Adam Pearson outlines Super League’s concerns on overseas influx

Hull FC owner Adam Pearson has raised concerns about a potential influx of overseas teams in Super League.

New York and Ottawa will present to clubs on Thursday with the hope of being admitted into the British league structure from 2020.  Super League clubs have been invited to attend the meeting, despite initial suggestions only Championship and League 1 clubs would be present.

Pearson confirmed he would not be attending, although it is understood there will be a healthy Super League presence in attendance at the AJ Bell Stadium.

If the two franchises are successful, they will become the fourth and fifth overseas sides in the British league structure, joining French clubs Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique, along with the Canadian club, Toronto Wolfpack.

Several clubs, and Super League chief executive Robert Elstone, are concerned about the impact additional overseas clubs might have on the next Super League broadcast deal, a belief shared by Hull FC chief, Pearson.

“I think it’s pretty key we don’t have too many overseas teams in Super League,” he said. “I think that needs controlling.

“We are happy for Robert and the Super League executives to put our thoughts forward. We spoke in depth about it at the last meeting so I’m sure they are aware of our concerns, and of what we want to know about the people potentially coming in.

“We want to know they have financial stability. I’d like them to be able to offer something concrete that improves Super League, and to offer a footmark – an attraction for Sky or other potential broadcaster. I’d like them to be able to put their own broadcasting deal on the table, that sustains their own club.

“There’s no point in signing up thirteen players from a relegated team here, and bringing them back over here to play for months. We’re supposed to be attracting a new global market, improving viewing figures and attendances, creating a buzz in the game, not just rebranding a relegated team with a North American badge.

“They surely have to show they can offer something to the growth of the game before they come in.”

Pearson also raised concerns surrounding the impact on attendances.

“At Hull, we have the best away support in Super League by some degree, but that rivalry, that tribalism and intensity of away supporters in grounds is disappearing from Super League, and I think we need to work very hard to get back to the days when we had that sort of intensity within the game.

“We have the derby this Friday, which will be intense, but it seems to me there’s only us and Hull KR travelling in any numbers at the minute.  For the rest, travelling West to East at the moment seems to be reducing.  We need to do something about that; I know Warrington and Leeds are keen to look at that as well.”