I'm in the camp that thinks in 5 years time that there won't be any professional or semi professional clubs in the UK south of the Trent and that the even the top clubs will be part time.
No chance, the six that walked out last night are set up to be professional, and have independent funds, so in that respect as much as I hate supporting anything that doesn't appear to be 'for the good of the game' I accept that as a sport we are undersold, under marketed and quite simply rubbish at selling the game. If you were a professional set up you would want to know big brother, the RFL in this case, was as good at what you do locally, but at a national level.
I recall the giants wanted an 8-10 team super league, and I think Warrington wanted that as well, an idea that was rejected overall. They don't want 28 matches a year clearly, and I think that is because the owners carry the teams so although the match fees are important its more important to get season passes sold. All the chairmen have said in the last year season tickets are what counts and at the Giants there are loads of spin off's and money off vouchers that go with one. So less matches aren't the issue for those clubs.
What is the issue appears to be the lack of any other income that they generate alone, and that is the single biggest fear I have, no major sponsors a la NRL means we have gone back to 1994 when only Wigan were truly full time, the only progress has been we now have 5 or 6 teams that could stay full time.
The progress has been on the field in many ways, off the field there is now a major block to progress because some teams have naturally outstripped others. I understand the good of the game argument but if you run a full time business I don't think that holds water. All the team sponsors at super league level have local connections, even where they are national players so its the local branch effectively sponsoring a team. There's no real money in that. If you look at soccer or RU they have national sponsors. Big difference and that's the issue, how to sell the competition.
I do think the 3X8 system would be worthwhile if the draw was made more appealing and possible seeded which would reduce the top tier games between the top 8, which seems to be a sticking point. The only alternative is three divisions of 10, 2 up 2 down every year, which as I noted above has already been rejected. Although thinking about it, the make up of the comp might be a red herring, its the long term sustainability of a competition that's the issue here.
Ken Davy is no mug and I would imagine the Warrington board aren't idiots either, and Pearson at Hull is a ruthless business man. So its no longer just Leneghan, and I am a little surprised Koukash didn't side with them, possibly because his mate at Saints and Hetherington might have his ear.
Leeds are a bit odd because they have a shed load of central funding from the RFU for Leeds Rugby and run/own both teams, plus they make a year on year profit. So perhaps they can afford largesse.
Can anyone recall superleague Europe kicking off in a similar way?