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whatmichaelsays last won the day on July 9

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  1. On the Catalans point, I would make the suggestion that the RFL's / SLE's relationship with Dacia is stronger for having a French presence - given that they're part of Renault and France is a much larger market for Dacia and Renault than the UK is, but I don't know the specifics of that contract. But aside from that, I would question whether that is the responsibilty of Catalans to deliver that central commercial revenue, in the same way that it arguably isn't the responsibility of Toronto to seek out TV contracts. That is, quite literally, Elstone's job description and his responsibility. Catalans and Toronto are simply clubs, aiming to be successful clubs in their own right. They're not commerical branch-offices of Super League. We don't expect Leeds to start pitching to Asda, Jet2 or First Direct to be central sponsors of Super League, Bradford Bulls to sign league-wide deals with Morrisons or Salford to start canvassing ITV over at Media City for a TV deal, so we shouldn't expect expansion clubs to do likewise. That is Elstone's job. If Super League can't capitalise on it's assets, that being footholds in French and Canadian markets, then that is on Super League as a commercial entity.
  2. We're not talking about expansion for expansion's sake here. We're talking about expansion because without it, the sport in this country will continue to lose relevance, lose its audience and, in time, lose it's viabilty as a professional entity. And again, going back to the point I made earlier up the thread, it's wrong to see expansion as a purely geographic issue. Expansion is an issue of how the sport reaches audiences that currently aren't watching rugby league and how it turns those audiences into a group of people that demand rugby league content - be that in person or on television. Geographic expansion might be a part of that process, but it is not itself the answer. It's why hosting events in Newcastle, London or Cardiff is a waste of time if all we then do is sell them to the same people who already buy the sport. What is clear is that the heartland clubs have, by and large, shown little interest or ability to do that - we have declining audiences in the stadium, we continue to struggle for column inches and television audience figures show mixed results. It's therefore fair to apply the standards that we apply to overseas clubs to heartland clubs as well - how are they bringing new audiences to rugby league?
  3. All the more reason to try and find ways to change that. The sport needs to find ways to get more people watching it in order to increase it's value. Geographical expansion may well be part of the answer but it is not necessarily the only answer. The the existing clubs were capable of doing that, we'd have much less discussion on here about overseas expansion. Again, if we're using the argument "what do they add?" to discredit a club, we have to use the same argument to appriase all prospective Super League clubs.
  4. If the answer to the question "how do they put money in?" is "they take less money out", then that's RL's problems summed up in a nutshell.
  5. If we're using that line of thinking to discredit the merits of Toronto (or any other expansion club), surely we have to ask this of any prospective Super League club? How would Bradford bring money to the SL clubs or the pot? How would Leigh bring any money to the pot? How would Newcastle bring any money to the pot? It's not as if there is a huge pent-up demand for Sky Sports subscriptions in Featherstone that can only be realised once Rovers are in Super League. Nor is it the case that <1,000 Batley fans rocking up to the "away end" at Headingley represents a material change to the club's finances. If you want to apply that line of thinking, I think the question to ask is whether a club adds value to the Super League brand - does it help that brand to reach new audiences (either in the UK or overseas) which would in turn improve the value of Super League long-term. I'd make the argument that TW does that.
  6. I'd agree - and there are few professional sports that don't depend on TV revenue. I would suggest that a fair accusation to level at RL is that it doesn't seem to have increased revenue streams other than domestic TV revenue. When you look at the accounts of clubs, a lot of revenue streams remain fairly static. That does make it "over" dependant on an ever-increasing domestic TV deal to simply stand still in real terms. Compare with the Premier League, for example, which has successfully managed to increase pretty much every other revenue stream at the same time, alongside having a significant income from domestic TV rights.
  7. Not to mention the new, expanded five year UK TV deal they signed this year and the increasijg number of Gamepass subscribers in recent years. All this stuff in London must be a real loss-leader.
  8. I think this comment from Gary Carter rather than a reported comment from a club, but this is a red herring: The NFL has succeeded as a transatlantic venture. It has grown an audience on this side of the Atlantic and sells-out four games a year. That's success. The measure of success is not whether there is a London franchise. In many respects, it is better for the NFL to not have a London franchise for the same reason that, before the Rams moved there, Los Angeles was the most important city in the NFL. Without the threat of a London franchise, it's harder for franchises in America to bully the local government into funding new stadiums. The NFL aren't doing the London thing in order to establish a franchise. They're doing it to build and monetise an audience.
  9. I would largely agree with this, although the game can only rely on 'outside' investment to a very limited point. I've said further up this thread that we're actually wrong to see "expansion" as a geographic issue, when it really isn't. The issue of "expansion" is really about expanding the audience for RL and increasing the demand for RL content, be that in-person or over distance (TV and digital) - the latter perhaps being more important longer-term as the population becomes even more transient. Don't get me wrong, geography can be part of the answer but it is not itself the answer. I genuinely don't think there are more than a small handful of clubs that have thought about where the next generation of RL supporters and viewers are coming from. I think even fewer have thought about how they're actually going to go out and get them. You don't need to put pins in maps and you don't need to wait for the next Argyle or Hughes to come along with a bundle of cash and a choice of city. You just need to make RL something that more people want to buy in order to make it more valuable. We can play games in places like Newcastle, Cardiff and Coventry but the real issue is that when we're doing that, we're selling the same thing to the same people - the people who are already buying what the sport has to offer. Nobody new is buying and nobody new is watching (at least, not in big enough volumes). Expansion starts not with plucking cities out of thin air, but with understanding who we actually want to sell this sport to and catering to what those people want. Geographic expansion might be part of the solution, but don't be fooled into believing that geographic expansion is in any way a solution alone.
  10. I think the issue here is that the talk about "expansion" is framed almost entirely as a geographic issue. The aim is not necessarily to grow the geography, but to grow the audience. If we evolve the product to appeal to new audiences and create new demand, geography is actually a secondary issue. Playing games in Liverpool or Cardiff or Newcastle doesn't necessarily expand the audience - those events are broadly sold to the same people that usually buy it, only with the added hassle of the travel thrown into the bargain. I know we often see stats on the percentage of people from [insert area here] who have bought tickets, but it's usually small-fry in comparison. To me, the question is how we find new generations of supporter, and different demographics of people, to watch RL. How does RL 'cut through' in a sports and entertainment market where we're not just competing with other sports, but with other pasttimes, with PlayStations and with InstaFaceTok? We can't just keep relying on dads to drag their reluctant kids along and hope that will keep the sport going for another generation. I've said it before, but we have to get away from this hubris of thinking "this is a great product that's just marketed badly". It's a great sport - I would argue the best of all - on the occasions that it is played at it's best, but that doesn't necessarily make it a great product. I think this is what the American sports get. They don't just "play a game in London" and think that it's job done - they actively identify audiences that they want to attract, build something that those people want and sell not just a game, but an event and a brand that they can buy into. RL doesn't do that.
  11. I can't imagine that the atmosphere generally around Wakefield is particuarly good at the moment and to be honest, you do have to point the finger at the top-down management for that. There have been a few incidents to suggest all is not well at the club and I don't think you can pin that purely on Chester. Weren't Wakefield one of the last clubs to agree a post-COVID pay deal, doing so against the backdrop of an unnamed player suggesting industrial action and Carter glibly dismissing the concerns of another who felt compelled to take a second job during lockdown? I also remember Carter making some questionable social media posts on the day of the player's union social media campaign and about people on furlough (despite most of his staff at the time being on the scheme) - I honestly wouldn't blame anyone for not having the motivation to work for someone like that. Yes, I get that professionalism and certain expectations to "get on with it" comes into it but if at the same time, you're not prepared to show respect to your employees, you have to accept that comes with consequences.
  12. It's a simplistic argument. Put the BBC 1 content on BBC 2 and you more than likely reverse the trend. In the vast majority of cases it's the content that drives the audience, not the channel number. If the demand is there for RL content, people will press the '2' button on their remote to get it.
  13. ITV have the exclusive rights for the RUWC. Again, I just don't see how being on BBC2 is such a hardship.
  14. I don't have old copies of the Radio Times to hand, but Six Nations games have definately been shown on BBC2. The BBC doesn't have the rights to the RUWC, so they clearly don't give it preferential treatment you seem to think they do. But again, in the world as it is today, I really don't see being behind button 2 rather than button 1 as that much of a hardship - and certainly not one that couldn't be overcome.
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