"Where do you think Rugby League would be today if the game had rejected the SKY offer of millions of pounds a year to stage an elite competition"
Rugby League is more than just the Pro League. The amateur game has benefitted little from Sky or SL. In fact the way the clubs have raided amateur clubs giving next to nothing in return it possibly has damaged the amateur game to an extent. A club like Siddal or King Cross park has to put up with SL clubs coming along and taking a good 5 or 6 players a year. And what do they get in return? Maybe a couple of hundred pounds if lucky. And the amateur game and grassroots rugby has seen the game throw away money trying to help Crusaders, London, Bradford, Keighley etc whilst it sees many development officers disappear. Instead of money being invest to help, not just improve standards, but help develop clubs that money has been thrown at the Pro game. I dont see how SL or Sky money has benefitted the amateur game at all. The amateur game probably would be just as it is with or without the Sky money that came. None of the clubs saw any of that money. The facilities at clubs has come from other areas like Sport England, Local Government etc. Sky money has played next to no role in the improvement in playing facilities. Any the amateur game has actually seen a drop in numbers and Sport England has decided not to give the game millions of valuable cash due to the not so good numbers. Whilst its clear the game is spreading nationwide much of that is nothing to do with SL or Sky but the work of volunteers and development officers around the place. Many amateur clubs in the heartlands are facing problems. Clubs like Todmorden, Sowerby Bridge, Sowerby Spartans, Deighton Woolpack, Shipley, Huddersfield YMCA, Moldgreen, Prospect Warriors from the Pennine League have folded during the SL years. others only run with one team instead of 2 or 3 like yesteryear. These problems are of course nothing to do with Sky/Sl. But you claim the amateur game is in a better state because so many people play because of Sky/Sl for me is wrong as you dont seem to know too much about the state of the amateur game or Junior rugby and the concerns of many at this time. In answer to your question the amateur game would be somewhere around where it is today.
SL has benefitted a few Pro clubs, but more so Players and their agents. The Pro game was on its knees, but it still as a whole not learnt its lessons and the clubs are still in a similar mess as before. Sl has been around for 17 years. Probably a good billion pound has come into SL via Sky, Various Sponsors, The fans via tickets, merchandise etc plus RFL money and private investors over that period. And the game is still a minority sport whos profile has shrunk on the National stage. Clubs still overpaying players with money they dont have. Still thinking short term instead of long term and making decisions which effect other parts of the game like amateur and International Rugby League. There is no doubt advancement has been made but it certainly hasnt seen major benefits for the Pro game as we still see the majority of Sl struggling to cope with being Full time and such poor decisions like axing the U20 comp to save money doesnt help other parts of the game at all. And I cant see things changing in the future because clubs fail to invest and build off the field with the money they have or receive and instead waste money on players or trying to keep the wolf from the door. Crowds have increased but that only tells half the story. If like Huddersfield and Bradford etc who have thrown tickets out for nothing or low prices that may mean less money coming in. A big crowd doesnt automatically mean more money coming in. And also no doubt the overheads are getting higher each year especially with inflation, the rising cost of utility bills etc. I fail to see how you think SL is so great. It may have improved certain areas but many areas are being neglected.
The International scene in the early to mid 90s was probably at its strongest with regular Wembley visits with crowds of over 73,000 in 1992. Another plus 57,000 crowd at Wembley in 1994. Regular tours for PNG etc against GB. Since SL international crowds have struggled. The Kangeroo Tours of 2001 and 2003 didnt even see crowds of 30,000! Even in 2011 when England played Australia and before Wales played NZ at Wembley just 42,000 turned up. How has SL helped the International part of the game? The International Scene right now has sees little benefit from Sky money except for England. And we see SL clubs pulling players out of Internationals. We see SL clubs getting rid of academy teams to save money which in turn means less or no Welsh, Scottish or Irish kids get to be involved at a SL club doing full time training. So the International scene sees Wales amongst others having weaker less experienced part time players. Catalans has not really improved the French team at all as many of the players in key positions are actually overseas players. And the problems with Catalans and the French National team have been well documented on here. So again I dont see how the International game of RUgby League has benefitted. The development of the game in Serbia, Czech Rep, USA, Canada, Norway etc has nothing to do with Sl but is down to exiles or people interested in RL promoting and developing the sport with money coing in from the RLIF and RFEL via WC and EU and other such money not from anything with Sky or SL. So for me the International Scene at the top level has gone backwards since Sl for whatever reason.
The Challenge Cup has also lost its power and Sky have managed to promote the SL Grand Final as THE final at the expense of the Challenge Cup. The RFL and clubs have tried different means to reignite interest in the cup especially in the early rounds but crowds of 2000 or so even between SL teams shows sadly the cup magic has gone. Whether that is because of Sky its hard to say. But the fact remains this area of the game has been weakened during the Sky/Sl years. I dont see how you can say the cup has benefitted from Sky/SL.