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  1. Not a certain division, a whole new built-for-purpose league modelled on the money-spinning major North American pro leagues and following their operating model which decades of experience in at least five sports has proven is the way to make investing in big time pro sports franchises profitable for the investor. No that "big city" league idea didn't already came to the fore when SL began because SL was just a tarted-up version of the old northern RL Championship with London and Paris tacked on. Paris might have worked if all of the visiting teams were from places like Sheffield and London and it had had the sort of promotional budget needed to keep the club in Parisians' eyes, but that wasn't how they went about things. There was also the flawed idea of the French players continuing to play for their previous clubs down south and having to commute back and forth all the time which anyone should have known would burn them out. The public in those cities are not really bothered about getting out to support the team yet, no such teams exist at this point. If and when they do, it would be their job in conjunction with the league office to work out how to get the public there bothered about getting out to support the team and then setting about doing that just as the Wolfpack did in Toronto. They'd need to create the interest just as Bill Gates created interest in personal computers and Steve Jobs created interest in smart phones. If their owners paid a high enough franchise fee to join, they'd all be strongly motivated to do everything necessary to achieve that and the league would also have the money to hire a top promotions firm(s) to create a slick, professional, well-funded promotional campaign to help them and then deploy it in the media in each franchise area in all the relevant languages. I know that's a far cry from anything seen before in RL at least in the northern hemisphere, and if it was done right it would work.
  2. You don't get it. No existing clubs would be taken in, the whole endeavour would need a completely fresh start and so all of the traditional clubs would be left as they are. All the franchises would need to be based in cities where there's plenty of money around to go after and those aren't along the M62. Expanding like the AFL with a couple of teams which get massive long term central backing is never to happen with a setup based in M62 land. The RFL has never had the money to give that backing, nor the means to get it for the simple reason that the money just isn't there to be found in its heartland. That's why it's always having to help out one or more of the traditional clubs as best it can. What we have is slowly but surely falling further and further behind soccer and RU, sticking to that will mean the end of pro RL in the northern hemisphere in 20 years or so as John Kear suggested might happen in a radio interview a few years ago. I know that sounds dire, but I think that Kear and Sean McGuire know what they are talking about.
  3. No clubs would be got rid of, they'd stay right where they are playing in the same leagues as currently. Those just wouldn't be the top tier of the game in the northern hemisphere any more. Yes new sports can find supporters in almost any place, the growth of soccer in North America, basketball in Canada, baseball in many countries down in otherwise soccer-mad Latin America and basketball in Europe all prove that. So does the growth of the AFL in NSW and Queensland. And Toronto shows that bringing in the crowds can certainly be done by RL in new territories too.
  4. Toronto Raptors say otherwise. They started from scratch as an expansion teams in a sport which didn't have a big following in Canada at the time, and the Raptors have done very well for their owners. They paid 125 million US$ to join the NBA in 1995, and today the franchise is worth 2.1 billion US$ and their value has gone up 25% in the past year alone. That's a fabulous return on investment by any measure. The NBA is planning on adding two more expansion teams soon and one owner went on record as saying that the 2 billion US$ paid when the Los Angeles Clippers changed hands in 2014 should be “the starting point” for any expansion team’s entrance fee. You're forgetting that Argyle is a billionaire and that type of startup league would have to price its franchises at a level which while reflecting the value of the opportunity and growth potential offered by the league to investors would still be a bargain compared to the values in the established major pro leagues. The likes of him are plenty rich enough to afford a franchise fee like that and absorb initial losses as such a league grows toward stability and profitability.
  5. Yes the game would improve, because such a new league would have the profile and stature needed to inspire more boys and young men to want to take it up in the first place and that would stop and then reverse the decline in the player pool. The internationalization of team sports during the past 30 years or so has raised the bar re what it takes to inspire that to a point which RL can't meet as things stand. The younger generation has grown up with the idea that multinational competitions like the Champions League, UEFA League and Heineken Cup are standard fare, the sons and grandsons of the RL players and fans of yesteryear included. What they see when they look at RL doesn't measure up too well in comparison, so fewer of them are interested in the game as a consequence. They can do better for themselves playing RU instead, even outside the pro ranks to judge by what a few posters on TRL have said about the difference between the facilities and coaching at local RL and RU clubs.
  6. No you don't kick anyone out of the league they're in now, you leave them where they are and create a whole new league to take the sport to the heights it deserves, reverse both the decline in junior participation and the player drain to RU and the NRL and bring in the money necessary to keep pace with soccer and RU. That money is absolutely necessary for pro RL in the northern hemisphere to have a future, but it can't be found along the M62 corridor because it's further afield. That remains to be seen as and when such a development occurs.
  7. In the normal course of things I'd agree. However with a good, solid plan which could show the sort of investors who might otherwise look at buying an MLS or NHL franchise and their counterparts in other countries how good an investment a league of this nature could be for them by following the same path to profitability as those leagues have done, it could indeed be realistic.
  8. Perpignan is a small town so not Catalans, Toulouse would be a possibility in an investor(s) there had the funds to pay the franchise fee suited to a ground floor opportunity in the major league sports business with superior growth potential due to a transatlantic multinational reach. Ottawa might also not get in if backers could be found for better, higher profile markets, it's a bit on the small side to make the sort of impact which would be desirable. To be clear, by a new league I mean one starting with a completely clean slate and totally free of the baggage of failed past expansion efforts and with the financial means to mount a strong promotional campaign to create demand for its tickets, merchandise, etc. A league such as I envisage would need 10-12 investors like David Argyle, one such per franchise, and they would all have to do everything right as they set up their franchises. They'd have to be in the right locations to generate serious interest from broadcasters and sponsors, they'd all need a great nickname, logo and colours, they'd all need solid, competent, well respected management staff, etc. etc.
  9. Yes they could need millions to get established, that's why a plan able to attract those millions (and attract new audiences to the sport) would be needed before they could be established. To attract those millions, you leave all the current clubs out and place all the franchises in big cities in a spread of countries which are appealing to broadcasters and sponsors.
  10. You could have both if the big city teams are in one league and the traditional clubs are in another. Then you could watch the former on TV and the latter live where you live just like always.
  11. And that expansion can only come about through a separate and distinct organization which disrupts the traditional clubs as little as possible.
  12. Then you'd still have mostly teams from smallish economically disadvantaged towns unable to attract the sort of money needed, and you'd blow up the existing leagues too so you'd accomplish nothing other than to make things worse. How exactly is what you describe there going to be worth more to Sky (for example) than what the game can offer them now? I presume that soccer is the brand of football you mean there? If so, the presence of top teams in economically disadvantaged towns has been offset by the presence of other teams in big cities which enables their league to attract serious money from broadcasters and sponsors and those top teams also get to play in multinational continental competitions like the Champions League and EUFA League which boosts their stature further. You're comparing apples to oranges there.
  13. The answer to your questions is yes, but what you suggest there is not an answer. Tony Collins' Rugby Reloaded podcasts include two very interesting and enlightening interviews with former St Helens Chief Executive Sean McGuire. McGuire says there that the reason why there's no little money in the game is that with the possible exception of Leeds its traditional pro clubs are all in smallish economically disadvantaged towns where there's no real money to speak of, and what you suggest above wouldn't change that materially. It would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The only thing which could change that materially would be the creation of a whole new franchised league which wouldn't include any of the heartland clubs but would instead have its franchises — and I mean all of them — located in big globally recognized cities strategically chosen to maximize its appeal to broadcasters and sponsors so as to bring in as much money from those sources as possible and put it on a solid financial footing from the start. It would of course need rich franchise owners too and a strong promotional push to attract a whole new audience to this wonderful sport to buy the league's tickets, merchandise, etc. and watch on TV too. In short it would have to be full of Torontos.
  14. Good point. Describing RL as less complicated or less technical would be better.
  15. "frequent stoppages for washing hands" jumped out at me in that, what a joke that would be.
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