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The Parksider

The SKY contract for RL - good or bad?

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Because some people think we can throw away close to £30m/year and carry on like we did in the good old days (as per my potted history).

My uncle played for York, Fev, Scarborough, Hull FC and Doncaster during 'the good old days' (87-97).

'The good old days' is most certainly not how he would describe them.

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Why not? there are two views. Anyway it would greatly help if you gave us yours good sir......

"Where do you think our game would be today if we had remained semi professional??"

Clubs would still be going bust chasing the dream, only it wouldn't be watched by a worldwide audience on TV. Or have any sponsors due to its subsequent non-exposure. And the crowds would be down to the last hardcore hundred's.

The idea that Superleague hasn't been good for the game is absolutely bonkers.

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Because some people think we can throw away close to £30m/year and carry on like we did in the good old days (as per my potted history).

Parky has asked the question about 'Where would we be without Sky money' about 637 times in the last week. Thats why different options are being discussed. Blame him for banging on about it not those who express opinions or debate the subject.

I believe RL would still be around even without Sky money not full time though - doesn't mean I want to have a game without that cash.

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I can't believe this is even seriously being discussed.

It isn't. You've read the posts.

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Clubs would still be going bust chasing the dream, only it wouldn't be watched by a worldwide audience on TV. Or have any sponsors due to its subsequent non-exposure. And the crowds would be down to the last hardcore hundred's.

The idea that Superleague hasn't been good for the game is absolutely bonkers.

That was then, its not now. Different people may have got involved in running RL clubs rather than the local butcher, publican, etc.

But if you want to go back to then we had 3 internationals v Australia that drew 'only' 143,000 or so spectators (and on terrestrial tv) in 1994 just before the Sky money came along.

The game of RL has progressed by so much in those subsequent 18 years and £250m of Sky money that we have managed to halve our attendances for a 3 game series v Australia.

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Parky has asked the question about 'Where would we be without Sky money' about 637 times in the last week. Thats why different options are being discussed. Blame him for banging on about it not those who express opinions or debate the subject.

I believe RL would still be around even without Sky money not full time though - doesn't mean I want to have a game without that cash.

I don' think many if any say it wouldn't be around, The top players would soon be whisked off though to union or Australia. We would still have standards based promotion though there wouldn't be any money to help clubs bring grounds up to scratch. We would still be playing in summer and we would just continue along the time line I posted earlier.

That was then, its not now. Different people may have got involved in running RL clubs rather than the local butcher, publican, etc.

But if you want to go back to then we had 3 internationals v Australia that drew 'only' 143,000 or so spectators (and on terrestrial tv) in 1994 just before the Sky money came along.

The game of RL has progressed by so much in those subsequent 18 years and £250m of Sky money that we have managed to halve our attendances for a 3 game series v Australia.

It isn't the Sky money that caused the drop in international attendances.

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I don't think internationals should be the yardstick by which we measure progress.

In 1994, there was a belief that we might beat the Aussies. It didn't turn out that way but people believed that it was possible.

Now they do not.

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That was then, its not now. Different people may have got involved in running RL clubs rather than the local butcher, publican, etc.

But if you want to go back to then we had 3 internationals v Australia that drew 'only' 143,000 or so spectators (and on terrestrial tv) in 1994 just before the Sky money came along.

The game of RL has progressed by so much in those subsequent 18 years and £250m of Sky money that we have managed to halve our attendances for a 3 game series v Australia.

And just about double the SuperLeague attendances.

Although if you would like to see a bunch of northern part-timers get beat by 100 points by both the full time Aussies and Kiwi's then thats your prerogative I suppose. I strongly suggest there wouldn't be 142,999 others there with you though.

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I don't think internationals should be the yardstick by which we measure progress.

In 1994, there was a belief that we might beat the Aussies. It didn't turn out that way but people believed that it was possible.

Now they do not.

In 94 we came close to beating the Aussies. As we have plenty of times since then. We even won in Sydney a few years ago.

I believe we might beat the Aussies at ever game I watch. Whats the point otherwise?

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Yes, the Sky money isn't relative to international attendances. However the £250m is when as Northern Sol points out we were closer in 1994 and fans had hope we may get that series win. After £250m being made available to amongst other things develop players and academies and structures and training methods, we are further away from Australia, which could also adversely affect attendances

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And just about double the SuperLeague attendances.

Although if you would like to see a bunch of northern part-timers get beat by 100 points by both the full time Aussies and Kiwi's then thats your prerogative I suppose. I strongly suggest there wouldn't be 142,999 others there with you though.

Yes SL attendances have gone up with the resulting increase in income streams that it brings.

You've concluded that I want to go back to part-time RL, I've never said that I would, and I don't believe that we should. Its still an option though, well within the subject of this thread and can be debated on here even if you don't agree with it - its a forum not a dictatorship.

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Yes, the Sky money isn't relative to international attendances. However the £250m is when as Northern Sol points out we were closer in 1994 and fans had hope we may get that series win. After £250m being made available to amongst other things develop players and academies and structures and training methods, we are further away from Australia, which could also adversely affect attendances

Rain affects attendances.

The whole thing is far too complex to pin it on one thing.

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Its all about change, how to handle it and how to manage it. We are in changing times and it can be uncomfortable. Looking at the change management curve, we are all possibly at different points, with some still at stage 1 -shock and denial, and some at stage 2, anger and fear. When Lobby etc get to stage 4, there will be no greater advocates for our game as it is today.

ChangeCurve1.gif

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John - i'd contend that the game is always on a number of change curves at any one time!

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Its all about change, how to handle it and how to manage it. We are in changing times and it can be uncomfortable. Looking at the change management curve, we are all possibly at different points, with some still at stage 1 -shock and denial, and some at stage 2, anger and fear. When Lobby etc get to stage 4, there will be no greater advocates for our game as it is today.

ChangeCurve1.gif

If you look at the attendance charts I posted elsewhere they fairly follow that curve.

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John - i'd contend that the game is always on a number of change curves at any one time!

I agree entirely. it does, though help to understand why we all take the positions we do. Lobby seems to be trapped in stage 1 and 2 at the same time:shock, denial, anger AND fear. That can't be good for him!

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One could argue that the RFL may have been able to build a broader portfolio for the game. Instead of focussing just on SL, they could have sold different competitions, different packages on different formats. In the long run they may have had more money.

I don't remember the RFL/SLE ever finding any serious bidders beyond SKY.

When the SKY talks broke down on the second contract the RFL/SLE spoke about how they were not tied to SKY and could stay professional and would explore other avenues.

That was when they had talks with the BBC as the only alternative, the BBC could not offer a quarter of what SKY were offering at the time. The RFL/SLE had to scuttle back to SKY tail between legs.

The question of new sports minded stations coming into the market was always one where could they compete with SKY's offer? Could we sell them something other than SL??.

In the end I've never come across any serious contender for the rights to RL, and they have been raised and discussed on here, unless you can name who they may have been?

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If we can't sell the game in towns such as Oldham that have played the game in one form or another since day one how can we expect to come up with a formula to sell the game outside of the heartlands?

I don't see we can without the money to elevate a London, Gateshead or a south wales on to a par with a Wigan, a Hull or a Leeds. These clubs could get as good a crowd as many SL clubs at top level when they were competing but for each of them that was little more than a one off (C.crusaders battle with Saints, Gatehead's one season, London's first in SL - sixth best supported club).

So we have to do our best with limited funds.

That returns us to the question - where would the game be today if we had limited ourselves by taking £150,000,000 less money off TV this last 17 years, so that all clubs could stand shoulder to shoulder??

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Clearly the number of paying spectators has gone up, but the big win comes from the huge amount of money that has been injected into the game by the 150000 to 200000 viewers of the game on Sky.

Well we can't count them twice John?

The money the armchair fan pays for admission to Superleague games is in essence the SKY contract money.

It's a good analogy. One could argue that without the SKY contract we'd lose 150,000 paying RL fans??

However armchair BBC fans would also pay through the license.

So the question remains how would the game have done if it had not received the extra monies SKY gave it over the BBC.

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Can't say that I'm an expert when it comes to the fine detail of the sky contract

Well SKY money to Superleague clubs is about £1.2M a year.

SL clubs need to pay wages of about £1.6M a year to compete

So really without SKY money there'd be no professional clubs.

That's it simplified if that help you to answer the question.

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So the question remains how would the game have done if it had not received the extra monies SKY gave it over the BBC.

I have posted my answer a good few number of posts ago.

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I have posted my answer a good few number of posts ago.

And I thank you for that and was suggesting the question remains live for others to answer.

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Been listening to this scenario for 60 years, of course the game would exist, both codes would, what the TV money has done is kept the codes apart. Sky is quiet happy "drip feeding" both codes with small contracts, giving them a year round product to fill their screens with.

Semi Pro rugby league (which would be the way the game would go) is and was a great product, no it wouldn't die eve if Union "wiped the floor with us" as you say, It certainly cant wipe the floor with us as a specticle, never will, no matter how many rules they change or how many "sugar daddies" they have willing to to loose £millions.

I don't believe in that at all anymore and have been for a long time now. I believe that all sports or all football codes are great products as long as there are fans who supports them just as passionately as ours. I come from a region where union is very strong and no matter how many times our game is shown on tv it still struggle for players and spectators.

I remember watching rugby league from the UK on free to air tv in NZ back in the 80's now its mainly all on pay TV.

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Our broadcasting structure is very similar to the other mainstream sports in this country.

Top division club league - RL, Football, RU and Cricket are all on satellite channels, many with Sky Sports, the biggest of them.

International Level - All apart from cricket have this split amongst terrestrial and satellite channels. RL uses BBC and Sky Sports - the two biggest players in these markets.

In short - I'm not sure what choice we had - the BBC don't broadcast regular league games for any sport any more.

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