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Should the Magic Weekend be for the Challenge Cup?


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#1 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 11:38 AM

Just a thought really.

People have often complained about the Magic Weekend diluting the derby games or being an unnecessary add-on to the league season. I can see where they are coming from, but I think the Magic Weekend is still a fantastic event that needs sticking with.

So why not use it in the Challenge Cup (a competition that desperately needs revitalising)?

Lets have a look at some stats:
Round 4 aggregate attendance:
2012: 45,219
2011: 54,265*
2010: 61,577*
2009: 68,315*
* These were part of the season ticket IIRC.

Round 5 aggregate attendance:
2012: 28,153
2011: 33,137
2010: 29,786
2009: 30,822

Quarter Finals aggregate attendance:
2012: 31,728
2011: 35,305
2010: 23,438
2009: 27,821

Semi Finals aggregate attendance:
2012: 22,333
2011: 25,871
2010: 27,532
2009: 23,613

Magic Weekend day attendances:
2012: 30,764 / 32,953
2011: 30,891 / 29,323
2010: 26,632 / 25,401
2009: 29,627 / 30,122

The day attendances at the Magic Weekend are more or less the same as the entire round 5 attendances combined and entire quarter finals combined. Is it beyond the realm of possibility to merge these events to reinvigorate the Challenge Cup as an event?

Think about it -
Round 5, 2 days in Cardiff. TV cameras there all day, so red button coverage or BBC3 all weekend.
Quarters, either a 4-game day or 2 double headers in Manchester.
Semis, a double header, maybe in Leeds or Sheffield.

Big events, big cities, everyone knows where they'll be playing so can plan ahead and make ticket deals from round 5 to the final before a ball has even been kicked, the games will be at neutral grounds so it's fairer, extended TV coverage making it more valuable, the draw could be at the ground so people know what's happening next, every game matters that day.

I think the Magic Weekend would be A LOT more naturally suited to the cup than the league, and it certainly needs a repackaging.
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#2 roughyedspud

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 11:42 AM

i like that pal......good effort

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#3 YCKonstantine

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 11:50 AM

Good shout, especially with the Challenge Cup being on BBC everyone will be able to watch it and possibly give some teams in the Championship or even Championship one some nice exposure.

It's time to park the camels.

 

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#4 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:01 PM

Another positive is that it would stop direct comparisons with league games attendance-wise. Cup games are pretty much always down compared to league games because it's not on the season ticket and clubs aren't willing to promote them as much as the gates are split.

This way, promotion of the event is left to a concentrated effort all year round by the RFL and clubs can concentrate on the league attendances. Do clubs even make money on cup attendances?
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#5 bobbruce

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:10 PM

I like the idea of each round being a weekend event but think it should run alongside MM. At the minute Sky get 7 games in one place effectively adding two and a half weekly rounds to the TV contract. Without lengthening the actual playing season. If we were to scrap it how would this short fall be made up. The MM weekend must generate between £1m-£1.5m in TV revenue alone I don't think the BBC pay much more than that each season for the entire CC.

#6 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:26 PM

I like the idea of each round being a weekend event but think it should run alongside MM. At the minute Sky get 7 games in one place effectively adding two and a half weekly rounds to the TV contract. Without lengthening the actual playing season. If we were to scrap it how would this short fall be made up. The MM weekend must generate between £1m-£1.5m in TV revenue alone I don't think the BBC pay much more than that each season for the entire CC.

Well Sky already have some of the CC rights now so they could always keep it this way?

Or better yet, 3 games a round on TV!
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#7 Old Frightful

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:55 PM

Bloody Hell Wellsy, Hull FC's record in the Magic weekend is only slightly better than our efforts at Wembley.

Don't you want us to win the sodding cup ever again?

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#8 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 01:04 PM

Bloody Hell Wellsy, Hull FC's record in the Magic weekend is only slightly better than our efforts at Wembley.

Don't you want us to win the sodding cup ever again?

I think the Cup is the least of our performance worries at the moment!

But it'll be all the sweeter if it happens! :D
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#9 Just to be clear

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 03:29 PM

Just to be clear, the club believe they need 14 home matches per season. When the magic weekend was introduced this took up the place of one of those, so the season was reduced by a match to 27 games. If you scrap it then the clubs will want that game back, which is not ideal when many already think the season too long. But the game is also not rich enough for clubs to forgo that income.

The BBC have also reduced their coverage of round 5 from 2 matches to 1, so it seems highly unlikely they would want to air around 9 hours of rugby on both days of a weekend. Even the idea of a semi-final double header could be an issue if they want to show matches over both afternoons of a weekend and not willing to give up the prime early evening slot for one of them. Such events are only valuable to broadcasters if there is actual demand for them. Force the BBC to buy into a whole package or what is, to them, an unfavourable schedule and they may end up paying less.

The state of rugby league is that the game needs broadcasters and needs to accommodate them than vice versa. It sucks, but it is a fact. There is no way Cas and Hull KR should be forced to play tonight ahead of the Easter programme, but that is what Sky needs for their schedule, and the games need their money that it has to make that concession. Just as challenge cup weekends get spaced out ridiculously at the whim of the BBC so they can fit around other sports they air.

I like the idea of each round being a weekend event but think it should run alongside MM. At the minute Sky get 7 games in one place effectively adding two and a half weekly rounds to the TV contract. Without lengthening the actual playing season. If we were to scrap it how would this short fall be made up. The MM weekend must generate between £1m-£1.5m in TV revenue alone I don't think the BBC pay much more than that each season for the entire CC.



Sky's TV deal is for "up to" 70 live matches per season, not per match. Currently that means the grand final, 8 playoff matches, 2 matches per week for 26 rounds, and 7 magic weekend matches. This then leaves two extra opportunities for bank holidays and rearranged matches. Without the magic weekend, and a 28 week season, Sky will simply have four of those extra matches.

It is because of the magic weekend we now get fewer games outside the normal two per weekend than we used to. Previously bank holidays were often three-match weekends, yet last season we only got Cas vs Widnes on the early May bank holiday. The other extra match was used in the final round of the regular season for Catalans vs Bradford on the red button. Presumably this was only added because, aside from playoff implications, they had paid for an extra game and it would have otherwise only have been wasted.

This is also why Sky do not routinely show Catalans home matches in this fashion, despite being relatively cheap to produce and no live Saturday matches of their own during summer.

#10 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 06:02 PM

Just to be clear, the club believe they need 14 home matches per season. When the magic weekend was introduced this took up the place of one of those, so the season was reduced by a match to 27 games. If you scrap it then the clubs will want that game back, which is not ideal when many already think the season too long. But the game is also not rich enough for clubs to forgo that income.

Yes I am aware of this, but moving the Magic Weekend to the Cup doesn't necessarily mean that that income stream has suddenly disappeared. If anything, with 3 events there could potentially be more on the table.

The BBC have also reduced their coverage of round 5 from 2 matches to 1, so it seems highly unlikely they would want to air around 9 hours of rugby on both days of a weekend.

If you read what I suggested, I wasn't saying they'd air it all on BBC1. If the cameras are there and they're showing one of the fixtures, they can very easily show the rest on the red button without costing them any more. They do this for a lot of other sports. If this went ahead, why wouldn't they do this for RL is a better question?

Even the idea of a semi-final double header could be an issue if they want to show matches over both afternoons of a weekend and not willing to give up the prime early evening slot for one of them.

That has been said in the past and is understandable. It's up to the RFL to create a package that benefits and sell it in a way that they can see the benefits. They may want it, they may not. There may be other broadcast options if the BBC don't want it. Remember, it's only the final that HAS to be in FTA.

Such events are only valuable to broadcasters if there is actual demand for them. Force the BBC to buy into a whole package or what is, to them, an unfavourable schedule and they may end up paying less.

The state of rugby league is that the game needs broadcasters and needs to accommodate them than vice versa. It sucks, but it is a fact. There is no way Cas and Hull KR should be forced to play tonight ahead of the Easter programme, but that is what Sky needs for their schedule, and the games need their money that it has to make that concession. Just as challenge cup weekends get spaced out ridiculously at the whim of the BBC so they can fit around other sports they air.

Short term pain then. If it is believed that it could benefit and build in the long run, it could increase it. The CC has been stagnating for a number of years and needs something. If we do nothing, it will just lower and lower in value.

It's called negotiating, not pandering. Accommodating means changing things here and there to suit both parties.

AND this is just assuming the negative anyway. Who's to say they wouldn't want this and it wouldn't be more valuable or attractive?

Sky's TV deal is for "up to" 70 live matches per season, not per match. Currently that means the grand final, 8 playoff matches, 2 matches per week for 26 rounds, and 7 magic weekend matches. This then leaves two extra opportunities for bank holidays and rearranged matches. Without the magic weekend, and a 28 week season, Sky will simply have four of those extra matches.

Again, you're assuming we'd have to go back to a 28 week season, when really the Magic Weekend is still there so it still covers the clubs regardless of whether it's SL or CC.

Sky could use the extra weekend to feature an extended WCC. Or a 9s tournament. Or simply have 3 matches some weekends. It's not a necessity to have the Magic Weekend on Sky, however they could still show it if they still have CC rights anyhow.

It is because of the magic weekend we now get fewer games outside the normal two per weekend than we used to. Previously bank holidays were often three-match weekends, yet last season we only got Cas vs Widnes on the early May bank holiday. The other extra match was used in the final round of the regular season for Catalans vs Bradford on the red button. Presumably this was only added because, aside from playoff implications, they had paid for an extra game and it would have otherwise only have been wasted.

So it's not a necessity then to have the Magic Weekend for the TV deal to be the way it is.

This is also why Sky do not routinely show Catalans home matches in this fashion, despite being relatively cheap to produce and no live Saturday matches of their own during summer.

Not sure why that's relevant?
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#11 Just to be clear

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 01:39 AM

Yes I am aware of this, but moving the Magic Weekend to the Cup doesn't necessarily mean that that income stream has suddenly disappeared. If anything, with 3 events there could potentially be more on the table.


Just to be clear, are you saying that the gates to the cup weekends should be shared amongst all teams regardless of whether they are knocked out in an earlier round? And what of the non-Super League clubs who may play in the magic rounds?

I also doubt that fans will turn out for three magic cup rounds, especially those of teams who have been knocked out. Neutrals may want to watch one round, but the cost of multiple ones would turn them away. It would be overkill for the format and almost certainly see diminishing returns. The current magic weekend works because people go to watch their own club and get to see others at the same time. Just being able to see several neutral games for the price of one is a much less attractive proposition, especially when you have to factor in travel and possibly accommodation for them.

As for the BBC, I never mentioned any specific channels, but I cannot think of any sport, on any of their services, where they show anything remotely similar to the magic format. I am struggling even to think of anything exclusively shown on the red button that they produce at their own cost rather than just adding a commentary to a host supplied feed.

It would certainly cost them more than for a single match though. Uplink feeds are paid by the minute and they will need at least double the amount of staff as you cannot have everyone working for over 8 hours without a break. If the demand to watch is not high enough that it can be relegated to the red button then it will not be high enough to justify such increased coverage. Given their decreased coverage it suggests that the audience is not there, they want to cut costs, or both. And If the BBC wanted to show the semi-finals as a double header they would already do so. That the two matches are played on different days rather than consecutively is their scheduling choice. They may be willing to air one if that is all they are offered, but it is clearly not what they want and so less valuable to them that way.

Similarly, if anyone else wanted to air the challenge cup we would see a bidding contest for it rather than the BBC picking it up by default, and Sky getting the leftovers. And even then Sky declined to air one of the quarter finals when they had the rights to do so. Adding in less flexibility will not make it more attractive to broadcasters, while the value of being on the BBC is the exposure the game gets. Moving everything bar the final to Sky, or any other non-FTA channel, would be more damaging than any financial gains. People regularly complain on here about the lack of mainstream coverage the sport gets, losing six of any year's most watched by far matches will only reduce that further.

#12 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:26 AM

Just to be clear, are you saying that the gates to the cup weekends should be shared amongst all teams regardless of whether they are knocked out in an earlier round? And what of the non-Super League clubs who may play in the magic rounds?

No. I am saying that the majority of the extra money made from this Magic Weekend format originally came from money paid by the local tourist board. That money would still be there, as would possibly more as there's be an extra possible two-day event.

Sharing the gates could be arranged in a number of ways. Either directly linked to sales from the club or split equally amongst the participants.

As for SL clubs that don't make round 5, there is always the option of seeding round 4 so that SL clubs (and two KPC GFists) are in one pot and the rest in another (they already do something similar for round 3 and amateur clubs). This would allow for more SL vs KPC games early on, and guarantee bigger clubs in the back end rounds.

I also doubt that fans will turn out for three magic cup rounds, especially those of teams who have been knocked out. Neutrals may want to watch one round, but the cost of multiple ones would turn them away. It would be overkill for the format and almost certainly see diminishing returns. The current magic weekend works because people go to watch their own club and get to see others at the same time. Just being able to see several neutral games for the price of one is a much less attractive proposition, especially when you have to factor in travel and possibly accommodation for them.

You say you doubt they'd turn up, but look at the current figures for the rounds. You'd only need around 30k fans at CCMW to make it equal to the current figures. Round 5 would be over 2 days, so would only need 15k per day. Fans already aren't turning up. This would give us a chance to make MORE turn up.

The Challenge Cup used to be a big event but it's just a small sideshow now. This would give it a chance to return to event status. I've no doubt you'd get a fair few to a Round 5 MW due to the number of games and attractive location plus local interest. The QF may be a bit more of a challenge, but if set in Manchester then again it's not too far away. I know a fair few people have expressed their interest in here through the years for a double header SF.

The only way it would overkill the format would be if they were all held in expansion areas, but they're not. Just one is. The SF is already at a neutral ground so no difference. And the QF is local, so would be just like an away game.
People don't have to watch all the games.

And if tickets are creatively priced to reward those that attend more rounds, it could pick up numbers fairly easily IMO.

As for the BBC, I never mentioned any specific channels, but I cannot think of any sport, on any of their services, where they show anything remotely similar to the magic format. I am struggling even to think of anything exclusively shown on the red button that they produce at their own cost rather than just adding a commentary to a host supplied feed.

Tennis? I'm pretty sure Wimbledon has cameras on most of the courts that are available in the red button exclusively shown by the BBC. And I'm pretty sure most if them are on at the same time over a few days.
Don't they do a similar thing for the union sevens as well?

It would certainly cost them more than for a single match though. Uplink feeds are paid by the minute and they will need at least double the amount of staff as you cannot have everyone working for over 8 hours without a break.

There is no reason why a public broadcaster wouldn't put this on if they already had the equipment to do it and there was public interest. The fact that a million or so watch cup games suggests there's interest!

As for the staff, that is just a poor argument. They can have a break. It's not difficult to comprehend!

If the demand to watch is not high enough that it can be relegated to the red button then it will not be high enough to justify such increased coverage.

It's more to do with scheduling issues than demand to watch it. However, if this was the case they'd never show anything on the red button, so again a poor argument.
If the equipment is there already, there's be no reason not to offer such a public service.

Given their decreased coverage it suggests that the audience is not there, they want to cut costs, or both.

Or that a better deal was struck via sharing coverage? Sky certainly take it more seriously now. I'd say cup viewing figures are fairly good.

And If the BBC wanted to show the semi-finals as a double header they would already do so. That the two matches are played on different days rather than consecutively is their scheduling choice. They may be willing to air one if that is all they are offered, but it is clearly not what they want and so less valuable to them that way.

There is no proof to that statement at all. You make it seem although the BBC say jump and we must say how high. You've made a cynical assumption.
The BBC chose to show a double header in the 4N the other year. They'll most likely show two in the RLWC. And they've shown two cup games back-to-back many times in the past. There is no truth in saying "they wouldn't want double headers" when they have had them and are still having them.

Similarly, if anyone else wanted to air the challenge cup we would see a bidding contest for it rather than the BBC picking it up by default, and Sky getting the leftovers. And even then Sky declined to air one of the quarter finals when they had the rights to do so.

Again, an argument based on pessimism rarer than fact.
So there is no bidding war, yet it's split between two providers? How does that work?
Sky don't show the QF or SF because they don't have the rights. BBC do. But there isn't a bidding war...
Just because they're not throwing millions at it doesn't mean there isn't a competition for rights.

Adding in less flexibility will not make it more attractive to broadcasters, while the value of being on the BBC is the exposure the game gets. Moving everything bar the final to Sky, or any other non-FTA channel, would be more damaging than any financial gains. People regularly complain on here about the lack of mainstream coverage the sport gets, losing six of any year's most watched by far matches will only reduce that further.

Making a competition/event more appealing would add value. Flexibility isn't the only appeal. Less flexibility may counter this, but it's about weighing pros and cons. All you've done is look at every negative possible, pass it off as a given, and ignore the positives and possibility that there could be improvement.

The cup needs a rethink. It's just being left to wither. Is that adding value?!
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#13 steef

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 10:25 AM

Tldr
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#14 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:11 AM

Tldr

?!!!
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#15 gingerjon

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:26 AM

Tldr

?!!!


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#16 Ackroman

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 12:28 PM

he's clearly just voided his vowels

#17 Father Ted

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 02:16 PM

Agree the Magic Weekend should be transferred to the Challenge Cup.

The SL clubs come in at the last 16 stage so there would be 8 games over the two days.

Also we could help ourselves with attendances, we really never know when the Cup dates are so why not put the C Cup rounds on regular dates? Generally people are paid during the last week of the month, plenty exceptions I know but the majority are. So have the C Cup rounds the first weekend of the month whilst we have money in our bank accounts, pockets and purses.

So, have the Magic on the 1st weekend in June,
The last 8, quarter finals 1st weekend in July,
Semi finals 1st weekend in August
The the Final, on August Bank Holiday Weekend as now.

Whether it was this year, next year or whatever year us fans would know when the C Cup started for the SL clubs and finished.

#18 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 06:30 PM

.
The SL clubs come in at the last 16 stage so there would be 8 games over the two days.

Why do people keep suggesting that SL clubs should come in at the last 16? It makes no sense. That leaves two spots left for 23 Championship clubs, 3 French clubs and about 80 amateur clubs. How would that work?

.Also we could help ourselves with attendances, we really never know when the Cup dates are so why not put the C Cup rounds on regular dates? Generally people are paid during the last week of the month, plenty exceptions I know but the majority are. So have the C Cup rounds the first weekend of the month whilst we have money in our bank accounts, pockets and purses.

So, have the Magic on the 1st weekend in June,
The last 8, quarter finals 1st weekend in July,
Semi finals 1st weekend in August
The the Final, on August Bank Holiday Weekend as now.

Whether it was this year, next year or whatever year us fans would know when the C Cup started for the SL clubs and finished.

Good shout.
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#19 Viking Warrior

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 10:10 PM

superb idea wellsey, i like the sound of it. the challenge cup needs revitalising and your idea could be just the fillip it needs.
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#20 BBR

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 07:11 AM

What about free entry to cc quarters and semis for anyone who attended an earlier round? Gives fans a reason to attend early rounds and makes rl look like a must see event to the masses watching on the bbc. Half empty grounds in the latter rounds tells the auidience that rl is not an event worth bothering with given that even hardcore rl fans cant be bothered to attend




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