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Rugby League's popularity riding high (Merged threads)

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#81 keighley

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 04:48 PM

For Rugby League to truly prosper the RFL need to increase the spectator base, which would in turn enlarge the commercial opportunities available to the game and the clubs. Sadly the RFL are incapable of doing either, they don't have the ability or resources and are too tied in with SKY to be able to move in any other direction. The majority of clubs, 3 or 4 aside, are also incapable of increasing their own spectator base and generating anything other than local based income, which is all well and good, but doesn't generate the kind of money needed to truly grow.

Until these issues are addressed nothing will change. Making these changes are not something the current people in control of the RFL want to tackle, or are capable of tackling.
We're in this position until the current super 8 system fails, only then will change be called for. Even if the Super 8's are a success the above statement about spectator base and commercial income will still be pretty much the same.

Making the top 6 or so championship clubs stronger and giving them a faint chance of getting to SL should increase the spectator base. Cutting the SL to 12 will decrease it.

Strengthening the CC1 significantly will give the game a bigger geographical spread and, in theory, will increase the spectator base from Gateshead to Gloucester to Hemel to London with a stop at Coventry and the heartlands along the way.

The numbers at present in this league are very small but every man, woman or child at these locations who was not a fan prior to the CC1 expansion is an increase in the spectator base. Increasing these numbers is a must and, hopefully, local initiatives and a progression path up the ladder will help.

#82 GeordieSaint

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:03 PM

Until these issues are addressed nothing will change. Making these changes are not something the current people in control of the RFL want to tackle, or are capable of tackling.


Agreed - until someone with a fair amount of clout actually sticks their head above the parapet and tells the powerbrokers that the game will not move forward as our development plans do nothing but reinforce failure, we'll continue to stagnate as a game.

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#83 EastLondonMike

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 08:03 AM

For RL to truly grow we need to expand the spectator base to at least double of what it currently is, and continue to look at ways of growing. That means new fans. Promotion to SL for some of the current championship clubs sadly won't achieve that, not to the levels required for the sport to really move forward. Existing fans might come back for a few seasons but we can't rely on that to make a real difference to the sport in the long term.


Of course we need the clubs coming into SL from the Championships to grow their spectator base, they need to do that for their own long term benefits as well as those of the sport, but ultimately the game needs a wider footprint to achieve what should be its goals for growth, with the knock-on effect being greater interest in the sport and greater opportunities commercially.

Greater exposure of the sports marquee games and Internationals on a regular basis are what is going to do that, combined with a greater presence on terrestrial TV (not just televised games) and in the printed media. This should have been the top priority at the RFL for the last 30 years, but i really don't think they've ever been up for that challenge. The RFL love to stand on the rooftops and shout about how innovative they are, but sadly when it comes to growing the game its the one thing they most definitely are not. Essentially the growth of the games fan base is whats going to determine its longevity.

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