We seem hung up on what exactly failed.
Would licensing work for say a fifth division in soccer?
Did Licensing deliver by giving clubs a sustained period in which to grow - was that it's remit?
Wasn't it the clubs who failed to grow?
Was licensing the wrong choice?
Was the right choice to stay with P & R?
Is hindsight a wonderful thing??
I always thought licencing was the wrong choice and it's a simple answer.
Sports generally belonged to the people in this country, where licencing/franchising works is when you can translate the level of control/interest by the people to a TV audience and new markets. What we have found is that RL via a licenced SL just hasn't achieved that. No new investment, no new growth, the game still relies on the people, hence what seems to be a U-turn. Add in the challenges in recent times and it makes licencing look like a disaster. It got no where near any level of sustainability and the cracks appeared within months.
Also licences need to be sustained for a long period, but without investment and a plan for investment at key stages, they will fail. 3 years isn't enough, one platform isn't enough, one market isn't enough. Therefore licencing was always going to fail because the figures didn't add up. The investments that were made were always from within, i.e more home games, or a larger pool of clubs for the play-offs, or more money from the chairmen etc etc etc
To offer a scenario where licencing exists all but in name is football. In the early 90's the transition was easy. The premier league became a game for TV, with new markets, and different platforms. it no longer belongs to the people. The premier league doesn't even need them. The fans have doggedly hung in their because they matter to the players and coaches but to be frank, they're being ripped off royally.