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jus de couchon

International expansion

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Ask yourself the question , why has International RL failed to happen? The game is a great spectator sport. The product is excellent .My belief is that its failure to expand is directly a result of bad management. How accountable are these managers? Not very. Look at Bradford. The game will wither and die if the status quo is allowed to continue.

I feel I am in a good position to answer your question.

 

A quick look at the relative popularity of sports shows that the quality as a spectator sport is not very important.  The most important thing is was it the main sport at the onset of mass media.  Beyond that, it comes down to money for marketing and media profile, so soccer and american football does fairly well, but most sports struggle.

 

That said, in line with other poor and relatively small sports, we are increasingly getting small niches in many markets around the world.  The trick is to make the profitable and self sustaining, whereas most sports get nowhere in this.

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One of the main reasons that Rugby League has taken so long to expand internationally is that whoever is notionally in charge of a major country's Rugby League Administration is really only working within the narrow bounds permitted them by the club chairmen. And if they push too hard against those restraints, the clubs will get rid of them or otherwise nullify their influence.

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True Bob . Its difficult to break into established areas with a new sport now . American Football , for all its chutzpah marketing and money never got past first base in London. Games like soccer , golf and tennis were already International before the mass media. How do you grow rugby league Internationaly? Probably 60 years too late.

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Does anybody know the approx number of teams functional in all the developing countries?

I,m sure I read that Italy had 50 teams.If so that is impressive.

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True Bob . Its difficult to break into established areas with a new sport now . American Football , for all its chutzpah marketing and money never got past first base in London. Games like soccer , golf and tennis were already International before the mass media. How do you grow rugby league Internationaly? Probably 60 years too late.

It is 60 years too late to grow rugby league in a stye that worked in the 1950's, that is true.

 

The trick is to look at sports that do not have huge financial or media backing and look how they do it and some are.

 

The answer is to find many niches.  There is potential for a club in many European cities to get four figure crowds.  However, we have to forget old certainties, such as a regular season and be event based.  In the modern world, people will not go to a new sport's games every week.  People will go every few weeks though, so we should have the games every few weeks.  Forget a regular league table.  We are an alternatve, extreme sport and can market ourselves accordingly.  This is exactly how the very few fast growing team sports that do not have huge backing manage it.

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True Bob . Its difficult to break into established areas with a new sport now . American Football , for all its chutzpah marketing and money never got past first base in London. Games like soccer , golf and tennis were already International before the mass media. How do you grow rugby league Internationaly? Probably 60 years too late.

Football, rugby union and cricket are all still expanding as international sports though aren't they?

What I find frustrating is the lack of effort being put into getting countries like France and PNG up to a standard where they can compete with the top three teams. If PNG were in the same position as they are in rugby league but in union or cricket I think they would be playing regular, top-level international matches in those sports and the game will be growing there.

It is interesting that in Sri Lanka Rugby union was the top sport of the elite until Sri Lanka received test status at cricket. Cricket is now the top sport in Sri Lanka.

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What I find frustrating is the lack of effort being put into getting countries like France and PNG up to a standard where they can compete with the top three teams. If PNG were in the same position as they are in rugby league but in union or cricket I think they would be playing regular, top-level international matches in those sports and the game will be growing there.

 

This. A thousand times this.

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It is 60 years too late to grow rugby league in a stye that worked in the 1950's, that is true.

 

The trick is to look at sports that do not have huge financial or media backing and look how they do it and some are.

 

The answer is to find many niches.  There is potential for a club in many European cities to get four figure crowds.  However, we have to forget old certainties, such as a regular season and be event based.  In the modern world, people will not go to a new sport's games every week.  People will go every few weeks though, so we should have the games every few weeks.  Forget a regular league table.  We are an alternatve, extreme sport and can market ourselves accordingly.  This is exactly how the very few fast growing team sports that do not have huge backing manage it.

 

Speaking personally, I find long gaps between games frustrating. I left Hemel v London absolutely bouncing after a narrow defeat to our local rivals but was annoyed to see we weren't at home again for another five weeks. (Accepting that this is a consequence of the Challenge Cup break and also there being an odd number of teams in our division)

 

Also - no league table? Can you expand on that notion? Sport without context - e.g. win this game and we don't go down, get a win and we're in to the semis etc - is then reduced to a series of exhibitions. I cannot possibly see how that can be the way forward.

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Football, rugby union and cricket are all still expanding as international sports though aren't they?

What I find frustrating is the lack of effort being put into getting countries like France and PNG up to a standard where they can compete with the top three teams. If PNG were in the same position as they are in rugby league but in union or cricket I think they would be playing regular, top-level international matches in those sports and the game will be growing there.

It is interesting that in Sri Lanka Rugby union was the top sport of the elite until Sri Lanka received test status at cricket. Cricket is now the top sport in Sri Lanka.

Mind you the rise in popularity would also be helped by the fact that Sri Lanka are damn good at cricket and not particularly good at RU.

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I pick up on Bob8's interesting point. The other weekend I saw two matches in Perpignan and Carcasonne before an aggregate of nearly 17,000. Outside of the Dragons its a struggle. Last November in Avignon & Perpignan fantastic for WC too. Something offering at Toulouse last Saturday for Championship double header too. But here far too often nothing to salivate over across the wider region. The club game generally is treading water - they should have perservered with a four team regional comp based on Origin concepts interspersed between the Dragons & internationals. There has to be something of calibre each month or so to really pull in the punters.

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Speaking personally, I find long gaps between games frustrating. I left Hemel v London absolutely bouncing after a narrow defeat to our local rivals but was annoyed to see we weren't at home again for another five weeks. (Accepting that this is a consequence of the Challenge Cup break and also there being an odd number of teams in our division)

 

Also - no league table? Can you expand on that notion? Sport without context - e.g. win this game and we don't go down, get a win and we're in to the semis etc - is then reduced to a series of exhibitions. I cannot possibly see how that can be the way forward.

Consider that I am talking about expansion in continental western Europe here as opposed to the UK. 

 

Think of when Saracens attendance leap from 7,000 to 70,000.  How many of the 63,000 new fans know how Saracens are doing in the table or the exact significance of the game in terms of competition?  They go as it is a big event and as it si a big event it matters.  Ice hockey has grown and shrunk a number of times, largely because though people enjoy the day, they are not hardcore fans of the sport who will plan their weekends around it.  What is ice hockey only played every four weeks, the crowds would not increase in total, they would shrink.  But when it comes to turning a profit, 3000 people occasionally can be better than 1600 every game.  

 

Roller derby plays pretty much nothing but exhibitions and are managing four figure crowds.  Would they get this if they played every week?  Absolutely not.  The solution is do not play every week and make each game you do play a big event.

 

In most of continental Europe, having enough teams to play week in week out and have them big enough to draw major crowds is a pipe dream.  Having a different set-up just requeires a little more thinking out to the box.

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It is 60 years too late to grow rugby league in a stye that worked in the 1950's, that is true.

 

The trick is to look at sports that do not have huge financial or media backing and look how they do it and some are.

 

The answer is to find many niches.  There is potential for a club in many European cities to get four figure crowds.  However, we have to forget old certainties, such as a regular season and be event based.  In the modern world, people will not go to a new sport's games every week.  People will go every few weeks though, so we should have the games every few weeks.  Forget a regular league table.  We are an alternatve, extreme sport and can market ourselves accordingly.  This is exactly how the very few fast growing team sports that do not have huge backing manage it.

 

I have some sympathy with your niche comments.  Although different geographically look at how well Netball has and is growing internationally.  It is rapidly expanding here too from a participation and commercial perspective. Crowds will never be large given the arena's but they attract good sponsorship.

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Consider that I am talking about expansion in continental western Europe here as opposed to the UK. 

 

Think of when Saracens attendance leap from 7,000 to 70,000.  How many of the 63,000 new fans know how Saracens are doing in the table or the exact significance of the game in terms of competition?  They go as it is a big event and as it si a big event it matters.  Ice hockey has grown and shrunk a number of times, largely because though people enjoy the day, they are not hardcore fans of the sport who will plan their weekends around it.  What is ice hockey only played every four weeks, the crowds would not increase in total, they would shrink.  But when it comes to turning a profit, 3000 people occasionally can be better than 1600 every game.  

 

Roller derby plays pretty much nothing but exhibitions and are managing four figure crowds.  Would they get this if they played every week?  Absolutely not.  The solution is do not play every week and make each game you do play a big event.

 

In most of continental Europe, having enough teams to play week in week out and have them big enough to draw major crowds is a pipe dream.  Having a different set-up just requeires a little more thinking out to the box.

 

Ice Hockey in Canada/USA was small for decades having six teams in the whole league who are referred to even now as the' original six". The game was also confined to cold weather cities. Like RL, it was considered great viewing and entertainment with a blue collar fan base and couldn't manage to expand.

 

Now it is a large league throughout Canada and the USA with successful teams in Florida, California and other warm weather locations. I don't know how they managed to expand so successfully but there must be  case study which might give our game some pointers.

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Well, the NHL expanded by franchising.

 

However, it stuck to a traditional format.  However, it expanded in the 60's and 70's.  They realised the value of TV as a medium, just as we should recognise media is far more fractured now than it used to be and geography is less important.

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Well, the NHL expanded by franchising.

 

However, it stuck to a traditional format.  However, it expanded in the 60's and 70's.  They realised the value of TV as a medium, just as we should recognise media is far more fractured now than it used to be and geography is less important.

 

I know they have regional coverage of specific teams such as the Boston bruins and various Canadian teams, which are akin to out heartlands. Perhaps RL could appeal to Yorkshire TV, Lancashire TV, even Welsh TV and London TV to cover local teams in depth for their local viewers. I think something like that is already happening with Catalans and French TV..

 

Whther this is possible or whtther Sky would allow it is another matter.

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True Bob . Its difficult to break into established areas with a new sport now . American Football , for all its chutzpah marketing and money never got past first base in London. Games like soccer , golf and tennis were already International before the mass media. How do you grow rugby league Internationaly? Probably 60 years too late.

 

The mass media is dead or dying, the future is through social media. I think rugby league's grow in the last decade, has as much to do with social media, such as YouTube videos showing the sport to countries that may not have the rights, compared to a newspaper in a certain country covering the sport. I notice Serbia now have their domestic matches shown on a live internet stream, which is a great way to spread awareness of the sport in the country and show the standard to others in a foreign country. I think the RLEF should run a YouTube channel covering rugby league around the world, like Total Rugby or Futbol Mondial for example, with highlights and features on countries playing the sport that newspapers will ignore. 

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I know they have regional coverage of specific teams such as the Boston bruins and various Canadian teams, which are akin to out heartlands. Perhaps RL could appeal to Yorkshire TV, Lancashire TV, even Welsh TV and London TV to cover local teams in depth for their local viewers. I think something like that is already happening with Catalans and French TV..

 

Whether this is possible or whether Sky would allow it is another matter.

That would certainly be good for consolidation.  The fortunes of Keighly demonstrate that the quality of the sport has only limited influence on the interest.  Great Keighly sides have generated large and small crowds.  Cougar mania showed that the event is everything.

 

The mass media is dead or dying, the future is through social media. I think rugby league's grow in the last decade, has as much to do with social media, such as YouTube videos showing the sport to countries that may not have the rights, compared to a newspaper in a certain country covering the sport. I notice Serbia now have their domestic matches shown on a live internet stream, which is a great way to spread awareness of the sport in the country and show the standard to others in a foreign country. I think the RLEF should run a YouTube channel covering rugby league around the world, like Total Rugby or Futbol Mondial for example, with highlights and features on countries playing the sport that newspapers will ignore. 

Sopt on!

 

I am writing this from Denmark.  Once, an interest in rugby league here would have relied on phone calls to people who shared an interest.  Now I can watch games live.  TV is still extremely important, but it is not quite as vital.  There are also far more TV channels.  This means that the region you are in becomes less important.

 

So, how do we make a day at an amateur rugby league match welcoming, inclusive and something not to miss?

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Sopt on!

 

I am writing this from Denmark.  Once, an interest in rugby league here would have relied on phone calls to people who shared an interest.  Now I can watch games live.  TV is still extremely important, but it is not quite as vital.  There are also far more TV channels.  This means that the region you are in becomes less important.

 

So, how do we make a day at an amateur rugby league match welcoming, inclusive and something not to miss?

 

That is the question that needs answering the most. Imo, from an European point of view anyway, I think the idea of multisports clubs could help RL gain a foothold in certain countries. For example, we've seen the world famous Red Star Belgrade take on RL, which has given them a strong Facebook following and promoted rugby league to one of the biggest names in Europe. Whether that puts 4 figure crowds is another thing, though I noticed a Serbian match had a 500+ crowd the other day. But promotion through YouTube, facebook and twitter is probably the best way of getting yourselves out there and of course, free, which helps massively.

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The approach has to be local and also oppotunist.  

 

We have started to build our match days by asking simple questions, what are we aiming for, who can we appeal to and what do our target audience like?

 

What we wanted was for people to be engaged with the team.  This means that having a kid go round and give sweets is more important than a dance troupe, as we are choosing engagment over impressing people.  

 

The Danes like pork, beer, hygge (like cosiness) and liquorice.  They do not like violence. 

 

We can not change the nature of the sport to avoid violence, so we targetted the niche in Denmark who do like rough sports.  We then had our target market.

We arranged for top quality caterers, top quality beer (how many professional clubs supply that), a relaxed setting (gazebos in a park rather than a staduim) and a kid giving liquorice at half time.  We are now getting people come back to our matches rather than being impressed and never coming back.

 

However, the answers to these questions will vary from country to country.  Also, this means each match day is a huge amount of work and we cannot do it every week, but I suspect that is better for us anyway.

 

Linking up with a big name would be huge and helps give credibility to the sport.

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The approach has to be local and also oppotunist.  

 

We have started to build our match days by asking simple questions, what are we aiming for, who can we appeal to and what do our target audience like?

 

What we wanted was for people to be engaged with the team.  This means that having a kid go round and give sweets is more important than a dance troupe, as we are choosing engagment over impressing people.  

 

The Danes like pork, beer, hygge (like cosiness) and liquorice.  They do not like violence. 

 

We can not change the nature of the sport to avoid violence, so we targetted the niche in Denmark who do like rough sports.  We then had our target market.

We arranged for top quality caterers, top quality beer (how many professional clubs supply that), a relaxed setting (gazebos in a park rather than a staduim) and a kid giving liquorice at half time.  We are now getting people come back to our matches rather than being impressed and never coming back.

 

However, the answers to these questions will vary from country to country.  Also, this means each match day is a huge amount of work and we cannot do it every week, but I suspect that is better for us anyway.

 

Linking up with a big name would be huge and helps give credibility to the sport.

 

It is strange that a country which begat the Vikings now abhor violence but I think you are right there.

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The mass media is dead or dying, the future is through social media. I think rugby league's grow in the last decade, has as much to do with social media, such as YouTube videos showing the sport to countries that may not have the rights, compared to a newspaper in a certain country covering the sport. I notice Serbia now have their domestic matches shown on a live internet stream, which is a great way to spread awareness of the sport in the country and show the standard to others in a foreign country. I think the RLEF should run a YouTube channel covering rugby league around the world, like Total Rugby or Futbol Mondial for example, with highlights and features on countries playing the sport that newspapers will ignore. 

I'd dispute that the mass media is either dead or even close to dying. They fund all the major sports, most of which would die on their brassic backsides without a TV deal to pay their bills. And that includes Rugby League, probably more than most.

 

The internet/social media is all very well for those that know about RL and actively seek it out - there's loads of great stuff out there. But it's not as ideal for casual channel-hoppers discovering it by accident. 

 

That's how I discovered RL and , no doubt, so did many many more. If not, I might still be barely aware of the sport's existence, except as an insignificant regional novelty offshoot (© Fleet Street) of Rugby Union. At the stage that RL is right now, we still need some conventional old-fashioned media coverage.

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I'd dispute that the mass media is either dead or even close to dying. They fund all the major sports, most of which would die on their brassic backsides without a TV deal to pay their bills. And that includes Rugby League, probably more than most.

 

The internet/social media is all very well for those that know about RL and actively seek it out - there's loads of great stuff out there. But it's not as ideal for casual channel-hoppers discovering it by accident. 

 

That's how I discovered RL and , no doubt, so did many many more. If not, I might still be barely aware of the sport's existence, except as an insignificant regional novelty offshoot (© Fleet Street) of Rugby Union. At the stage that RL is right now, we still need some conventional old-fashioned media coverage.

I agree.  Their financial power has never been stronger, but their cultural power is a little weaker.  I would love us to have sway in mainstream media, that it is called 'mainstream' is revealing.  However, let's ###### the orthodox and make power where we can.

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It is strange that a country which begat the Vikings now abhor violence but I think you are right there.

:D

Indeed!

All the vikings went over to Russia, England and Ireland I fear!

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:D

Indeed!

All the vikings went over to Russia, England and Ireland I fear!

Looking at the likes of Kurt Sorensen and Terry Hermansson, I'd suggest some of their berserkers travelled quite a long way South of that!

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:D

Indeed!

All the vikings went over to Russia, England and Ireland I fear!

 

Widnes in particular I suppose.

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