I wish I'd seen this earlier.
Fear of plummeting attendances is what delayed live coverage of RL games in Australia during the late 1950s when TV first came here. In hindsight, it appears TV coverage glamourised the product, opened it up to newer audiences and increased the popularity of the game before subscription TV came here in the late 1990s. But no Free TV channel can compete with the pockets of Sky. As someone above said, an extended highlights show on Free TV complemented by exclusive match broadcasts would be the preferred model if BBC or ITV or 4 or 5 cannot beat Sky's money.
I look forward to reading the article, Martyn.
No surprises that BBC broadcaster was defensive. They would be well aware of the gripes of RL fans.
I don't mind that BBC personalities sometimes put the boot in. That's an unfortunate side effect of having pluralistic views in the media which I value a great deal.
The big issue RL is treated shabbily for a product with the audiences it commands. The biggest examples are the SL Show timeslot and its near absence in sports bulletins bulletins. And why does a domestic RU match or a county cricket game with fewer attendees and TV viewers command a more prominent position in news bulletins and/or websites? Sure we're not soccer, but Saturday afternoon's results shows the interest is there and that the BBC is could be accused of being out of touch. But she would've hated that!