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Toby Chopra

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Everything posted by Toby Chopra

  1. On the substance, I would absolutely love it if we could have a June/July world cup, it would be so much better and I'm sure it could be scheduled smartly against other gloval events. Superleague would happily make way of course, but getting the NRL to move would be like - well, getting the European football leagues to move for a winter world cup. They'd hate it, as they are already the main draw in the Aussie winter. So we'd have to convince the NRL that the boost to rugby league's global profile would be beneficial for them.
  2. Lol, nearly spat out my pint at that, bravo sir.
  3. Seems pretty straightforward in the mens qualifying. I too am unclear why they're adding an Americas place at the likely expense of Greece or Serbia, I suppose it's just a strong desire to see the US back on board, which I can understand. My main wish is that even though 5 of the qualifiers won't be known until November 2024, that doesn't hold up the draw and schedule release. Use placeholders if needed so we can get tickets on sale 18 months beforehand at the minimum. Preferably more. I think a lot of people will want to travel from UK, but to max that we need notice.
  4. I haven't seen anywhere that Cat A clubs will be exempt from review. They'll be exempt from relegation which is of course a totally different thing. When the league reaches 14 Cat As, it will no longer be accessible for Cat B clubs via ptomotion, but they can be added if they achieve Cat A. So yes it would be a closed shop, but not capped at 14. But as I say above, I struggle to see how we get to 14 Cat As a decade from now if, say, Leeds or Saints are the benchmark for Cat A.
  5. The closed shop isn't the end in itself for IMG, their aim is to create a league of strong clubs that generate increased revenue. The potential closed shop only comes about as a side effect of successfully reaching that aim, because strong clubs are rewarded with protection. And it's still expandable. But if we don't get to 14 strong clubs - and I myself struggle to see more than 10 by the time IMG's contract is up - then I see no reason why the door won't remain open.
  6. This would be the disaster scenario, but you might well be right
  7. Sure, and there's value in that, to show we can deliver audiences across multiple games and events on FTA. If only we had a content package to follow up with. But as we debated on another thread, there doesn't seem to be much evidence of substantial new audiences being attracted, the numbers suggest it's mostly existing RL watchers filling their boots for free. (I know I did). Nothing wrong with that, I'd still say the World Cup has given the UK game a shot in the arm, but mostly through engaging current and lapsed fans. Hopefully that will show up in season ticket sales in next few months.
  8. Yep, or rather, UK RL is in the same place it was in at the start if the tournament. Which is stable but underperforming. But we didn't break through with the world cup, so "reach over revenue" arguably didn't work. (If you believe that was a real strategy and not something made up afterwards!)
  9. The French teams may be a special category given they're likely to put other conditions on them like homegrown players. Wigan, Warrington, Saints, Leeds, with a separate French assessment. Disappointing for the Hull clubs, but hopefully it'll be made clear to them what they need to step up. No one else should be anywhere near Cat A.
  10. There's many precedents for already-qualified teams taking part in championships that also have qualification implications. Such as currently India is hosting the next cricket World Cup, but is still part of the ODI superleague through which everyone else qualifies. You just have to see where everyone finishes, and see who qualifies, and adjust as necessary. Looks like there will be a final qualifier in 2024. So for me, the interesting thing is that it looks like this tournament will be England's autumn 2023 games. Well, ok, let's build it up properly and maybe it'll be work. England vs Ireland/Italy in London please!
  11. Brilliant idea. Wheelchair series at Copper Box, Palais Bercy and Manchester Central. It would be huge
  12. In my case it's simply because I've done two 12 hour round trips to the north east from Sussex this tournament plus a trip to London. I'm just knackered, and a could do with saving the train fares. I will however be watching every minute of both finals on TV and am really looking forward to them. Samoa have a good chance IMO, with 8(?) NRL grand finalists in their team. Plus two Mancunian friends-of-friends who aren't RL regulars now get to go. Maybe they'll get hooked? I agree I may regret this decision come Saturday night!
  13. Dave Woods has weighed in, but I think he's just cribbed it all off us. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/63650965
  14. I remember that a few years ago we did have a CC semi on Friday night on BBC2 - I can't remember the teams, I think one was Saints - but it was a cracking game, played under lights, and from memory it got 1.5m viewers, which seemed to please everyone. Not sure why it didn't return. EDIT: It was Leeds vs Saints in 2015, got 1.3m plus 11k crowd at Warrington which created a great atmosphere I remember.
  15. Fair enough, I suppose it's just where that point is. My feeling is that it's closer to 3m, than say 6m, as switching on the TV is an easier choice to make than attending a game. Hopefully we'll get some accurate figures for "reach" at some point, given that's what Dutton says it was about.
  16. Thanks. Am I right that the 2013 semi peaked at 2.8m, and the climax to the kiwi series in 2018 was around 2.2m? If so it shows that we can activate another million or so for major internationals. But we already knew that. My contention is that 2.5-3m is the pool for watching mens RL and most of the mens audiences came from that, not, for example, 6-7m watching a random game or two. Womens/wheelchair probably has added another half million unique viewers. None of that is to be sniffed at, it shows the sport's base - in its widest definition - is stable and engaged. There's an audience to move forward with, if we can deliver meaningful content for it. I'd just hoped blanket TV coverage would give us more - a women's football-style tipping point. But perhaps that was wishful thinking on my part. Union thought 2015 would be that moment for them and it incontrovertibly wasn't.
  17. Prime time would be great, but I'm not sure we've demonstrated we'd do it justice yet. I think the current timings would have been ok if the tournament had built momentum, but it seemed to go a bit flat after the opening week. I suppose the obvious thing there is all the blowouts, where even the England games went backwards after week one. I don't like meddling with the format, but I suppose it's something we have to look at along with everything else.
  18. Genuine question Dave: why do you think substantially more than 2.5m watched? The mens peak is 2.5m, which is the limit we've hit for CC finals and mens internationals for a decade or more. So that tells me in this tournament it's a pretty fixed audience that's turning on the mens games, not a different million or so each time. And even if we say half the womens/wheelchair audience is new people - which is optimistic - that only gets us to 3-3.5m. Which feels about right, as anecdotaly it doesnt feel like the country connected with the tournaments more than that. It didn't become watercooler chat as far as I can see, even though free on TV. Which for me is more disappointing than the ticket debacle, as at least there there's lots we could have done better.
  19. When you break the TV figures doen though, it's mostly the same people who always watch RL watching multiple games, these aggregate figures are always very misleading, whichever sport tries it. And it was mostly the same people who cared - perhaps with a small addition of some newbies who were attracted to the wheelchair and women's. But it didn't cut through beyond that.
  20. To be fair, the reach over revenue bit does seem to be specifically talking about the TV deal, which he then says has to be balanced by ticket revenue. But there are weird bits. If the article accurately reflects what he said, he seems to be saying that running multiple tournaments alongside each other impacted ticket sales, which is nonsense. And he says the business model could be significantly improved, yet the tournament was also resounding success? That doesn't work. Spinning to the end really, which just isn't necessary, but there we are. There were positives from this tournament, but also huge lessons that really do need to be learned. I just hope the RFL isn't left with a bill to pay, that's what it all boils down to for me now, and that still isn't clear from this interview.
  21. I think the average includes the pre-game and post-game segments too, so I'd imagine there was close to 2m watching throughout the game itself.
  22. Yes, as I say, it's not a terrible outcome that we've maintained our audience, although live sport does tend to have been the one exception to falling TV numbers in the cord cutting era, especially on FTA. We have a fan base - and it's definitely wider than just the club-based heartlands - so we've got something to work with. It's just the age-old question of how to widen it further. I had thought the RLWC would do that, but judging by the TV numbers, it seems not. However, it's not a cause for crisis, just got to keep working hard, and see what IMG come up with.
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