What are your thoughts? What would you do if it was in your gift to right the games wrongs and get things moving in a positive direction?
I've been round this one for many years and nigh on 19,000 posts.
It seemed to dawn on me thinking about it long and hard that the professional game itself hasn't grown much from it's 1996 footprint to what we have today.Compare SL 1996 to SL 2015 and it's still largely a one motorway league with token involvement from France.
But despite that we took crowds from 5,540 in 1996 to 9,820 by 2009, so we got our business growth and secured the game through our relationship with SKY.
Since then, when crowds had effectively grown an average of 6% a year, things "topped out". Do we really really really think we could have gone on growing crowds by 6% a year ad infinitum? Especially when the league was roughly the same old clubs, in the same old area, and even moreso when top players started to drift off to play RU and NRL, and the recession bit and SKY seemed to televise more matches making the stay at home with a few cans option more attractive?
"Positive directions" do not go on forever unless you invest in the business and as Padge points out we do not have the money to do that.
For me personally I'd certainly have cut SL to 12 but brought back one up one down P & R. Once again I would not have brought in a failed Swiss soccer system and tried to hype it up, that has been so silly and immature the RFL should resign and let someone with some business sense and a sense of reality come in and run things.
If that was me I'd look to get Bradford back and get something moving in the Calder area. How far I could do that with the vested interests of the other clubs I dunno. The infrastructure of the decent grounds helped increase crowds, I'd want to make Odsal a better ground and support Cas get their ground.
After that all I could hope to do was fine tune things, and make the best of what we have. There can be no magic wand solution or even something that would provide a significant boost in one go. If there were these things then to be Fair to Wood, Rimmer, Solly and Company they would have probably introduced them.
I would not be looking at "Marketing" as the magic wand solution. The World cup showed me the thousands of fans that would like to watch top class RL regularly but don't, know exactly where we are but they choose not to come.
We have captured a lot in our growth 1996-2009 but if we are to capture more we need better players, bigger clubs and better facilities and we seem to have hit a brick wall with that now, so It may be no surprise that crowds are going nowhere.
So some fine tuning, and working towards holding what we have, and using the SKY money to balance the books.
But this potty system and it's pathetic hype, I'd never have done that.
- Chronicler of Chiswick likes this