Whilst the World Cup is far from over, there are some key learnings the RFL should take out from the World Cup and look to apply to some of their other events moving forward.
The first is, the 'bid city' process works, and works really quite well. The RFL is never going to have massive budgets to market it's games, so being able to rely on clubs, councils and any other body that wants to get involved is a must.
Honestly moving forward the following events should be open to tender each year:
- World Club Challenge
- Mid Year International (England v Exiles, or who-ever else)
- Challenge Cup Semi Finals
- Northern Rail Cup Final
- Championship Final
Whilst maybe you can argue against the WCC being open for tender, the rest of the events can be played at neutral venues. As such, provided the venues meet some minimum requirements (ie. Capacity), then why should it matter who bids for these events. In the case of the Challenge Cup Semi's and Mid-Year internationals, having them open for bids might help bring the crowds back to these events.
Naturally as well when England hosts end of year tours/internationals, then of course these matches should be open for tender as well.
Secondly, put the events on sale as early as possible. The RFL has always been paranoid about certain events eating into other event pre-sales, but one thing that has helped this tournament is a significant portion of tickets had ticked over before any of the major promotions started.
Demand creates demand, and when venues could already say that a X numbers of tickets had already been sold, or X bays, it did appear to spark plenty of sales and best of all discussion.
Thirdly, Bristol has shown it should get an 'on the road' Super League match or something similar. Over 7,200 for a game between the two bottom seeds on a Wednesday night is impressive, meaning there is an appetite for events in this city, and some league fans in the area that are prepared to work very hard to make events a success. As such, it only makes sense to reward this enthusiasm.
Finally, there is clearly an appetite for matches involving nations outside of Australia and NZ in the UK. England v Ireland and England v Fiji will both draw over 20K, and being honest is there really any reason why these figures couldn't be replicated outside of a World Cup? Sure there has to be consideration on who the opponents are, and as well not to over-do some of these fixtures, but clearly there is a strong Irish supporter base in Northern England, and a team like Fiji is entertaining enough to be watched. Again if tied with the first two learnings, I see no reason why England couldn't mix up some of it's international schedules every year.