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The SKY contract for RL - good or bad?


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#41 Padge

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:55 PM

To understand if the Sky contract did anything for the game you need to know what was going on prior to it. I have listed below some of the events from the 5 years previous to the SL offer.


January 1990
RFL sign deal with BSB for live Sunday game at 6:30 on a Sunday evening.

February 1990
Wigan announce record £280,000 profit.

March 1990
St.Helens home fixture v Warrington abandoned after 3 minutes after part of roof blows off stand and lands on the pitch

April 1990
BSB announce first ever live coverage of a tour to NZ
Halifax players threaten strike action over unpaid wages, Fax sell Neil James to Leeds for £20k to pay outstanding wages to players.
Barrow list 10 players
Halifax hit with £70,000 tax demand from inland revenue and face winding up order.

June 1990
Halifax hit money troubles and are being adminitered by accountants Price Waterhouse

August 1990
Its revealed that Halifax owe creditors £760,000, Price Waterhouse have trouble off-loading Fax to new buyer because players are in dispute over reduced contracts.

Eventuall resolved and new board take-over.
RFL sign a£1.5m 3 year SatelliteTV deal with British Aerospace, 90 games per season are to be shown in pubs and clubs only, 30 games to be live on Sundays at

1:00PM

September 1990
Runcorn Highfield apply to RFL to be allowed to move to St.Helens Town FC, the move is approved.
Sheffield Eagles move to Don Valley Stadium

October 1990
Runcorn coach Dave Chisnall quits after losing all his 38 games in charge.

November 1990
Second diision clubs hold a crisis meeting to discuss the contract system

December 1990
Leigh start listing players as they hit a financial crisis.
Scarborough anonce intention to apply for membership of the RFL

January 1991
Scarborough admitted as a member club of the RFL by getting the exact minimum votes required.
Arbittration ruling forces the RFL to accept that players from EEC countries are exempt from quotas
Mick Dean of Leigh threatens to sue the club for nonfullfilment of contract.
Rugby League Council recommend acceptance of The Hetherington plan for 3 division of 14, 8 and 14.

April 1991
Leigh enter administration
Wigan Win Challenge Cup for 4th season in a row

May 1991
Runcorn Highfield seek approval for name change to Highfield RLFC
Sheffield Eagles sign their first local recruit, Jason Davidson

June 1991
Doncaster list entire playing rosta of 36 players
Leigh are running out of time for a buyer to step and save the club, fans launch a petition asking for the local council to save the club.
Swinton offer Leigh the option of a ground share at Sation road, they turn it down.
RFL project £17m of sponsorship and TV deals over next five years.

August 1991
Tony Cotteral heads a syndicate that saves Leigh at the last minute.
Wakefield escape threat of closure with fomation of its first ever board of directors.

December 1991
Swinton a bid to resolve cash crisis sever contracts of three Australian imports one of which is also coach.

May 1992
New club Scarborough in financial crisis
RFL agree £3m+ four year deal with BSkyB, deal includes Friday night games from League and Premiership. They also sign a 4 year £2.5m deal withe BBC for the

challenge cup and regal trophy.
Vote on return to two divisions defeated.
Swinton sell Station Road and move to Bury

June 1992
Chorley Borough move to Horwich
Relealed that Scarborough are in trubl with £113,000 of debt they can't pay.

August 1992
Sarborough fold still owing £60,000 to creditors
Two French teams receive invit to play in Regal Trophy, XIII Catalan and Carcassonne

September 1992
Blackpool Gladiators move to Blackpool Mechincs FC

October 1992
Blackpool chairman Alan Sherrat puts the club up for sale at £50k

November 1992
Leigh get High Court reprieve following threat of eviction from Hilton Park.
Swinto coach Tony Barrow accepts pay cut to ease financial worries at the club.

December 1992
RFL propse two divisions of 16 with the three bottom clubs demoted to the Aligance League.
Hull KR players refuse to turn out for a game against Leigh in a pay dispute talks take a week to settle the dispute.

January 1993
Swinton saved from liquidation by a consotium headed by former chairman Malcolm White.

February 1993
Leigh fail in a bid to buy back Hilton Park for £300k

March 1993
League appoint a 3 man study group to investigate switching to summer rugby.
Wigans balance sheet shows loss of £300k on a turnover of £3m (includes £440k paid for Offiah)

June 1993
Leigh are offered a reprieve over their ground problems when they are allowed to stay for 12 months.
Hull FC put 7 players on the transfer list and coach Royce Simmons runs 5 marathons to raise money tp pay for Aussie imports.
Warrington list 13 players for a total of £340k when they refuse lower contract payments
Blackpool, Nottingham and Chorley join new national conference league.
London Crusaders move from Crystal Palace to Copthall Sports Stadium, Barnet.

July 1993
Jonothan Davies gets free transfer to Warrington, thus easing financial pressures at Widnes.

August 1993
Halifax list 7 players for a total of £170,000

November 1993
London Crusaders impose 20% pay cut to ease financial problems.

December 1993
The RFL offer help to London in fing additional or replacement directors.

January1994
Bradford have a clear out, Hobbs and Noble given free transfers, McGowan and Cordle listed at£40k an £15k.
Bramley announce plans to leave McLaren Field and move in with Northern Premier League soccer club Farsley Celtic.
Plans for 1995 Centenary World Cup are threatened by RFU making noises about moving the union World Cup for that year from S.A. to England.

March 1994
Wigan's wage bill tops £2m a year mark.
Huddersfield in administration, administrator says all British players are available and is open to offers.

May 1994
Receivers at Huddersfield sack coach Murphy.

June 1994
Oldham sell Watersheddings for £1.25m to pay-off debts.
Bramley decide to stay at McLaren Field for 12 months.
Widnes look into selling groound to council.
Hunslet look to playing games at McLaren Field instead of Elland Road.
U.S. cable TV company Prime Television pay £1.3m for rights to the centenary World Cup.

July 1994
Government proposals on tabacco advertising threaten lucrative sponsorship deals.
Leigh enter administration.

August 1994
The RFL presents a crisis document Framing the Future, it includes proposals to merge clubs and the setting up of a Premier League.
Clubs give the RFL the nod to formulate plans for a Premier League.
Huddersfield celebrate the opening of the McAlpine Stadium by beating Barrow.

September 1994
The RFL propose a 16 club Premier League.

October 1994
Widnes in more talks with council about sale of ground.

November 1994
Hunslet list 7 players.

December 1994
Leigh appoint their 19th coach in twenty years, Ian Lucas
Doncaster enter administration with debts of £1.4m

February 1995
Salary cap introduced 50% of income can be spent on players with a reduction to 40% in 2 years

March 1995
Leigh secure future at Hilton Park by entering ground share deal with non-League soccer club Horwich RMI
Sheffield Eagles pull out of a proposed merger with Doncaster following a "breach of confidentialty", Sheffield then set to take-over Doncaster in a deal with

administrators, deal falls through after RFL declare Doncaster players as free agents.
Leigh buy club back from administrators.
Take-over bid for Bradford Northern
Doncaster bought from administrators by owners of Tattersfield ground.
Ken Arthurson, head of Australian RL, asks the RFL to reconsider summer rugby proposals as it threatens the international tour cycle.

April 1995
All hell lets loose.

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#42 EastLondonMike

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:46 PM

Very interesting read Padge.

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#43 The Parksider

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:22 PM

I don't think the argument is about the Sky money, more to do with the way it's being distributed, if the Sky money was given under a criteria that only allows the championship clubs chicken feed then I'd go with the second option


And so in that case where would the game be today then?

#44 Doghead

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:23 PM

I am afriad I don't see the relevence.


So football would remain unarmed without TV monies.

#45 Johnoco

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:34 PM

So football would remain unarmed without TV monies.


Unlikely, football was massive well before any TV money and would survive very well without it. It just wouldn't have as much money rolling around.

RL has never been huge with or without TV money.

#46 Marauder

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:45 PM

And so in that case where would the game be today then?

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#47 Padge

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:49 PM

Happy

Why, read through my potted history of the previous five years. A lot of stuff was happening before Murdoch rolled up, a Premier League, Summer Rugby even mergers. All this stuff got swept up in the Murdoch deal and Sky got blamed for it. The reality is very different to a lot of peoples perception.

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#48 Gav Wilson

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:49 PM

I can't believe this is even seriously being discussed.
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#49 Padge

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:51 PM

I can't believe this is even seriously being discussed.

Because some people think we can throw away close to £30m/year and carry on like we did in the good old days (as per my potted history).

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#50 The Parksider

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:57 PM

I can't believe this is even seriously being discussed.


Why not? there are two views. Anyway it would greatly help if you gave us yours good sir......

"Where do you think our game would be today if we had remained semi professional??"

#51 Gav Wilson

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:59 PM

Because some people think we can throw away close to £30m/year and carry on like we did in the good old days (as per my potted history).


My uncle played for York, Fev, Scarborough, Hull FC and Doncaster during 'the good old days' (87-97).

'The good old days' is most certainly not how he would describe them.
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#52 Gav Wilson

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:04 PM

Why not? there are two views. Anyway it would greatly help if you gave us yours good sir......

"Where do you think our game would be today if we had remained semi professional??"


Clubs would still be going bust chasing the dream, only it wouldn't be watched by a worldwide audience on TV. Or have any sponsors due to its subsequent non-exposure. And the crowds would be down to the last hardcore hundred's.

The idea that Superleague hasn't been good for the game is absolutely bonkers.
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#53 shaun mc

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:05 PM

Because some people think we can throw away close to £30m/year and carry on like we did in the good old days (as per my potted history).


Parky has asked the question about 'Where would we be without Sky money' about 637 times in the last week. Thats why different options are being discussed. Blame him for banging on about it not those who express opinions or debate the subject.

I believe RL would still be around even without Sky money not full time though - doesn't mean I want to have a game without that cash.

Edited by shaun mc, 09 December 2012 - 11:06 PM.


#54 JohnM

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:07 PM

I can't believe this is even seriously being discussed.


It isn't. You've read the posts.

#55 shaun mc

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:12 PM

Clubs would still be going bust chasing the dream, only it wouldn't be watched by a worldwide audience on TV. Or have any sponsors due to its subsequent non-exposure. And the crowds would be down to the last hardcore hundred's.

The idea that Superleague hasn't been good for the game is absolutely bonkers.


That was then, its not now. Different people may have got involved in running RL clubs rather than the local butcher, publican, etc.
But if you want to go back to then we had 3 internationals v Australia that drew 'only' 143,000 or so spectators (and on terrestrial tv) in 1994 just before the Sky money came along.
The game of RL has progressed by so much in those subsequent 18 years and £250m of Sky money that we have managed to halve our attendances for a 3 game series v Australia.

Edited by shaun mc, 09 December 2012 - 11:13 PM.


#56 Padge

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:15 PM

Parky has asked the question about 'Where would we be without Sky money' about 637 times in the last week. Thats why different options are being discussed. Blame him for banging on about it not those who express opinions or debate the subject.

I believe RL would still be around even without Sky money not full time though - doesn't mean I want to have a game without that cash.

I don' think many if any say it wouldn't be around, The top players would soon be whisked off though to union or Australia. We would still have standards based promotion though there wouldn't be any money to help clubs bring grounds up to scratch. We would still be playing in summer and we would just continue along the time line I posted earlier.


That was then, its not now. Different people may have got involved in running RL clubs rather than the local butcher, publican, etc.
But if you want to go back to then we had 3 internationals v Australia that drew 'only' 143,000 or so spectators (and on terrestrial tv) in 1994 just before the Sky money came along.
The game of RL has progressed by so much in those subsequent 18 years and £250m of Sky money that we have managed to halve our attendances for a 3 game series v Australia.

It isn't the Sky money that caused the drop in international attendances.

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#57 Northern Sol

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:15 PM

I don't think internationals should be the yardstick by which we measure progress.

In 1994, there was a belief that we might beat the Aussies. It didn't turn out that way but people believed that it was possible.

Now they do not.

#58 Gav Wilson

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:18 PM

That was then, its not now. Different people may have got involved in running RL clubs rather than the local butcher, publican, etc.
But if you want to go back to then we had 3 internationals v Australia that drew 'only' 143,000 or so spectators (and on terrestrial tv) in 1994 just before the Sky money came along.
The game of RL has progressed by so much in those subsequent 18 years and £250m of Sky money that we have managed to halve our attendances for a 3 game series v Australia.


And just about double the SuperLeague attendances.

Although if you would like to see a bunch of northern part-timers get beat by 100 points by both the full time Aussies and Kiwi's then thats your prerogative I suppose. I strongly suggest there wouldn't be 142,999 others there with you though.
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#59 Gav Wilson

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:20 PM

I don't think internationals should be the yardstick by which we measure progress.

In 1994, there was a belief that we might beat the Aussies. It didn't turn out that way but people believed that it was possible.

Now they do not.


In 94 we came close to beating the Aussies. As we have plenty of times since then. We even won in Sydney a few years ago.

I believe we might beat the Aussies at ever game I watch. Whats the point otherwise?
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#60 shaun mc

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:22 PM

Yes, the Sky money isn't relative to international attendances. However the £250m is when as Northern Sol points out we were closer in 1994 and fans had hope we may get that series win. After £250m being made available to amongst other things develop players and academies and structures and training methods, we are further away from Australia, which could also adversely affect attendances