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The 4 of Us

Super League clubs could be allowed to relocate south – or abroad

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12 hours ago, DoubleD said:

 

On a side note Warwickshire CC successfully rebranded as Birmingham for their T20 matches and sell out

They certainly sell out. However, 2 things there - first T20 is massively popular - most clubs sell out for it and Edgbaston is a good day out (much as it pains me to say that as a Worcestershire fan). Second, they were pretty well forced to rebrand the T20 side by Birmingham City Council who'd loaned them the money for redeveloping one of the stands (and didn't make this a condition at the time of the loan then applied the thumbscrews a couple of years down the line). It wasn't the club's choice. Largely because they knew what would happen. Anguished cries from parts of Warwickshire that aren't Birmingham (AIUI especially Coventry), resignation of county memberships, terrible press, etc.

Now, this didn't matter because it was T20 and they can quite happily fill the ground just with people from Birmingham. But RL isn't starting from a position where the sport itself is massively popular. If it was, or if the original SL plan had bedded in with European city teams, *then* you might have created a situation where the people of Birmingham were crying out for professional RL. Just giving it to them and hoping for the best is a different thing.

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2 minutes ago, The Parksider said:

Tony, what a fantastic reply. You have the sphericals to accept what others in the know say and modify your views accordingly. This is how conversations can move on and not end up losing the whole point!

On the Newcastle/gateshead experience, to sell a ticket to see the best SL teams in action in a triple header as a one off succeeded with Newcastle people.10,000 times

In 1999 Shane Richardson put a Newcastle/gateshead Superleague team on the pitch and attempted to sell a whole season.

6,000 turned out to see them play Leeds first out, that dropping to 3,500 for their first win against Wakey. The team was ecxiting, they won 10 of their 30 games and attendances finally averaged 3,900.

Now that tells us a lot about your proposition that 10K local fans may translate to a successful SL club, but probably only 40% would translate to a regular fan and they would need a winning team.

Richardson ran out of all the money invested in one season and had to close, declaring the project unviable.

Viability for Newcastle or Coventry cannot come from the fan base. The Ricoh will want a big rent that will rip into Coventry's income, and take note how low crowds can get when your not winning games.

The coventry 8,000 may translate on a 40% take up for a regular SL season to 3,200, probably starting with 5-6.000 (Celtic Crusaders started SL on 6,000, and had a losing season and their last crowd was 2,000)  but expect that to fall off after the novelty wears off and especially if the club come bottom 4.

Viability for any expansion club has never come from sustainability as they neither have their own ground nor their own local flow of talented players. Those extra costs can be met by a Marwan Koukash Salford being our best example close to home. 

The relocation of SL clubs is about seriously big money even Richard Branson would not countenance and we are yet to find out where this came from and what it really is all about.

Personally, I think as an RL community we should consider what these "expansion" sides add to the game and attempt to centrally resource accordingly (à la Catalans). Having a national footprint has always been difficult for League: I'm a firm believer in the idea that we need to get the word out as to me, 3000 new fans of a new club in another part of the country are of a really significant value to the game as a whole. Hopefully we should make it as easy as possible for people to get to a game. 

The crowds at Crusaders are actually quite good as a starting point. Imagine if they had been allocated greater funding centrally or given allowances how many more that would be now. The London issue I feel comes about as much through some poor decisions that didn't quite pan out, such as the Harlequins move in particular, rather than through a lack of potential.

The first generation of fans at a new club are unlikely to be diehards. Neither are the second. But maybe the third, fourth and fifth who've grown up with the idea that a top flight RL team in my city is just the norm as it is for people in Leeds, Wigan etc. may just be when we can see the investment by the game paying off.

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I think with the Ricoh it's something that RL should definitely be looking to play at more often, whether exhibition SL on the road or internationals. Just don't do double headers on bonfire night.... Midlands location is great for both north and south, and over time the locals will come on board - but it will take years,. Eventually a market *might* be grown for a top level RL club there. The question is more whether it's worth bothering to do that or not given other opportunities elsewhere. 

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1 minute ago, iffleyox said:

RL isn't starting from a position where the sport itself is massively popular. If it was, or if the original SL plan had bedded in with European city teams, *then* you might have created a situation where the people of Birmingham were crying out for professional RL. Just giving it to them and hoping for the best is a different thing.

Big LIKE THIS they gave it to Paris, London, Newcastle/Gateshead, South Wales and Perpignan.

One worked and five failed and disn't work, so why do people continue to throw out names of cities where there is no RL culture, RU has the Rugby market sown up and Soccer dominates everything.

And its not just about giving it them, it's about taking it away from where it does work

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2 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

The crowds at Crusaders are actually quite good as a starting point. Imagine if they had been allocated greater funding centrally or given allowances how many more that would be now. The London issue I feel comes about as much through some poor decisions that didn't quite pan out, such as the Harlequins move in particular, rather than through a lack of potential.

The first generation of fans at a new club are unlikely to be diehards. Neither are the second. But maybe the third, fourth and fifth who've grown up with the idea that a top flight RL team in my city is just the norm as it is for people in Leeds, Wigan etc. may just be when we can see the investment by the game paying off.

Tommy, the crowds at the Crusaders settled down to 2.000 that was the crowd at the last game before financial collapse.

Harlequins was not a poor decision it was an opportunity to re-stage SL in London after Broncos financially collapsed.

YES I can agree that IF clubs like these can avoid financial collapse they can try and grow their club.

But in a Rugby league area Les Catalans have grown attendances from 6,500 to 9.500 over 10 years and they have done this winning games and competing with other top SL clubs.

In 1962 Wakey put 28,000 into Belle Vue for a game against Wigan. The last Wigan home game they played they got 6,000. Time alone does not grow crowds and interest in the game is restrictive even in staunch RL areas. Our market is limited.

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Not wishing to promote clubs to relocate, as I don't personally agree with it, but a franchise in Dublin would be ideal for expansion into North America and tapping into the Irish population over there (should the RFL want to take this route).

There was a decent take-up for London Irish vs Saracens at union club level - something to build on should the Wolfpack take off.

Edited by Converted Northerner
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5 hours ago, The Parksider said:

It was done properly.

It was put straight into SL1996 and they came fourth then the following year runners up. Their team competed and had famous wins against Canberra and Wigan, and they found one of the richest benefactors going in Richard Branson who led them out at Wembley.in 1999.

Costs were too great even for Branson to stomach but Lenegan invested and got them into the Twickenham stoop the beating heart of English Rugby, and pulled 8,000 for saints before ambushing RU fans with a double header against Fartown Quins RU playing first before 12.000 who mostly walked out after that first game.  

At that point whether stand alone and facing massive operating costs, or playing a dual rugby club partner where Union was king it became clear that despite giving it two great shots the numbers were just never going to stack up..........

London Broncos were never done "properly". As I said before, a team full of Aussies aimed at Aussies in London has no emotional impact on Londoners and by the time we started to make ourselves a London club, we were playing awful rugby and losing fans. The constant moves across London didn't help either. How can you expect fans in Charlton to travel to Brentford every week and vice versa? The only thing we've got right is the Academy, which pretty much is why the club is still in existence.

A Toronto style London club, well marketed and based entirely in one location, with a good side and some local players, would go down very well and better than the Broncos. 

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17 hours ago, londonrlfan said:

London Broncos were never done "properly". As I said before, a team full of Aussies aimed at Aussies in London has no emotional impact on Londoners and by the time we started to make ourselves a London club, we were playing awful rugby and losing fans. The constant moves across London didn't help either. How can you expect fans in Charlton to travel to Brentford every week and vice versa? The only thing we've got right is the Academy, which pretty much is why the club is still in existence.

A Toronto style London club, well marketed and based entirely in one location, with a good side and some local players, would go down very well and better than the Broncos. 

Dream on. Londoners of all people will not play the little Englander.

"Well marketed and based in one location

Put some actual business sense to that how much for the stadium?

How much for the "Well marketed" "How much for the "players that can compete" how much for the "backroom support staff" etc??

Your completely forgetting that you can have what you want at about £7,000,000 a year.

So where are you going to get that money from??

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On 07/03/2017 at 11:28 AM, Forestgravy said:

Hi everyone, this is my first post on the total RL forum. (And it's a long one sorry)

From where I'm standing as something of a newcomer to League and not as a northerner, it seems obvious to me that the problems are the way the RFL promotes and markets the sport, it does nothing to expand itself away from the heartland areas except for setting up small teams in towns that didn't really ask for one. To be perfectly honest the sport in this country needs a major overhaul in the following ways:

New teams set up in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, London, Nottingham. The Nottingham angle is my personal bias because that i where I am from, but there is huge potential in the city should a club be found, and two large universities who play the sport and attract a number of fans on the annual Varsity match. The amateur side the Outlaws have been trying to get a permanent home for some years now and once they can establish themselves this is a potentially big market, as long as it is promoted correctly. Nottingham loves its sport and the Ice Hockey team get sold out most weeks due to its recent success (European champions) and is a bigger city than people realise.

The Manchester and Liverpool targets are a tricky one, you have untapped potential but also two teams in the viscinity who consistently fail to attract a huge fanbase in Salford and Widnes. Salford renaming themselves the red devil is clearly an attempt to attract Man Utd fans, but it isn't working. The AJ Bell should be left imo and solely used by Sale and the upcoming Salford City FC team, and Salford should rebrand themselves, and play in a colour neither red or blue to neutralise football fan support such a green or yellow. This may alienate lots of Salford fans but the fact is there aren't many of them to begin with. Widnes however are well run but again the crowds aren't huge except for Wire derby games. Liverpool is another big city to tap into the market of, perhaps they could do something like rename themselves the Mersey Vikings and split home games between Widnes and somewhere in Liverpool itself much like St George do in the NRL.

Birmingham imo is a very interesting city as it has a number of struggling football teams, a cricket team and not much else. For a city that big it is surprising the lack of sporting teams they have. Rugby League there could have huge potential, it isn't really competing with Rugby Union either a the nearest team are Wasps in Coventry, so having a new team in Birmingham proudly proclaiming itself as Birmingham's team could be a gold mine.

Lastly, the London side needs a serious overhaul if it wants to get the support in the city. It needs to rename and rebrand itself because Broncos in the UK sounds very USA-centric and people find it silly sounding, and it needs a permanent home a lot more central to the city, football teams like Brentford and Wimbledon are building new stadia so perhaps a groundshare strategy with those would be an option.

Just my two cents, would love to know your thoughts

Good post and welcome...

 

2 points...

 

Salford were the red devils before man utd 

Yellow and green are not neutral in manchester as its utds original colours...

This is well known as they had a centenary kit in those colours and its the colours used to protest against the glazers...

Widnes get little support because its sandwiched between other RL areas and runcorn and Liverpool who in the main are only interested in liverpool and everton. 

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On 08/03/2017 at 9:16 AM, Converted Northerner said:

Not wishing to promote clubs to relocate, as I don't personally agree with it, but a franchise in Dublin would be ideal for expansion into North America and tapping into the Irish population over there (should the RFL want to take this route).

There was a decent take-up for London Irish vs Saracens at union club level - something to build on should the Wolfpack take off.

The issue with Dublin and Ireland in general is that you have the Irish games which attract over 80k for club games.

Then you have the English games of union football and cricket. 

Union is more or less a school sport/uni sport.

So there is little room for a niche game that will be perceived as an English game, as the irish game die hards wont touch it and the soccer/union wont either.

The only hope is brian carney and then would he risk his gaelic footy commentry job to be outspoken about league?

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3 hours ago, yipyee said:

Good post and welcome...

 

2 points...

 

Salford were the red devils before man utd 

Yellow and green are not neutral in manchester as its utds original colours...

This is well known as they had a centenary kit in those colours and its the colours used to protest against the glazers...

Widnes get little support because its sandwiched between other RL areas and runcorn and Liverpool who in the main are only interested in liverpool and everton. 

Hiya thanks for the response, I have been informed that Sakford are the original Red Devils but when you are looking at the modern landscape that fact doesn't really mean much, the red devils are the global franchise that is Manchester united. Salford were the reds or city reds or whatever for a long time and reverting to the red devils nickname limits the market and smacks of desparation, imo.

With the green and yellow argument yes I didn't really equate the Newton heath colours but I dont consider that a big problem unless they were both used. With Widnes they are indeed located near to both RL heartland and footy land, but Liverpool is pretty big so I think it could work if a Liverpool team was set up (and again played neither in red or blue)

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5 hours ago, Forestgravy said:

Liverpool is pretty big so I think it could work if a Liverpool team was set up (and again played neither in red or blue)

It was set up in 1934 and the soccer mad city were not impressed and Liverpool went bust on gates of 2,500.

I think they played in Blue and Yellow.

The Liverpool dream was not given up and Liverpool city and Huyton kept the dream alive for decades on crowds in the hundreds.

Today Liverpool RL enthusiasts have St.Helens on the doorstep to cater for their needs. It's had 80 years to work and it doesn't.

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On 07/03/2017 at 11:28 AM, Forestgravy said:

It seems obvious to me that the problems are the way the RFL promotes and markets the sport.

It does nothing to expand itself away from the heartland areas

New team set up in  Birmingham

This is the city that has West Brom, Birmingham City and Aston Villa with Walsall on the fringes. A city that has not far off zero Rugby League in it?

What would a Birmingham SL side pull without a winning side?? 

Where would that Birmingham club find £6M a season (and more as they will be renting a ground)  to compete. What marketing budget will they also need to find convince brummies to turn to RL (I'm not sure they have much RU).

It's a lovely thought but it does end there. 

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On 08/03/2017 at 9:16 AM, Converted Northerner said:

Not wishing to promote clubs to relocate, as I don't personally agree with it, but a franchise in Dublin would be ideal

That's fine, I'll put a running cost of £7,000,000 a year to it and preduct it will take 10 years at least to fdevelop any players or start to make a dent on the Irish sporting preferences.

So that's £70 Million to make some sort of a dent on the Irish sports market with no guarantee of success.

If we want to pick out cities try Newcastle and London we've been having a go at them for over 80 years, last season 1200 watched in London and 800 in Newcastle.

The academies are adrift at the bottom of the academy league.

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1 hour ago, The Parksider said:

This is the city that has West Brom, Birmingham City and Aston Villa with Walsall on the fringes. A city that has not far off zero Rugby League in it?

What would a Birmingham SL side pull without a winning side?? 

Where would that Birmingham club find £6M a season (and more as they will be renting a ground)  to compete. What marketing budget will they also need to find convince brummies to turn to RL (I'm not sure they have much RU).

It's a lovely thought but it does end there. 

They have Moseley RU club who were big in the amateur days but now a faded force, and Wasps in Cov are the nearest side. There are millions in the West idlands, so I think a carefully marketed, agressively promoted rL club could indeed work if successful, Birmingham hasn't had much sporting success for a long time in terms of their football teams, also only one are called "Birmingham" so you might get some proud brummies interested just because there is another sports team with that name. In terms of money, well you need investors but that's the same with any new club.

People always have a negative mindset about these things but all I say to them is look at Toronto... if that was proposed to you you'd have laughed them out the door and called the mental health team, but it's been done cleverly and aggressively and so far it's working wonders.

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Forestgravy, I have been involved in a few projects bringing rugby league to new areas.  Here is the thing, there is no thirst for rugby league in these places.  The number of fit, active young people is pretty small and the number of them who are waiting to find a new sport such as rugby league and forego their existing sports are tiny.

If you fund a club to exist, it will follow the money and exist.  Tell me, how would you start a small amateur club and make it profitable and bring in many participants to be a real community club?  I have a town in mind….let’s hear it……

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"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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