Well the natural conclusion from these studies of American sports and University investment is that there is a role for someone to look at how this works in RL. A whole game view on the sport.
So for example maybe half a dozen clubs in the UK have the resources to attract naturally gifted individuals who have grown up in the right environment for RL. The right number of schools, community clubs and fan base. Pouring more money into those environments is potentially a waste because the socio-economic conditions for RL are already fulfilled. This extra money therefore gets "invested" in talent but often that talent is no better than what you can produce yourself because the environment is as good as it gets. The Leeds team that won everything was based on their own academy players, so why move away from that model?
The Canadian RL ladies 9's model is based on this principle. Whereby fans are members of the League (not the club) and the League chooses where to put teams. So they select the type of stadium they want, the location for a fan base and potential participation. They re investing holistically in creating rivalry and competition.
RL in this country has actually followed that principle where investment in SL by Sky has actually been in the League. However the clubs involved have chosen to invest in themselves. Probably one reason why Sky are miffed at the state of the comp now in relation to 15 or so years ago.
So if I was influencing the clubs I would insist on a budget for the clubs for players, a budget for academies that are owned and run by the RFL, not the clubs - with a draft system. A budget for the league to invest in infrastructure - so for example you promote Bradford to SL as they have the pedigree in all areas but are weak on infrastructure - so that's where the League invest. Centralised ticketing & marketing so fans can buy tickets to league matches at any stadium as a set of packages. Targets for penetration into schools and community clubs by the RFL - not the clubs. I think there is a growing realisation that the modern youth follows individuals and not team so we have to look at developing stars of the game - not star clubs at the detriment of others. This should actually save money!
The above top league works on a franchise basis but is inclusive, so you may start with 10 teams but plan to have 20 in 10 years time.
Also I think the mistakes the game has made are now obvious when we look at how people consume entertainment. Owners of clubs have personalised their clubs when actually they are brands as far as young consumers are concerned. The fact Sky has asked for a re-brand has shown how poorly thought out this has been because all the owners have done is redrawn a badge! A proper re-brand invests and focusses on weaknesses and opportunities not in enhancing strengths which can become overcooked. RU has made this mistake by investing it's money in players so squads are now massive, allowing some of them to become impact players - looks good on TV but has created significant welfare problems with high impact injuries increasing. In RL it's to create a number of fixtures that put player welfare at risk and offers consumers the same 2 teams, too often weakening the ability to sell exclusivity. One podcast I listened to made a very good point that it doesn't matter how many teams are in the league, it's who they play and how often they play, as the play-offs smooth out discrepancies.