So what's the answer bob? Just put the games in big stadia until people start loving it? Build it and they will come?
The two things that seem to cement participation are culture and mass media and the second feeds strongly into the second.
However, mass media and its control of culture has peaked. Things are becoming a little more fragmented that before. The situation was that if you wanted to play a team sport, you had rugby, soccer or cricket. As communication and transport have improved, you can reach your critical mass over a larger area and so there are more minority sports than ever before.
The town I am in used to have soccer, handball and a very small presence for cricket and rugby union. Now there are those sports, plus american football (far larger than rugby union), gaelic football (close to moribund, but there), AFL (strong presence), and rugby league. So, if these sports will survive, they have to realise that they are looking for a niche rather than a mass presence. The have to identify themselves with a fragment of the city rather than trying to appeal to everyone or to a locality (which is what London Broncos too often tried to do).
What is clear, is that - "watch our sport, it's great!" will not work.
Yes, I do agree with this in a 'why the hell don't others love this sport as much as we do' kind of way!
It frustrates the hell out of me too, it baffles me that sports like Union can be so big, but then their big events happen in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, Rome etc. rather than Manchester, London, Huddersfield, Wigan and Hull.
I think anybody who works for the RFL is on a hiding to nothing. Nothing they do will ever be good enough for us, and I think they have the hardest job of any of the major sports' administrators. RL bosses have challenges that other sports do not have, and they get no leg ups from anybody.
I had this discussion with a man studying sports marketing. The intrinsic entertainment value of the sport has very little to do with its popularity as a spectator sport. Soccer used to have the advantage that anyone could play, but that is becoming less of an advantage.
Most people who watch people of any code of football do not really understand the intricacies. Put a low quality match in a full 40,000 stadium and most people will assume the quality is high, put it in a park and most people will assume the quality is low. People may talk about tactics, but we all know that most people do not really understand the game to that level. A simple test of this is to see how many people who express a preference for rugby league or rugby union can actually tell what they are watching by being shown a few minutes of the game (seriously, my experience in the south is that most cannot).
If the peoples' preference was heavily influenced by the actual sport, then it is an incredible co-incidence that Melbourne is full of AFL fans and Sydney fill of rugby league fans, whilst Gaelic football of all things should be the preference of so many Irish people.
Exciting professional northern hemisphere RL is still possible when the top clubs clash so put all the resources into that. Ten clubs strategically placed with all the money centrally controlled. That's possible.
Is taking the good doctors prescription possible when no SL chairmen apart from the good doctor are up for it? You yourself say it'll cost them plenty and the "marquee men" would have to be prepared to join (in your own words) an inferior league. Would they?
Your a realist - at least I thought you were, don't join the wishful thinkers ol' Red.....
I will disagree on whether it is a poor post. I disagree with it, but he identifies a problem and a solution and I does not give us any nonsense about short-term parochialism being for the good of the game.
I disagree because I think the most exciting rugby league you will ever see will be when you are young and intrinsic quality is not actually that important, but that is just a judgement call.
Nice post and totally agree about entering races, trying to do the Sefton 5 miler on Wednesday, Mrs Jones is going to join me.
Talking about kick up the backside, my two boys did the park run this morning for the first time.
The ten year old time was 24:37 and the eleven year old 23:45, this is the ultimate kick up the bum for me, I'll sure have to up my miles.... Mrs jones and I are so proud of them, they beat loads of adults, their smiles were amazing.
Keep running, keep posting and most of all keep enjoying.... Thanks for your posts, helps motivate me.
I have vague memories of running in my twenties for the first time since I had been a slight teenager and realizing that running as a grown up is a very different matter. I was carrying a huge amount of more weight round, even though there was very little fat on me.
Running as a grown up is harder work, but it also means that when you are a kid is the best time to be introduced to running as a joy and it is great that they experience that rather than running as a necessary chore. Hopefully, it will set them up for life, we must hope?
And my question is, why should the players accept less money than Dr Koukash wants to pay them? Why should the owners be allowed to work together to deny money they would otherwise pay? and Why should the players accept that?
There are many things that make sport different from other industries. The big one is that the owners are rarely looking to make a profit. If a cafe was prepared to make a huge loss, it could drive its competitors out of business - this is rare for cafes but normal in sport.
On this point, how legal is the salary cap? I suppose MK must have looked into that though, that'd be the easiest way around it!
It's a tough one this. Can anyone explain the point of the cap? Is it to stop teams going under (which it has not done) or to make all the teams more even (which it has not done)? However, just going free for all would only seem to make each of those situations worse. The argument for getting rid of the salary cap only benefits one club more than it would have done five years ago. But they happen to be the club with the loudest owner!
I think in the case of SW, of course he is saying the present situation is fine. Wigan seem to have one of the best production lines, and will have spent a significant amount of money and time getting it that way. Why would he say 'yeah, let's let everyone circumvent that arduous process and buy their way to the top'? Even though I think wigan would be big hitters in an open market, that would (at the minute) seem to actually increase the competition at the top. I think at least Saints and Leeds, maybe Wire, would think the same.
We have no way of knowing it has not saved clubs from going under. We can say it has not prevented any club from going under, but it might well have saved a few. One club spending more than they can afford (hardly an unusual event) raises the wages for all players and would impact all clubs. The problem it seems to me is still having more places in Super League than viable Super League clubs. Perhaps, ideally, we would have a Super League with stronger clubs (even from France if needs be, but that is another argument), with a salary cap that they could all afford - but hte level they could all afford would allow them to buy the stars they are after.
The problem we have in SL is that the relatively insular world of the top refs rarely gets punctured by lower level ones. If you need two refs in a game then you're essentially needing to double your top-tier referee pool. I'm not convinced there are enough refs one level down that are good enough to step up to fully-pro reffing standards. Even then, pairing an inexperienced ref with an inexperienced one while they get up to speed at SL standards would mean a fairly iffy season of inconsistencies within games until everyone's at the same rough level.
Then you get to the persistent question of who is going to pay for the refs? You can't expect refs to step up to the top level without getting the compensation of a top level ref. I thought the RFL were already at the point of extensive rationing without having to put more mouths at the table needing to be fed.
Writing from a place where we have two refs with very amateur rugby league, bringing refs up to standard is an advantage of two refs per game. Having time actually on a pitch with an experienced ref is a very useful experience. It also gives the chance to see different methods of handling situations up close.
Of course, it is a very situation with refs who barely know the game and might be completely out of their depth (just lining it up for someone to slot it home).