdoch, the British game had protection of its top players from raids by Australian clubs and British players could at last get paid enough to become full time.

If Murdoch had handed the money to the RFL to bail out the whole league then he was well aware that he would not get what he needed, he would just being off the entire leagues debts and he would still be in danger of losing the very best of British to Packer.

In summary the money wasn't handed over to save the game, it was handed over to give the top players better contracts and effectively sign up the top players to ESL who Murdoch had the contract with.


That's a very good summation of what went on. From Murdoch's point of view the money was handed over for the reasons you state in your last paragraph.

From the British point of view, it saved the game, regardless of murdoch's motivation. The game was in a very weak, very wounded state when he came along. The cash injected saved the game as far as I am concerned.




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