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Martyn Sadler

Rugby League told to play to its strengths ... but World Cup still waiting for sponsors

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RESEARCH carried out by media and marketing consultancy Repucom has suggested that Rugby League can generate a larger share of the wider sponsorship market by drawing attention to the profile of its followers.

And, with 76 of the world’s top 100 brands currently investing in sports sponsorship, the payoff for the game could be significant, particularly in a World Cup year.

So far the RFL has been unable to attract any major sponsors for the tournament, largely because of a delay in confirming overseas broadcasting rights.

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I think the fact there is no major Sponsor for the World Cup or the Super League comp should lead to a change in personnel.

I am worried about all aspects of the game in the UK at the moment.

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Very interesting and helpful article Martyn. I'll be using some of the Repucom statistics and information you have provided here in the near future.

 

PBC

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I think the fact there is no major Sponsor for the World Cup or the Super League comp should lead to a change in personnel.

I am worried about all aspects of the game in the UK at the moment.

 

We need another Richard Lewis, someone who has no prior investment within RL to take a more objective approach.

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If Leyton Orient can secure Samsung and the FIFA video game as shirt sponsors how the RFL cannot pick up some major names for sponsors is beyond me. I've always thought the RFL look at what money can be made out of a sponsor, rather than what other values a sponsor with a household name could bring to the game. ie they'd rather take £100 from "Colin's Carpets" than £50 from "Sony". Even though partnerships with major brands, someone like a 'Sony", could put the game in a much more positive light than if it had gone with Colin and his carpets and therefore appear more attractive to other sponsors of a similar ilk.

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"The average Rugby League supporter is a male three years younger (than the average RU supporter), but with a similar purchasing ability." Interesting, and not something that I think many potential sponsors would realise.

Edited by Futtocks

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For any Sponsorship deal to work out it needs to be a partnership where each party gets something from the deal.

There seems to be an inability to sell the game as an asset to potential sponsors.

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For any Sponsorship deal to work out it needs to be a partnership where each party gets something from the deal.

There seems to be an inability to sell the game as an asset to potential sponsors.

 

Too much take and not enough give ?

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Too much take and not enough give ?

I would say that but I think its the other way around.

The last deal with a few random players on a dozen trucks seemed like the RFL was rolled badly.

What did it do for the game? NOTHING.

Edited by AndyCapp

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We have representatives from the RFL and RLWC2013 at the ESS2013 and John Dutton  (RLWC) is speaking this afternoon 

 

Some of the quotes I've picked up on so far this morning

 

"Pink: 'to expand the game in Europe we had to break down the perception of cricket as a white middle class English game' "

 

Helen Day from the European Sponsorship Association :'sponsorship has moved on from being a patronage to a commercial arrangement'

93% of all worldwide sponsorship is in sport. Understandably clothing firms account for the biggest share'

 

FACT - Sport is a good investment for govt "@jamesallenSE4: RWC2015 to generate economic impact of £2.1bn to the uk.

 

Moreton: 'Our greatest strength in bidding for events is UK spectator culture. UK events have soul'

 

Coward: 'Policy makers didn't get that sports generated big money through IP- and that needs to be protected. Piracy is stealing'

 

SCRUM - the key principles to make sure Rugby World Cup 2015 is a success #ESS2013 pic.twitter.com/UcuA2FFp3d

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I've always thought the RFL look at what money can be made out of a sponsor, rather than what other values a sponsor with a household name could bring to the game. ie they'd rather take £100 from "Colin's Carpets" than £50 from "Sony". Even though partnerships with major brands, someone like a 'Sony", could put the game in a much more positive light than if it had gone with Colin and his carpets and therefore appear more attractive to other sponsors of a similar ilk.

Like when they took the Betfair money instead of the partnership with Stobart?

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I would say that but I think its the other way around.

The last deal with a few random players on a dozen trucks seemed like the RFL was rolled badly.

What did it do for the game? NOTHING.

Where's your proof that it did nothing for the game?

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Where's your proof that it did nothing for the game?

Use of CAPITALS. ;)

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Use of CAPITALS. ;)

Ah, the Canetman methodology!

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For any Sponsorship deal to work out it needs to be a partnership where each party gets something from the deal.

There seems to be an inability to sell the game as an asset to potential sponsors.

 

This is exactly right. Sponsors in the past have seemed almost apologetic when they get involved. What could Gillette or Tetleys or JJB have actually got back if they had put some effort in? Northern Ford (not just Ford but the M62 bit) is an example of the apathy. It is as if it is just too much effort to put the brand behind it as we will get it on the cheap anyway without lifting a finger.

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We have employed all sorts of people from outside of the game yet our fortunes don't change massively.

 

People can talk all they want about customer profiles etc. but there is more to sport sponsorship than this. Prestige is a hard to measure thing.

 

Our Commercial Manager previously worked with Man City IIRC and was involved in major deals with the likes of Etihad - why isn't he just finding it easy to go out and get sponsors in?

 

IMG are selling the rights to the WC - again, whay aren't the broadcasters flocking to them?

 

People need to understand that Rugby League officials are often fighting an uphill battle. Journo's, fans and club officials don't help in the slightest.

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This is exactly right. Sponsors in the past have seemed almost apologetic when they get involved. What could Gillette or Tetleys or JJB have actually got back if they had put some effort in? Northern Ford (not just Ford but the M62 bit) is an example of the apathy. It is as if it is just too much effort to put the brand behind it as we will get it on the cheap anyway without lifting a finger.

 

 I'm not sure that's fair.

 

We see and have seen all sorts of promotions from companies like Gillette, engage, Heinz, Irn Bru, Tetleys that are similar to those other sports get - apart from one big difference - pretty much all our additional branding/activity/promotions are regional in the North of England. Maybe that suits some people, but imho it is massively holding us back.

 

Why would Heinz want a stand dedicated to Sam Tomkins in a Supermarket in Norwich?

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 I'm not sure that's fair.

 

We see and have seen all sorts of promotions from companies like Gillette, engage, Heinz, Irn Bru, Tetleys that are similar to those other sports get - apart from one big difference - pretty much all our additional branding/activity/promotions are regional in the North of England. Maybe that suits some people, but imho it is massively holding us back.

 

Why would Heinz want a stand dedicated to Sam Tomkins in a Supermarket in Norwich?

 

Why wouldn't they if they had a breakdown of what percentage of Sky viewers do not live on the M62? It is holding us back I agree.

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Why wouldn't they if they had a breakdown of what percentage of Sky viewers do not live on the M62? It is holding us back I agree.

 Because ultimately even if 50% of the viewers are outside of the North, that is still only around 100k people.

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 Because ultimately even if 50% of the viewers are outside of the North, that is still only around 100k people.

 

Or half a million on the BBC. I bet if you showed a picture of Sam Tomkins in a Wigan shirt with a ball to 100 people in Norwich - hardly any would recognise him - fair enough. However, people would know it was a rugby player and quite a few would have heard of Wigan. It takes effort both ways and if sponsors have not got any faith in the brand outside of the M62 then we will always get offered peanuts.

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We have employed all sorts of people from outside of the game yet our fortunes don't change massively.

 

People can talk all they want about customer profiles etc. but there is more to sport sponsorship than this. Prestige is a hard to measure thing.

 

Our Commercial Manager previously worked with Man City IIRC and was involved in major deals with the likes of Etihad - why isn't he just finding it easy to go out and get sponsors in?

 

IMG are selling the rights to the WC - again, whay aren't the broadcasters flocking to them?

 

People need to understand that Rugby League officials are often fighting an uphill battle. Journo's, fans and club officials don't help in the slightest.

 

I have commented on this issue before. 

 

As Canetman rightly says, you have to work with the financial framework that large corporations decide their principal marketing spend well ahead of when it actually comes into effect. Which means forward planning say 2 years ahead of when the deal needs to take effect and I am not convinced the RFL have worked to that kind of schedule in the past. I do have some sympathy for the commercial manager, his contacts from Man City would probably not bring in much since RL is a very different beast to soccer, and I would expect trying to get competition sponsorship is more difficult than getting sponsorship for a club.

 

Furthermore, when the RFU employee in charge of sponsorship says it is a tough market, and that for an organisation with the clout of the RFU, then you know things are tough.

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RESEARCH carried out by media and marketing consultancy Repucom has suggested that Rugby League can generate a larger share of the wider sponsorship market by drawing attention to the profile of its followers.

And, with 76 of the world’s top 100 brands currently investing in sports sponsorship, the payoff for the game could be significant, particularly in a World Cup year.

So far the RFL has been unable to attract any major sponsors for the tournament, largely because of a delay in confirming overseas broadcasting rights.

Click here to view the article

 

Can I ask why it is the RFL's responsibility to secure tournament sponsorship? Should this not be a collective effort between the RFL, ARL and RLIF?

 

After all, it is the World Cup, could we not have a headline sponsor from the southern hemisphere? Be great value for them when the Aussies hold the cup aloft on a wet Old Trafford night in November?

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I have commented on this issue before. 

 

As Canetman rightly says, you have to work with the financial framework that large corporations decide their principal marketing spend well ahead of when it actually comes into effect. Which means forward planning say 2 years ahead of when the deal needs to take effect and I am not convinced the RFL have worked to that kind of schedule in the past. I do have some sympathy for the commercial manager, his contacts from Man City would probably not bring in much since RL is a very different beast to soccer, and I would expect trying to get competition sponsorship is more difficult than getting sponsorship for a club.

 

Furthermore, when the RFU employee in charge of sponsorship says it is a tough market, and that for an organisation with the clout of the RFU, then you know things are tough.

 I am managing a £13m marketing budget this year. This budget is not attributed to specific activity. There is always £1-200k available for initiatives minimum. We are not talking about £10-15m per year sponsorship deals.

 

As we are based in Edinburgh and RL has zero presence here, it would be nigh on impossible for me to get something like this signed off even if I wanted to fund RLWC sponsorship.

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Or half a million on the BBC. I bet if you showed a picture of Sam Tomkins in a Wigan shirt with a ball to 100 people in Norwich - hardly any would recognise him - fair enough. However, people would know it was a rugby player and quite a few would have heard of Wigan. It takes effort both ways and if sponsors have not got any faith in the brand outside of the M62 then we will always get offered peanuts.

 I made the point earlier this year that the RFL hardly encourage nationwide promotion when they only run TV ads in Yorkshire and Granada regions.

 

Financially makes sense, the message it sends out is dangerous.

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Or half a million on the BBC. I bet if you showed a picture of Sam Tomkins in a Wigan shirt with a ball to 100 people in Norwich - hardly any would recognise him - fair enough. However, people would know it was a rugby player and quite a few would have heard of Wigan. It takes effort both ways and if sponsors have not got any faith in the brand outside of the M62 then we will always get offered peanuts.

Well living in Norwich I would ;) Actually there are quite a few casual rugby league fans in Norwich and East Anglia, aparently a team in Kings Lynn started up not long ago made up soley from armchair league fans ( none had any previous playing experience). I even saw a bloke in Lidl wearing a Hull Fc shirt at the weekend!

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