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slowdive

The future of broadcasting rights for RL

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I think that we may have peaked in terms of value of broadcasting rights across sports in general.  Recent deals signed by the Premier League I think showed at the least a slowing of growth.  If this is the case RL needs to position itself so that it can mitigate the damage of this and grasp the opportunities it presents.

It's becoming increasingly easy to access live sport without having to pay for sky,virgin, BT etc which leads to fewer customers and eventually smaller TV deals. 

At first I thought the answer was a discrete RL channel available for say 10 quid a month with as much RL as you could cram in.  I have a spotify account which costs me a tenner a month but I'm prepared to pay that because for what I get it's an acceptable sum to fork out. 

However, if you do the maths on that then to get 30 million quid a year you would need at least 250000 suscribers.  A tall order as things stand and of course you have then created a situation where if you haven't paid specificallly for RL then you are rarely going to be exposed to it.

An alternative solution would be to sign a deal with a terresterial provider, ideally the BBC, for say 10 - 15 million quid and then try to make up the rest by aggressively promoting the sport to advertisers based on increased viewing figures and exposure.

Maybe that's a non starter but I think as a sport, RL needs to be aware of the dynamic nature of sports broadcasting.  It has been seen as the golden goose and, whilst it my continue to be so, it's likely that will be in a different form to the way it is currently.

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The games already had a terrestrial provider. BBC 2 floodlit games, Challenge Cup, Lancashire/Yorkshire county games. Was entertaining then.

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You need to view the PL deal in context of the one prior. That was a 70% increase on domestic TV rights. 70%! That it regressed this time around should surprise no one. 

I'm not convinced the PL deal says anything about other sports. Domestic football rights are peaking doesn't say that we wont see increases with sports at a much lower base. 

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Surely the drop for PL was just a readjustment from how over the true value the previous contract was.

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I agree the Premiership was overpriced but I think the same might be said for broadcasting rights more generally.  Off the top of my head I don't know anyone under fifty who still has Sky/BT sports (not saying there aren't any but in my wider circle and I'm including people from work) people stream/watch fire stick etc.   

I think it's a mistake, however, to think that what happens with football rights is unrelated to other sports rights. The Prem has been the main driver of sports broadcasting rights in this country and what happens there does have a wider impact.  BT have had to show some Champions League games for free (including the final!) because they didn't have enough viewers to satisfy UEFA sponsors.  That model isn't working.

The media landscape is changing, people are becoming more media savvy in terms of accessing content and it's becoming more difficult to regulate/control.  Relying upon the existing model as a reliable way to support and fund the game would be a mistake in my view because the days of TV companies paying substantial sums of  money are coming to an end. 

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Whatever happens in the future, we need to end the exclusivity that Sky enjoy.

If we're ever to grow the game, we must have a decent presence on Free to Air TV.  I'd suggest one game a week, with a Sunday night prime-time highlights package. Then make all other games available in two packages to encourage BT to come in with a bid. Of course we also need a regular international window and have them exclusively on free to air.

Our athletes deserve nationwide recognition, like they got in the early 90s when there were many households names playing our sport.  I bet if you ask the average Essex bloke to name a Rugby League player, the best they'll manage is Kevin Sinfield.

Sky will no doubt want to pay less if they lose exclusivity, but this can be mitigated by increased sponsor exposure on free to air and by selling all of the games to one or more station.

We could also look at giving away (initially) Championship games to Premier/Sky/BT/Netflix etc, again increasing exposure.

What about talking to the rah rahs about a subscription based "Rugby" channel and app/streaming service? They've got the corporate support, we've got the action.  Could be a win for both codes, if done correctly.

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1 hour ago, David Shepherd said:

Whatever happens in the future, we need to end the exclusivity that Sky enjoy.

If we're ever to grow the game, we must have a decent presence on Free to Air TV.  I'd suggest one game a week, with a Sunday night prime-time highlights package. Then make all other games available in two packages to encourage BT to come in with a bid. Of course we also need a regular international window and have them exclusively on free to air.

Our athletes deserve nationwide recognition, like they got in the early 90s when there were many households names playing our sport.  I bet if you ask the average Essex bloke to name a Rugby League player, the best they'll manage is Kevin Sinfield.

Sky will no doubt want to pay less if they lose exclusivity, but this can be mitigated by increased sponsor exposure on free to air and by selling all of the games to one or more station.

We could also look at giving away (initially) Championship games to Premier/Sky/BT/Netflix etc, again increasing exposure.

What about talking to the rah rahs about a subscription based "Rugby" channel and app/streaming service? They've got the corporate support, we've got the action.  Could be a win for both codes, if done correctly.

Thats all well and good David, but which terrestrial channel has ever indicated it wants 30 live games of RL a year?

Also, you say give the Championship rights to Sky, but they currently have ghem and dont show it. We have discussed gifting rights before and i think only Premier were ever interested.

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8 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Thats all well and good David, but which terrestrial channel has ever indicated it wants 30 live games of RL a year?

Also, you say give the Championship rights to Sky, but they currently have ghem and dont show it. We have discussed gifting rights before and i think only Premier were ever interested.

There is something very Brexit about discussions when it comes to Sky.

The idea that we can get a better deal elsewhere is pie in the sky. Until somebody else decides they want it exclusively they've got us over a barrel. 

I'm far more concerned by the low viewing figures since they rejigged the channels. The thought they could drop us completely is horrifying. 

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1 hour ago, Maximus Decimus said:

There is something very Brexit about discussions when it comes to Sky.

The idea that we can get a better deal elsewhere is pie in the sky. Until somebody else decides they want it exclusively they've got us over a barrel. 

I'm far more concerned by the low viewing figures since they rejigged the channels. The thought they could drop us completely is horrifying. 

We do however dominate their 'other sports' channels top 10 lists for the summer months, so do a job and give a decent amount of content.

The figures have been artificially reduced and still return decent numbers when scheduled effectively.

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2 hours ago, Dave T said:

Thats all well and good David, but which terrestrial channel has ever indicated it wants 30 live games of RL a year?

Also, you say give the Championship rights to Sky, but they currently have ghem and dont show it. We have discussed gifting rights before and i think only Premier were ever interested.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if we've never even sounded out the free to air channels (doesn't even need to be one of the big 5, channels like Dave now have some sporting content).

And if we're gifting rights, it must be on basis that they are actually used.

We need to have some real ambition next time, otherwise we're just in for 5 more years of stagnation at best and managed decline at worst.

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The exponential rise in football rights does seem to have halted, but the question is whether that is a temporary halt.  Sky look to have set their stall out to limit their spending this time and I wonder if both BT & Sky may have both been a bit worried about how the sports market was going and neither had the appetite for an even bigger bidding war.

It could still be that this situation changes again if another bidder enters the market.

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Totally relying on tv money is a dangerous thing. If sky drops rl there is unlikely to be a queue lining up to throw money at rl. Getting bums on seats in the ground is important. Any tv channel seeing stadiums less than half full will reflect their bid likewise. Advertisers want high viewing figures before they pay large sums. Market the game properly and it can grow. A rl “match of the day” prog on perhaps itv (not itv 4!) could get interest outside the heartlands.

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32 minutes ago, David Shepherd said:

I wouldn't be at all surprised if we've never even sounded out the free to air channels (doesn't even need to be one of the big 5, channels like Dave now have some sporting content).

And if we're gifting rights, it must be on basis that they are actually used.

We need to have some real ambition next time, otherwise we're just in for 5 more years of stagnation at best and managed decline at worst.

None of that means anything though. Wasnt there ambition in the last record deal with the biggest sports channel in the country and highlights on the biggest channel in the country?

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Are there any studies out there about Sky viewers per Sky deal per sport, ie how much it costs Sky to get RL eyeballs per capita versus other sports?

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