This whole thing reminds me of the ill-fated World Club Championship in 1997. People got excited when the concept came out because Oldham would be playing North Queensland Cowboys and Warrington would be playing Auckland Warriors. Fans would come flocking because of the exciting 'wow factor' and the rigged group set up meant it was guaranteed to keep SL interest and excitement going right up until the final.
Deep in our hearts we knew it was a mistake, we knew there were going to be big mismatches but we closed our eyes to it. When the floggings came, the cynics and the axe grinders were onto it in a flash and the crowds dwindled to the diehards. When the knock out rounds came, no-one was interested at all and St Helens and Bradford went 12,000 miles to get whooped by 50+ in front of small crowds. Neither Bradford or St Helens actually won a game in the competition (they were 0-6 yet qualified for the QF).
The fall out was millions wasted, no games against Aussie clubs for 3 years and GB ridiculed after being thrashed 48-6 by Australia in front of just 12,000 fans in Brisbane (1999). The World Cup in 2000 was just the icing on the cake. Steady growth and evolution works - blind innovation and contrived 'excitement' is very much hit and miss.
That's a rather powerful post.
I'm in the process of analysing the whole re-structuring process for my column in League Express on Monday and it's been interesting to read on here all the positive and negative views about the new structure.
You have shown that, putting everything else aside, our sport seems to be addicted to making structural changes.
In most other businesses, when change is made, an organisation spends a fortune on marketing the new product.
It will be interesting to see whether the RFL is able to do that.