It is not true. Just because you say so dosn't make it so. What money does the Army RL for instance ger from Sky or any University side or any conference side. None.
Furthermore, I was a kid playing RL once. My friends and I played amateur RL because we liked and enjoyed it. I was forced to play RU at school but chose to play RL of my own volition. No kid says," I think I am such a brilliant sportsman, I will pursue a professional career, now, which sport will give me the most money?". That's just a load of rubbish.
I take John's point although it does take the principle to the n'th degree.
I take your point that Superleague is not the be all and end all of a game that is somehow totally reliant on it.
I do want to debate the issues without the argument becoming polarised and the barricades going up as always happens on here.
I think if you take away the SKY money then there must be some element of the top players walking away. There must be some element of fans walking away. Exactly how much of a loss immediately and how much of a further loss over time we don't know.
Negligble??? I don't think so, Extreme??? I don't think so. As always the answer may lie in the middle.
The advent of pro RL saw top division crowds rise from 5500 to to an average 8800, 1995 to 2011. Certainly a return to semi pro could arguably see crowds drop back towards that level.
However as Australia and Union (both now fully pro and thriving) would be a lure for our stars could we offer fans the same quality of RL under a semi pro league in say 2015 than we could 1995? The answer has to be probably not. Not good.
There is of course a big element of people playing RL now because they like it, but moreso because then CAN play it and the free gangway ensured that they can play it anywhere. Even if they do play it anywhere and everywhere, any top teenager who starts to think about a pro career would be hitting a brick wall without SKY. Not good.
We certainly cannot assume that what we have we will hold without SKY. The factors are complicated.
In the period 1947 - 1950 our game boomed. 20 years on our game was on it's knees I remember watching Hunslet and Bramley on crowds in the hundreds and Leeds on a few thousand. There was little saturday amateur RL in Leeds and the sunday league pub sides had to drop to 11 a side. This was the heartlands. Oxley and BARLA took the game upwards, SKY and the free gangway arguably elevated it further, but we must remember nothing can be taken for granted.
RL has gone from boom to almost bust in the past, even in it's own heartlands.