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  1. If the aim is to get a big crowd, then I don't really see how moving the game a lot further away from the majority of supporters, and consequently significantly increasing the cost of attending, is going to improve that situation. As other posters have pointed out, with the finalists only being confirmed 1-2 weeks out from the game, it doesn't give people long to make plans and find a considerable amount of money. I don't know the cost of trains from the North West or Yorkshire to somewhere like Cardiff, but my guess is they won't be cheap. Just make it easy for people to attend.
  2. Yes you would think that the Championship would be a higher standard than the reserve grade. Wasn't there rumours of McLelland going to Hull KR for a year on loan or have I imagined that? How many players are Fev potentially losing for next year? Do they have any in the pipeline? It's going to be interesting to see the knock-on effect that a reserve grade has on the lower divisions. I can imagine that League One could be hit particularly hard on the player front.
  3. How many of those ventures actually saw the novelty wear on? I would argue that all of them were under-invested and the attempt to develop the sport in most of those areas was half-hearted. Also, how many' heartlands' teams does that same argument also apply to? Workington? Keighley? Dewsbury? Swinton? Rochdale? Oldham? Etc etc?
  4. Fantastic effort from Fev. With Leeds having to run a reserve grade next year, what financial implications will that have for Fev in terms of replacing the players on dual reg, whose wages I presume were paid by Leeds?
  5. Excellent point. When some people say that everyone should play by the same rules, it's easy to forget that many heartlands clubs have a 80+ year head start in terms of player production pathway and local infrastructure. So viewing a level playing field purely in terms of money and salary cap dispensations completely ignores the gigantic advantage that heartlands clubs have in terms of recruiting players. It could be argued that London's salary cap should be 2 or 3 times that of the heartlands clubs, given the cost of living. Players will be able to make their money go alot further in the north than they can in London.
  6. Fair point This is a fair point as well. None of know for certain what's going to happen. And I think this is where there is a big division in the sport. There are some who argue that every club should have the right to progress through P&R, and others who argue that the strongest, most strategically beneficial clubs must be safeguarded in the top division in order to maximise commercial opportunities. And I don't see how the two are compatible. I'm probably leaning more towards the latter argument, but then I read posts like those above by tuutaisrambo and get reminded how important P&R is for fans of these other clubs. The re-introduction of P&R does seem to have re-invigorated the lower leagues. However, I would argue that many clubs are still struggling to survive, and that P&R possibly contributes to some of these lower league clubs over-reaching beyond their means and getting into financial bother. I'm not sure why that would be the case. Realistically, the pro game from League One is a closed shop, and there is plenty of competition going on below that. I suspect the re-introduction of reserve grade will mean that many players will be earning similar money in a SL reserve team comparable to alot of League One clubs, and that those players will just migrate to SL reserve teams. If the TV money dries up in 2 years, then alot of those League One clubs risk disappearing overnight. Also, I'm definitely not in favour of a permanently closed shop. I agree that this would definitely lead to stagnation, and poorly performing clubs (on-field, development, commercially) would have no incentive improve their performance. I would like to see a re-introduction of licencing that could encourage those aspirational lower league clubs to develop their businesses and performance so that they have a route to the top level. But it would offer stability to clubs so that they could plan long-term. For me, the problem with licencing last time is that it wasn't enforced properly. Also, I think that those clubs that obviously perform well in most areas (e.g. Leeds) could be given longer licences than those who are performing less well. But I appreciate that this pathway isn't as exciting and is a much harder sell to supporters of the lower league clubs.
  7. No worries, and those are fair points. But would that argument not also apply to bigger towns? E.g. St Helens' and Wigan's catchment areas may expand beyond their immediate vicinity? And I think this was the argument behind the 'Framing the Future' plan or whatever it was called, which involved mergers and rebranding as big city names. I don't think it was better, but my suspicion is that the game is now suffering from its instability, lack of vision and inability to expand. If a proper plan had been put in place to develop London (as with Melbourne Storm in Australia) and also foster other expansion areas such as Newcastle, then my guess is that this would have helped to increase the profile, and consequently make it a more appealing game for sponsors and broadcasters. And perhaps we wouldn't be staring down the barrel of a much-reduced broadcasting deal for 2021 onwards. But this is all complete guesswork on my part and I could be completely wrong. If the game was starting to design a structure from scratch on a blank sheet of paper, based around the current clubs, my guess is that the likes of York, Newcastle and Bradford would be much more strategically attractive propositions than the likes of Featherstone. But the instability provided by P&R means that it is impossible to guarantee any structure that safeguards these clubs from falling out of the top flight. I can completely see why people like P&R and why they want it to stay, but from my perspective - in the long term interests of the game - we have to devise a top division that works to the game's strengths in terms of strong clubs with a good support base and big potential catchment areas, in order to maximise our potential audience and bring more money into the sport. Alternatively, if people want P&R to stay then we have to accept a huge amount of instability in the game, which may result in missing out on some of that potential audience, and consequently we can't moan if fewer sponsors and broadcasters want to invest in the sport.
  8. All of those towns that you mention have a population of >100k. I suspect that those towns with higher populations (and consequently a higher number of more affluent consumers) are more attractive to potential sponsors and broadcasters compared to towns/villages with lower populations. Do you think otherwise? If so, I'd love to know why. When Wigan were dominating the sport in the 80s and 90s I remember there being significantly less money in the sport to the extent where most of the top division was comprised of part-time players. Although Wigan may not be a glamorous weekend destination in some people's eyes, is it more or less glamorous than Featherstone? Personally, I'm not overly bothered about travelling to exotic places. I love going to places like Post Office Road. It's a cracking ground and a great place to watch rugby league. I don't support any SL teams in particular, but instead just want the sport to thrive. If the elite division was comprised of multiple small 15k towns/villages spread across only 2 English counties, that would undoubtedly have less appeal to sponsors and broadcasters compared to bigger population centres spread across the country (and potentially also Europe and North America), and consequently there would likely be less money in the sport. If people are happy for the elite level of the game to go back to the 80s and early 90s where the majority of players were part-time, then we have to accept the knock-on effect that will have in terms of retaining the game's best players and what would happen to the profile of the sport. Personally, I'll still be watching rugby league either way.
  9. I think the game as a whole needs to decide what it wants to be. If we want promotion and relegation to give the likes of Featherstone a crack at playing in the highest tier, then we can't moan if high profile sponsors and/or broadcasters aren't queuing up to offer us lucrative deals. No offence, but I can't imagine a village in West Yorkshire with a population of circa 15k is going to be a massively attractive draw for potential sponsors compared to a city in Canada with a population of 2.7m.
  10. Soccer is the exception to the rule. The game of soccer/football is so massive worldwide that other sports just can't compare. There was a cracking edition of the BBC RL podcast earlier in the year with Shane Richardson from Souths and a bloke from Harlequins RU who had previously been a CEO for an NRL club. They succinctly and eloquently explained far better than I ever could how RL shouldn't even try and compare itself to football, because football tends to work in spite of its organisation simply because the game is so massively popular. Plus the average attendance across the whole of the FL Championship last season was approx half that of the Premier League, therefore suggesting that significantly fewer people are interested in watching it. So I stand by my comment and respectfully disagree. If you can provide any evidence of any other second tier sport in this country achieving big crowds then I could be persuaded to change my view.
  11. Eagles averaged well over 4k during their time in Super League. I'm pretty sure the fact that they currently attract less than 1k is due to being out of the top tier and their recent nomadic existence and current ground problems. If they were playing out of a decent ground with the same TV money that other Super League clubs get, I'm sure they would be a much more attractive proposition for spectators. However, the average attendances across Super League as a whole have slid down the past few years. What is being done across the sport to raise the profile of the game, so that there are more high profile star players that excite the fans and that people want to pay to go and see? I've heard all quarters of the game talk about how important this is, but seen very little evidence of any effective strategies.
  12. I don't know as I'm not an Eagles fan, but my guess would be firstly that their recent nomadic existence after the demolition of Don Valley, coupled with their limited current ground have contributed to them losing alot of local support. Also, the reality is that alot of people aren't interested in watching 2nd tier sport, and only show interest when it's top level, and obviously Sheffield have been out of the top flight for 20 years.
  13. From my perspective, if the pinnacle of a competition has a name that is purely concerned with leaving that competition to join another one, then it suggests to the viewer that it isn't worth winning in its own right. It may spike a bit of interest in that particular game, but in doing so massively devalues the rest of that competition.
  14. The Million Pound Game is just a terrible name IMO, by underlining the lack of money in the sport. Plus the name is about a different competition, instead of giving value to the Championship as a competition in its own right. Very poor IMO.
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