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Martyn Sadler

Super League succeeding as a TV sport

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I attended a conference yesterday (Thursday) at Headingley on the subject of 'Effective Commercial Partnerships.' in both codes of rugby.

 

One of the speakers was John Stainer, of the Repucom company, which undertakes market research, media evaluation and analyses market intelligence from 20 offices dotted around the world.

 

He made an interesting comparison of Super League's TV audience with those of the RBS Six Nations and the Aviva Premiership.

 

He pointed out that in the most recent complete seasons, the Six Nations audience had increased by 7%, the Aviva Premiership by 4%, but Super League's audience had increased by 19%.

 

Not only that, but his company had done major surveys of the audience for the two codes of rugby, and found that Rugby League supporters are particularly keen to embrace new products and, more importantly, are naturally inclined to buy the products of any sponsor that comes on board to back Rugby League.

 

He also found that the wider public associates qualities with Rugby League that are almost wholly positive - ranging from teamwork, discipline, toughness, athleticism and so on. The public impression of Rugby League is generally much more positive than it is of football, for example.

 

So it looks as though Rugby League is a sponsor's dream.

 

It prompted me to ask the obvious question of why, if all that is true, Rugby League appears to perform so badly commercially.

 

"Rugby League undersells itself," was his rather simple answer.

 

But it does make you think!

 

There will be more in Rugby League Express on Monday.

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Of course it does. Endless doom and gloom on twitter etc just add to the feeling that its on its arris.

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This man is so wrong as to be unbelievable. SL is a disaster and needs completely ripping apart and replaced with a competition made up of pro v semi-pro village teams.

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We need to ignore this research and completely undermine the top tier of the game.

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Bloomin 'eck!   What an excellent piece of  fact and evidence based information!

 

Anyone know which company the RFL uses to get sponsorship contracts?

 

Makes me think that there is maybe some merit in the idea to have an SL1 and SL2: extending the SL brand and culture might well be a good thing....and if there is to be P and R it has to be done through licencing.

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Not only that, but his company had done major surveys of the audience for the two codes of rugby, and found that Rugby League supporters are particularly keen to embrace new products and, more importantly, are naturally inclined to buy the products of any sponsor that comes on board to back Rugby League.

I have a health cash plan with Engage, I have a savings account with Leeds BS and the last couple of shirts I bought were from Racing Green, all as a result of rugby league sponsorship

 

And if I ever have any haulage needs, Stobart will be my first stop!

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Its quotes like "the public impression of RL is more positive than football" that raises an eyebrow. What does that mean? Are we meant to believe that footballs fanbase (a good portion of the general public) thinks more of RL than football? The same public that wouldnt know the difference between 13 and 15 if they turned the channel?

Vacuous statement.

The bottom line is if SL was as desirable as you allude to, sponsors would find their way to the game. "It undersells itself" is a poor excuse, equivalent to cupping you ears and screaming.

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It means that the general public have a poor image of footballers...ie overpaid jack the lads. Compared with the down to earth guys who play RL, not that more people prefer RL.

And it undersells itself by constantly 'knowing its place' when it could aim higher.

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Its quotes like "the public impression of RL is more positive than football" that raises an eyebrow. What does that mean? Are we meant to believe that footballs fanbase (a good portion of the general public) thinks more of RL than football? The same public that wouldnt know the difference between 13 and 15 if they turned the channel?

Vacuous statement.

The bottom line is if SL was as desirable as you allude to, sponsors would find their way to the game. "It undersells itself" is a poor excuse, equivalent to cupping you ears and screaming.

I think it's more "what is your perception of footballers/rugby league players".

 

I don't think the general public has a very good impression of footballers, even if they prefer the sport

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I have a health cash plan with Engage, I have a savings account with Leeds BS and the last couple of shirts I bought were from Racing Green, all as a result of rugby league sponsorship

 

And if I ever have any haulage needs, Stobart will be my first stop!

 

 

Aye, I used York Pullman to take my stag party to Dublin, purely because they have supported the Knights for years.

 

They were ace too. 

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I have accounts with engage and Cooperative entirely because they sponsored rugby league.

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Didn't Irn Bru say sales in the North of England went up considerably when they sponsored RL? Which is obviously good, but it makes you wonder why they have stopped.

 

I do think the fact that RL fans are actually quite loyal to people that sponsor the game compared to other sports

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Didn't Irn Bru say sales in the North of England went up considerably when they sponsored RL? Which is obviously good, but it makes you wonder why they have stopped.

 

I do think the fact that RL fans are actually quite loyal to people that sponsor the game compared to other sports

I imagine that the rate of increase has plateaud so they're not seeing the benefit any more.

 

Just give it a year after they've stopped and the sales plummet again!

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Didn't Irn Bru say sales in the North of England went up considerably when they sponsored RL? Which is obviously good, but it makes you wonder why they have stopped.

 

They haven't.

 

:)

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Fair enough. I thought I'd read something about it coming to an end. Obviously there is less visability overall now they don't sponsor Sky's coverage, but I'm sure there aren't as many billboards at grounds compared to last year.

 

Anyway, pleased to be proved wrong!

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We need to ignore this research and completely undermine the top tier of the game.

 

You're right, we need to cut the teams from the middle of our top division adrift by splitting the league in two mid way through the season.  We can then be treated to more repeat fixtures on Sky Sports and host the show from Headingley on fridays so often that the casual viewer will think that the playing of a trumpet, the banging of a drum and the singing of the old Leeds United classic "Marching On Together" are compulsory in our sport.

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Im confused as to what people actually mean by 'the game undersells itself'.

How?

Its not like we dont have opportunity for sponsors to come on board, there are loads.

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I'm of the opinion that there is huge competition among sports to attract sponsors. The RFL and its agents have to worke hard and smart to attract them. It has to sell itself...no one is going to do it for them.

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19% increase and no main sponsor...... Come play offs someone will come forward with an offer

Our game will become a 4 week season

The RFL should hang their head in shame.

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I attended a conference yesterday (Thursday) at Headingley on the subject of 'Effective Commercial Partnerships.' in both codes of rugby.

 

One of the speakers was John Stainer, of the Repucom company, which undertakes market research, media evaluation and analyses market intelligence from 20 offices dotted around the world.

 

He made an interesting comparison of Super League's TV audience with those of the RBS Six Nations and the Aviva Premiership.

 

He pointed out that in the most recent complete seasons, the Six Nations audience had increased by 7%, the Aviva Premiership by 4%, but Super League's audience had increased by 19%.

 

Not only that, but his company had done major surveys of the audience for the two codes of rugby, and found that Rugby League supporters are particularly keen to embrace new products and, more importantly, are naturally inclined to buy the products of any sponsor that comes on board to back Rugby League.

 

He also found that the wider public associates qualities with Rugby League that are almost wholly positive - ranging from teamwork, discipline, toughness, athleticism and so on. The public impression of Rugby League is generally much more positive than it is of football, for example.

Yes Superleague is very impressive, attracts a £90,000,000 TV contract and a pro rata big audience.

So the argument goes put every resource you possibly can into Superleague, and concentrate wholly on developing Superleague into a vibrant competition.

I've been told today Superleague is "boring"!!

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19% increase and no main sponsor...... Come play offs someone will come forward with an offer

Our game will become a 4 week season

The RFL should hang their head in shame.

 

Should they hang their head in shame for the 19% increase too? Or because that is a positive is it nothing to do with them?

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I'm of the opinion that there is huge competition among sports to attract sponsors. The RFL and its agents have to worke hard and smart to attract them. It has to sell itself...no one is going to do it for them.

but dont agencies do much of the work, certainly for things like tv deals - usually the same company that gets much more for other sports.

Ive no doubts that RL could stremgthen its sales arm, but are the potential benefits out there for rl to make this worthwhile? Id like to think so - but surely if it was so obvious the clubs could just give £2m per year to get some talented sales staff in and the benefits would dwarf this amount?

I just dont think its as simple as people think.

Some sports are pushing against open doors, I genuinely dont think RL is one of them.

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Wait isn't the game dying and a shambles?

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Rugby League World - April 2017

League Express - Mon 10th April 2017