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Lobbygobbler

RFL needs to reform access to SL for Co-Op C. Clubs

197 posts in this topic

Give it a few years and other spots will start to look at this approach.

I think your right on that front, it can only be a matter of a few years before we have a football breakaway in Europe, the gulf in the Premier League is getting to big, these billionaire owners aren't going to be wanting to play the likes of Blackpool, Wigan and WBA, for them, once they've sampled the big European nights I bet thats all they long for and the wads of cash that go with it.

With regards to the ongoing debate about dwindling crowds in the Championship, has anyone actually bothered to ask people in anything like a meaningful way why they arn't going? To you it maybe P&R, they simply might not think that 12 to 15 quid to watch part time sports men is actually that good a deal, or maybe god forbid, they just fell out of love with rugby altogether, people change, circumstances change.

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can you prove this or is it one big supposition?

Can you show me an NL1 or 2 club that has tightened its links to its community, got its marketing spot on, is playing attractive football AND has significantly declining crowds?

Barrow

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The world is changing and if Rugby League does not change with it, it will die. This applies equally well to International RL, Sl and all levels below that. The game at the International level is changing but has a long way to go. Sl is in a pretty good state, limited only by the sales and marketing creativity of some clubs.

In my opinion, there are very very few Championship clubs that could in their wildest dreams have a sustainable future in SuperLeage and Leigh is not one of them. The writing was on the wall for Leigh many many years ago even before Tim Street was playing. There are too many clubs with a long-term record of playing and commercial success close by, for one. The last thing we want is for yet another club to go bust in its attempts to buy its way in as this is always at the expense of the taxpayer, the players and the creditors. No more , please.

Of course, it can be done: because of its embracing of and drive to comply with the SL licence criteria, because of the workmanlike way it has gone about things, and because it has an enviable record of success in within living memory, (and so able to bring back lapsed fans) Widnes, (like as Hull KR has already shown is possible), is well able to have a sustainable future in SL. And that is what the licensing criteria , or broadly-based P and R is about.

Give it a few years and other spots will start to look at this approach. Give it another few years and Lobby will still be worshiping Jude the Apostle, the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes.

What is your opionion on Saints huge losses this season? Is a huge loss acceptable (and maybe being close to going bust), but going bust (but by a small amount) not acceptable.

By the way I don't recall Leigh going bust, so why they are used as an example i'm not sure. One thing for sure is that there has been a big increase in clubs going bust/insolvent in the co-op leagues SINCE licensing. So although the top14 are feasting off sky cash (apid for by many non-SL fans) lower league clubs get very little

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Parky - This post is however not attacking the SL concept ince 1996 so your post is irrelevant. P&R was only shelved a couple of years ago so really the before/after point for comparison should be the last licensing decision.

I don't recall a huge increase in SL crowds since the licensing decision

Why do you rabbit on about Dewsbury. Actually in my example they are one of the poorest supported clubs who are have been at the bare bones level of around 1k for many years. Those sorts of crowds are the future in Co-op 1 unless something is done.

co-op 1 averaged 1,700 last year. Dewsbury average 1200. If the average in NL1 drops to Dewsbury levels then 5,500 NL fans will be lost to the game.

I think the Superleague clubs will easily make that increase now we have Salford's ground, Widnes coming in, possible grounds at Cas and Wakey and hopefully Bradford alone will put a few thousand back on their crowds.

I agree something should be done - but it should be done about NL1 - it should be a 14 club competition with standards, well run and marketed and if that happens I see no reason crowds won't actually stay at current levels.

It would surely be a pleasure to follow leigh in such a division rather than have a three year giant financial loss stint in SL? Or are you not telling us something about the personal wealth of your club directors??

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In my opinion, there are very very few Championship clubs that could in their wildest dreams have a sustainable future in SuperLeage and Leigh is not one of them.

John,

Take Widnes (an SL club in all but name) and Toulouse of - who else were you thinking of in the "few" comment??

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Threads started by Lobbygobbler to do with franchising:

RFL needs to reform access to SL for Co-Op C. Clubs (08/09/10)

Bradford and Odsal (19/08/2010)

Stadium Criteria for SL (28/07/10)

2 year P&R cycle idea (for heartland teams) (30/03/10)

What will happen after the current 3 year license system? (22/12/09)

RL Expansion in England, Why is it failing at the semi-pro level (10/11/09)

RFL need to be consistent with licensing/P&R (15/09/09)

Seven in a year, so looking at more than one every two months. Mate, people are getting pretty bored of it! If you've got something new to add to it, why not bring up one of these threads and add to it again?

Can I make a request to the moderators to merge all of these threads into a "Lobbygobbler Licensing Complaint (merged)" thread so we don't have to trawl through the same ###### over and over?

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Widnes and possibly Toulouse under special conditions.

I think its a question as much as anything of location for starters. I'm thinking of clubs that have clear country around them, with a relatively high population in the travel-to-work area, without the magnetic pull of existing big clubs. even though this might rule Barrow in, I don't think there is a big enough sustainable fan, spectator and and sponsor base. Then the club has to be attractive enough for players to relocate there and the club has to have good,sound management at all levels.

I also happen to think that many clubs have had many years to get this right, so should not be surprised at calls to start new clubs from scratch in new areas.

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What is your opionion on Saints huge losses this season? Is a huge loss acceptable (and maybe being close to going bust), but going bust (but by a small amount) not acceptable.

By the way I don't recall Leigh going bust, so why they are used as an example i'm not sure. One thing for sure is that there has been a big increase in clubs going bust/insolvent in the co-op leagues SINCE licensing. So although the top14 are feasting off sky cash (apid for by many non-SL fans) lower league clubs get very little

when a club goes bust it is historical it isnt the last year per se.. it is poor management for a long time.. liscencing has not caused this.

umpteen sports are talking about this..l it has been spoken about in RU for some time, Northern Irish football did a similar thing last year in a different way granted but still its a liscencing..

The problem is the jump from semi pro to pro on all levels on field and off field that causes issues dropping down AND stepping up, liscening is there to try and ease this a little and to concentrate the champ clubs' minds on getting the businesses up to the level where by they can close this gap and reopen p&r or expand the Super League to incorporate all who can be involved.

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co-op 1 averaged 1,700 last year. Dewsbury average 1200. If the average in NL1 drops to Dewsbury levels then 5,500 NL fans will be lost to the game.

I think the Superleague clubs will easily make that increase now we have Salford's ground, Widnes coming in, possible grounds at Cas and Wakey and hopefully Bradford alone will put a few thousand back on their crowds.

I agree something should be done - but it should be done about NL1 - it should be a 14 club competition with standards, well run and marketed and if that happens I see no reason crowds won't actually stay at current levels.

It would surely be a pleasure to follow leigh in such a division rather than have a three year giant financial loss stint in SL? Or are you not telling us something about the personal wealth of your club directors??

spot on.

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Lobby, would you be happy in the Coop Championship if we could guarantee Leigh fans two matches against Wigan a season? That's all most Leigh fans seem to care about.

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Just to throw an alternative opinion out there, I think if an area has two clubs there is more chance of success. I don't think people realise the pulling power and attractiveness a local rivalry has on spectator interest. Rather than diluting the supporter base, I think in fact it compliments it. Take a look at Hull FC's crowd increase since Hull KR joined the league. Take out the derby game and we still average more than 2,000 fans extra compared to when they were out the league.

On the flip side, I also think that two many clubs in an area can dwindle this interest, and every game just seems the same. West Yorkshire for example has too many clubs. Local derbies don't seem to generate too much interest because they happen nearly every other week. The interest (as well as support base) is diluted rather than complimented.

A second side in France could greatly compliment the Catalans, London and Wales. And the game between the two clubs would create much more media interest than them playing any other club.

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I'm really unsure about this issue as there are so many factors to consider but Lobby is correct that many fans of CC/CC1 clubs have left the game due to the lack of prospects for their club. Whilst I can see the benefits of franchising on one hand, imagine if Widnes don't get given a liscence this time round I'd imagine the attedances would drop dramaticly and wouldn't be suprised if the chairman disapeared. The flipside is that franchises has been the making of catalan and crusaders.

I know football is a different model all together but no one is saying Blackpool are an embarresment or don't deserve to be there even though, on paper at least, they have no chance of competing. If say Fev went up and only spent say, half the cap they may get relegated the next year but with hundreds of thousands of pounds of sky money in the bank with wich to invest in structures, marketing, youth development to be more ready next time.

Its a big can of worms really with no obvious solution, though I think more time is needed to judge it all properly as like others have stated its early days for the whole process.

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If I recall correctly, Hull has a travel to work are population of 500,000 and a decent separation zone from other similar clubs so I can see how it works. That is different from the situation in the Wigan, Saints, Widnes Warrington and Leigh area,s that are almost contiguous.

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oop!

Edited by JohnM

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Lobby

are you saying that if an NL1 (or 2) club got its marketing strategy bang on, with great links to the community, got it right on the pitch too and played an attractive brand of football that their crowds would still drop because they couldn't apply for SL for another 3 years?

Wish we would do that, we need to build bridges with our local amatuer leagues, do a little better in the community, ( WE DO GOOD WORK HERE, but it can always be better ) but IMO a Marketing strategy & proceduers are an absolute MUST.

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Sheffield Eagles have a business model that isn't overly dependent on crowds of a certain size. Since moving to DVS, they've always been able to offer potential sponsors and corporate hospitality types brilliant value compared to the other pro sports clubs in the region - Wednesday, United, Barnsley FC, and the Steelers. Although I'd imagine the market is tougher now than it was, what the Eagles offer those sorts of people is terrific value. I was told (a few years ago, admittedly) that the corporate side of the Eagles business was comparable to that of some Super League clubs. Remember, Sheffield is a big city - while it has always proved hard to get fans in week in, week out, the business community has always been supportive of the Eagles. Gary Hetherington was big on this - he realized it was the lifeblood of the club at that time.

The Eagles are also realistic about their position and their finances. They do not make turnover predictions based on possible gates. They do not survive with the assistance of a 'sugardaddy'. They have not staked everything on getting promoted to Super League. I know for a fact that SL is still their long term aim, but they are sensible and realistic enough to realize that the only way that will happen is if they do X, Y and Z.

The Eagles team is relatively inexpensive. They have lost out on certain players, and let others go, because their wage demands were too high. Many of these players found what they were looking for from other clubs, but these clubs are now struggling to pay the bills.

The Eagles are used to making their business work without much cash. Luckily they have a board of directors who are realistic and want League to succeed in Sheffield over decades, maybe longer, not the next three years.

I would love to see the Eagles in Super League again, of course, but it's got to be at a point where the club is in the right position to make a good go of it. That time will come in a few years, I'm sure. Until then, they will survive, slowly improve on and on the pitch, and continue doing what they see as vtal to the business: community, development and education work.

I agree in principle with your point that something needs to change, but automatic P&R isn't it. If we could get a fully professional (or at least largely fully professional) second tier, with similar but lower standards to SL, then the return of promotion and relegation is an option. At the moment it isn't.

Good post.

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Wish we would do that, we need to build bridges with our local amatuer leagues, do a little better in the community, ( WE DO GOOD WORK HERE, but it can always be better ) but IMO a Marketing strategy & proceduers are an absolute MUST.

something all clubs should have, to a relevant level of detail.

Its probably a bit outdated now and I'm sure some of the young guns on here can suggest an alternative, but what about a market analysis and benchmark comparison?

1. What is your catchment area?

2. What is the population of that area?

3. What is the demographic breakdown?

4. What is the total available market?

5. What market penetration can you achieve?

6. best case/worst case business model?

7. benchmark against selected clubs successful or not.

8. From all that, set some realistic but challenging targets

9. Devise and execute marketing plan to deliver the results you need.

(BTW, if anyone is looking for an Aprimo database marketing consultant and practitioner, I have one - see here!)

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I think its a question as much as anything of location for starters. I'm thinking of clubs that have clear country around them, with a relatively high population in the travel-to-work area, without the magnetic pull of existing big clubs. even though this might rule Barrow in.

Then the club has to be attractive enough for players to relocate there and the club has to have good,sound management at all levels.

I really hope Barrow work in this area, At a reasonable guess we have a population of approx 200'000 living within a 45 min drive with no real compo close enough to challenge, but isnt really be worked on as far as i can tell as we have been in the RL wilderness for too long , so we have gone down the strong 1st team route .

Please work on this area BRLFC.

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Would Lobby have raised this question had Leigh still been in the hunt?

Long term Leigh - like others- will benefit. If it wasn't for certain ground standards, Lobby maybe you wouldn't have had your new ground?

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Wish we would do that, we need to build bridges with our local amatuer leagues, do a little better in the community, ( WE DO GOOD WORK HERE, but it can always be better ) but IMO a Marketing strategy & proceduers are an absolute MUST.

Hi Mick

I agree that most clubs are doing good work, but I think RL as a whole needs to be more expansive in its approach. With the exception of a few (Wigan of course being the most notable) I don't know of any clubs which I'd say are really pushing the boundaries of marketing and coming up with great new ideas. In an age or recession and austerity its much more difficult to get people to part with their money.

There are some things, particularly with regards to clubs and senior players/members that I think we could take some ideas from RU. Like how hard would it be for every club to have senior touch RL team? I'm sure some retired players would run it a couple of evenings a week. Keep people involved with the club, and we could do what RU do can claim these are still active players.

The thing is we can't just copy what other sports have done, we got to inovate and really push the boundaries to get more people involved. I honestly don't think just being as negative as Lobby helps.

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Lobby does have some points when he talks about the troubles that Championship clubs face. I do think he has a point when he talks about Championship fans lack of interest.

However he doesn't have the answers, not even close. Promotion and relegation in it's last form was just as bad as this. People forget but it had been a shambles for almost 10 years.

1999 - Hunslet (no promotion)

2000 - Dewsbury (no promotion)

2001 - Widnes. Performed well year after and replaced Huddersfield.

2002 - Huddersfield, went year undefeated. Replaced Salford.

2003 - Salford, promoted comfortably. Halifax relegated after financial difficulty.

2004 - Leigh, replaced Castleford.

2005 - Castleford promoted, replaced Leigh after first season shambles. Widnes relegated to make way for Catalans.

2006 - Hull KR promoted, replaced Castleford.

2007 - Castleford replaced Salford.

2008 - Salford promoted through licensing but win Grand Final anyway.

So in 7 attempts where relegation occured, the relegated team came straight back up in 5 of the years. They usually had almost no competition.

My memory of this period was that it was usually 2 clubs fighting it out way ahead of everybody else, with 1 usually quite comfortably better than the other. Nowadays it is much closer.

Widnes get a lot of criticism for finishing 5th and being favourites for promotion but this is largely because of a low salary cap. The result has been a far more competitive Championship that is better quality. The situation is that if we brought back straight P & R the current salary cap would be massively unfair on a team like Widnes and would enable somebody with a relatively small amount of money to buy their way into Super League. This is not good for the game either. With the cap at

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Just to throw an alternative opinion out there, I think if an area has two clubs there is more chance of success. I don't think people realise the pulling power and attractiveness a local rivalry has on spectator interest. Rather than diluting the supporter base, I think in fact it compliments it. Take a look at Hull FC's crowd increase since Hull KR joined the league. Take out the derby game and we still average more than 2,000 fans extra compared to when they were out the league.

On the flip side, I also think that two many clubs in an area can dwindle this interest, and every game just seems the same. West Yorkshire for example has too many clubs. Local derbies don't seem to generate too much interest because they happen nearly every other week. The interest (as well as support base) is diluted rather than complimented.

A second side in France could greatly compliment the Catalans, London and Wales. And the game between the two clubs would create much more media interest than them playing any other club.

I think your right. Presently all of London, Wales and France have two clubs playing at SL and Championship level. If you got a situation where all six were fully professional it would I believe be a real motor for taking the game forward. Toulouse's best gate since Widnes went there in the Cup back in 2005 was a pre-season friendly this year against Catalans when they pulled 4000.

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Quick question to save me wasting precious time: is it actually worth reading all this, or have we been here before already?

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Quick question to save me wasting precious time: is it actually worth reading all this, or have we been here before already?

Deja vu, mon ami

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