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whatmichaelsays last won the day on December 21 2022

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  1. Main reason was they felt they weren't getting the value they hoped for / the value they got from other channels for the price. The lower price in year two made it more palatable, but not to commit long term. They also felt that the relationship was very transactional - Wigan were happy to take the cheque, but there wasn't a lot done on their part to try and further the relationship until renewal time. This is one area where, in my experience, the commercial team at Leeds are exceptional - and it is probably why sponsors like Leeds Building Society, Arla, Berry's, Global, Tetley's etc have stuck around fin one capacity or another or so long.
  2. A previous client of mine had a stint as Wigan's main shirt sponsor (think of a numbers game played in a Saudi Arabian city and you're on the right lines). They were offered the second year for absolute buttons when they initially declined to renew.
  3. In fairness to Brierley, the players are stakeholders in this sport too and, it seems, ones who are rarely consulted on how the game operates. You could argue that's down to the players union to be stronger, but I would wager that there are a number of issues within the game, commercial and non-commercial, that wouldn't be harmed by some player input. Even the Premier League listens to representations from club captains..
  4. Completely agree. I don't doubt that there are some ambitious and aspirational people within the sport - they're just not in places of influence. The sport just seems to be run by accountants who want to manage the decline, with no effort whatsoever going into increasing our audience, our market share and with it, the revenue from sponsors and broadcasters. It's all about just trying to serve the same, declining pool of people over and over again as cheaply as possible. You can't be angry that Sky don't want to pay more for that, or that the only businessman wanting to get seriously involved with the sport is Fred Done. It's just sad.
  5. Agree. Magic has the potential to be a brilliant opportunity, but it feels like the RFL hasn't ever really known what to do with ever since they were bunged some cash for the first one by the Welsh Tourist Board. I think this is why you have a lot of people placing unrealistic expectations around it being a vehicle for geographic expansion, then pointing to a lack of teams in Wales, Scotland etc and saying it's a failure. I'm with you in that, with a more customer-centric approach, Magic could have been sold as some sort of 'RL Glastonbury' type event that really sells all that our sport has to offer. It's one of the few ways in which you could sell the Men's, Women's, PDRL and Wheelchair sports without really being accused of trying to lump them all together, and Newcastle is actually a brilliant city for that - St James, Kingston Park, two arenas, and a city-centre park, all in one city and well-connected. I don't doubt that the RFL has financial pressures to deal with, but the way to respond to these - when what you're selling is an entertainment product - is not to retreat and try and deliver what you have as cheaply and cut-price as possible. We've been seeing this trend with RFL events throughout the years, but the Tonga series was perhaps the most obvious sign that the RFL had been phoning it in - and we've seen the real cost of that.
  6. Tom Burgess has put his Tonga expenses claim in.
  7. But cheap and discounted tickets ARE poor marketing. The purpose of marketing is to maximise long-term profit - giving away margin isn't what drives growth. The RFL (and certain clubs) have been on a treadmill of discounting for years - and this is where we are. With a devalued product that the RFL has to give away even more aggressively. Good marketing is not about selling a £30 value product for £15 - good marketing is convincing more people that this is product worth paying £30 for before somebody else buys it.
  8. I think the "done cheaply" part is the key one for me. I was at the game on Saturday and there was very little that made you feel like it was a big event. There were some school children dancing, in front of the empty corporate seats, the usual unfurling of laundry, but really nothing else that could pass for any sort of pre-match entertainment. When you consider the lack of promotion and the revelation from Tom Burgess that the RFL wouldn't even pay to put the players on business class flights, you get the sense that the RFL really was phoning this one in. Personally I got a sense of excitement when this tour was announced that we'd have something different to get our teeth into. I think that excitement was lost and in the end, we ended up with just another RFL event, done on the cheap, and people leaving feeling underwhelmed. I get that Tonga aren't a big draw and I get that the RFL doesn't have a blank cheque, but that's where I think the RFL takes too much of a short-term view when it comes to ROI.
  9. But that is only a small part of how people "get into" sports viewership and, I'd argue, is much less relevant today that it perhaps was on your or my day. Nobody at Tottenham Stadium yesterday was there because their grandad took them to an NFL game as a kid and lifted them over a turnstile. The kids walking around with Mo Salah or Haaland shirts can't even get tickets to games these days, and no kid grew up wanting to be a Hundred batsman because The Hundred didn't exist. The local thing is helpful and useful, but it's not a pre-requisite for liking RL, which is why I don't buy this "nobody away from the M62 is/will ever be interested" nihilism. If the sport is relying on dad's and grandads dragging their reluctant kids along, then we're encapsulating the problem right there. It's the same as those arguments we see on here after every CC Final blaming the poor crowds on the demise of pub trips - that pub culture hasn't existed for over 20 years. It's time to move on.
  10. Come on Harry, you and I have been over this ground many times before so I don't think we need to repeat ourselves. I think there are markets out there not currently engaging with RL content that could be encouraged to engage with RL content. Those audiences may well be right on our doorstep within our heartlands, but they may also be anywhere else in the world. But what RL is very bad at - both at club and central level - is understanding the audiences it wants to grow, what those audiences want, and delivering it on the terms they want to engage with it. I mentioned recently on a previous thread - for a supposed community sport, RL has been poor at adapting to how those communities have changed over the generations. To me, that leads the sport to neglect opportunities with new media, to neglect opportunities with TV, to neglect opportunities with those audiences that want a more premium experience, and so on. That's why we struggle for market share on TV, why we have a tiny digital footprint and why our crowds and sponsors all seem to come from the same, declining pool - not because "people aren't interested". I don't think it's chicken and egg in the slightest. There is nothing in the water in WN or WF postcodes that chemically adjusts you to liking RL. There are sports I watch despite never seeing them in person, nor having any real attachment to any of the competitors - but I still enjoy them. RL needs to find who might enjoy this sport, deliver it on those terms, and grow its audience. That's expansion - not pins in maps.
  11. To be honest, I don't agree with BP's premise. Expansion is not a geography problem. It's an audience problem.
  12. I'm not sure inflation is a particularly useful metric to be honest. A much better metric is market share (in this case, the "market" is the size and value of the TV audience). Other sports have invested in their products to a much greater degree than RL has in the time period you speak about in order to increase their respective market share. Since that 2017 deal, Sky Sports has invested in Formula1 (Sky Sports F1 was launched in 2018) and F1 has itself reinvented much of its presentation to be much more TV-friendly for the casual viewer. Women's football has taken off and commands a lot more airtime than it did in 2017. The value of Premier League and EFL rights has continued to grow. Cricket has developed new products to sell. American sports are now more visible in the UK. And RL has done..... some temporary and quickly-reversed tweaks to the league structure? All of those factors squeeze out RL for both airtime and rights value, and RL hasn't really fought back very well (whether that's due to resources, inaction or inability) to protect the value of its own rights. When people complain that Sky doesn't promote RL enough, it's because RL hasn't done enough to command that market share whereas other sports arguably have. So to answer the question as to whether RL is worth 60% less to Sky, I don't think it's really unfair to say that it probably is. How much of Sky's subscriber and advertiser base really relies on RL? And how much of that couldn't be made up by investments in other sports?
  13. Structures aren't the issue. The issue is ensuring that the product and the way it is presented and delivered can pull in new audiences. I have my own ideas, and some of those involve doing things that won't be universally popular with traditional fans, but they're ideas that I think open up opportunities to offer something new. The fact is the sport has to get much better at selling itself to people other than the people who already buy it. That failure is why we only pull on the same crowds, the same sponsors and the same level of broadcast interest.
  14. It's on SL to work out what will pull people in. Yes, we need to work with Sky, but they aren't there to do the job for us and they certainly aren't going to underwrite the risk of what should be SL's investment. This is what SL/the clubs employ marketing, research and commercial teams for.
  15. The question you have to ask in conjunction with that question is what RL has done to uphold/grow the value of its rights. Simply expecting an increase because you want/think you deserve one isn't enough. Football is a massive driver of subscriptions for Sky and it's business case relies on that content. F1 is also a big driver of subscriptions and you can probably bucket certain cricket and golf events in that category as well. Darts has reinvented itself for TV and drives good audiences for probably relatively little production cost. Sky has recently lost of lot of boxing content to DAZN, but profits from PPV. Tennis (Wimbledon aside) has bounced around different broadcasters.
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