Toby Chopra

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  1. Bite the bullet and use SL to drive wider interest in the game. (And no, that doesn't mean the rest of the game isn't important, I'm just answering the question of what the CC of for, these days) Move the final up north, put all the SL teams in at the round of 32 and fold coverage into the main TV deal. If that means top teams use more reserves and, softly, alter their relationship with the competition, so be it. Other sports have seen the status of longstanding competitions alter too, but, for instance, the soccer league Cup finals and union Cup final are still big days at HQ, even if the run up rounds are less promoted. In return, make the new SL TV deal include 6 regular season games a year AND the grand final on terrestrial. In some ways its heartbreaking to have to write this, but we can't afford sentimental and wishful thinking decisions any more, I fear the clock really is ticking for British RL.
  2. I think you just about sum things up correctly Double D, although I think much of Harry's points about the financial reality of the RFL still stand. Singling out Toronto and Toulouse is clearly a disaster on the strategic and PR fronts, given that a final between, say, Salford and Hudds would also be financially challenging. But really, this PR mess just reflects the underlying reality of the CC as a competition and the RFL as an organisation. Now that the SL is operationally independent, the RFL simply can't afford to take ANY financial risks lest it impact on its ability to fulfil its remaining functions. Hard as it is to say, the CC just doesn't hold the place on the game that it used to and, as much as we can demand the RFL do better to "promote" it, sometimes you have to take an honest look at a situation and face the truth. There's lots of reasons that the CCF isn't what it was, not all to do with the RFL, and indeed not all in fact negative (the rival successes of the GF and Magic are a GOOD THING) Like most on here, I grew up watching Wembley CCFs and their place in the history of the game is legendary. But on reflection, I think the recent decision of the RFL to sign a long term deal for Wembley - the most expensive stadium in the country - was a massive mistake for a competition that just doesn't warrant it anymore, and inevitably leads to the sort of perverse decisions we've seen this week. As I've written elsewhere, I'm a southerner and I go to the CCF every year as it's the easiest way to see top class RL close (ish) to home. I love it, especially the tradition. But if the tradeoff for moving the CCF up north was a guarenteed international in London every year, I think I'd take it. The outcry would be huge - and deservedly so as it would be a huge decision to make - but ultimately one that I think could be justified better than the awful one taken this week.
  3. Toby Chopra


    Are they staying full time?
  4. Toby Chopra

    Lions tour 2019 (Merged Threads)

    Such a depressing take. How could you possibly watch any of Tonga's games during the World Cup or since and describe them as plastic. They are the most astonishing scenes at rugby league games we've seen in years, you get goosebumps even watching on TV from the other side of the world. I feel very sad that you can't get any joy from such amazing events, just because you can't see beyond a very outdated view of national identity.
  5. Toby Chopra

    New York RL - The Full 80 Minutes

    When I flew back from NY this summer (from Newark no less, just a few miles from the Red Bull stadium) we were in the air for just 5 hours 50 minutes. I've spent longer than that stuck in a hold up on the M1.
  6. Toby Chopra

    Bradford Bash?

    Are you sure about that? What we often forget is that Bash and Magic primarily exist as television events. Sky turn over an entire channel for a whole weekend to show Championship rugby league, something that is only possible if held at a single venue. The viewing figures aren't huge, but they certainly exceed the numbers of those regularly attend Championship games each week. Even if that extra TV audience is only existing rugby league fans, at least it keeps the Championship in people's minds. The derby/grudge match ups come across well on TV. Now the Broncos are up, they're the only Championship matches I'll see all year, so until the Champ finally gets it's own TV deal, be a shame to scrap it.
  7. Yes, the latter. NFL games have 8 TV timeouts per half, of 60 seconds or 120 seconds in length each. They can be called at number of defined moments, usually changes of possession, but also injuries or instant replay reviews. The TV producers make a signal in the stadium just prior to each break, so the teams know a short pause is coming. For the most part, it's usually pretty predictable when the TV timeouts are due, but sometimes if teams go on a long, time consuming drive, they have to cram in loads one after another afterwards. If rugby league was willing to consider something similar - a couple of 60 second stoppages per half after scoring, or if the ball went dead in goal - would that make us more attractive to terrestrial ad funded broadcasters. Itv or 5 could bid for challenge cup if they knew they could sell more ads?
  8. Toby Chopra

    TV Deal

    They already announced this last year didn't they, what am I missing? (link from 2017)
  9. Doesn't look favourable, does it? Too slow to be a receiver, too light to be a running back, too short to be a tight end.
  10. I'd like to see you tell an NFL lineman to his face that he's not a real man.
  11. Toby Chopra

    New York RL - The Full 80 Minutes

    Well I just hope they've got proper financial guarantees. The RFL have had a... mixed... record in recent years locking this stuff down. But if they can, they should green light it now.
  12. Toby Chopra

    New York RL - The Full 80 Minutes

    There isn't a meaningful way to 'build interest' from the bottom up in such markets. People there, like in Toronto, want ready made high quality sports entertainment. But we don't have to build interest. "Rugby" (generically) has the highest profile it has ever had in the US, largely from what's happened in union (Olympic 7s, World Cup, All Black's visiting) But we can benefit. In new markets people don't make a link with essential recreational or amateur competitions and a pro team. You're competing in the biggest, but also the most competitive, sports entertainment market on earth It's all in with a full pro "rugby" team, or don't bother. People can come to learn the difference between league and union as they go along. For us, our weakness is our strength. The fact we can make decisions in relatively short timeframes and are willing to let in transatlantic teams to UK completions is something that English or French union can't /won't do. But the window is closing fast, the RFL need to find out now if there's a serious backer behind all this.
  13. Toby Chopra

    New York RL - The Full 80 Minutes

    But there (arguably) IS a desire by the locals to watch Pro Rugby in general. If a New York RL team can grab that space before the MLR team gets fully up and running, then maybe it can stick. That's what happened in Toronto. Of course there are differences between the cities that many have listed.
  14. Toby Chopra

    New York RL - The Full 80 Minutes

    You misunderstand me. I wasn't saying that RL was a higher standard than RU per se, just that a well funded NY RL team playing in the UK leagues would be a higher standard than a NY MLR team. Which is important because there already is a MLR team in NY - largely staffed by US college players on very cheap contracts - and they would be the main competition in the 'pro rugby' spectator market in NY. It's probably the one advantage a NY RL team has. Nothing about any inherent superiority of RL. And as far as the 'piggybacking' goes, that just happens naturally. If the profile of rugby (generically) is boosted in the US by the union World Cup, and visits from All Blacks', Ireland etc and then there's an opportunity for New Yorkers to watch pro club rugby on a regular basis as a follow up, then it helps. David Argyle himself has said this has happened in the Wolfpack's case. But I didn't say that it should be the only strategy. Many have long argued that RL is more suited to N American audiences because of the similarities with US/Canadian football (downs/tackles etc) and it's arguably simpler rules. But all that only really comes into play when trying to get people to stick around, once they've come to try it.
  15. Toby Chopra

    New York RL - The Full 80 Minutes

    I think so. Given the state that L1 is in now - it might not even be here in 2020 - we really are past the point of pandering to the purists who demand every team start at "the bottom".