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whatmichaelsays

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Everything posted by whatmichaelsays

  1. A gig at Leeds United's ground. By a band that are unashamedly Leeds United fans. Named after a Leeds United player. And on the day before Leeds United played in a play-off final (if it's the gig I'm thinking of). Yep, can understand why he'd be surprised at the Leeds United influence.
  2. I think this is spot on. We're talking here about the influence that better facilities might have on RL scholarship prospects, and holding up the NFL draft as a way around that, but the NFL isn't where the players are recruited. It's further down the chain in the colleges and, in the college game, that schmoozing the players and their parents is a huge deal. The quality of the coaching, the size of the scholarship, the quality of the degree and the school reputation, the prestige of the conference, the "shop window" that they're put in for NFL scouts - they all come into it and the top colleges go all out to recruit the top high school prospects. YouTube is full of "MTV Cribs" style videos of college football training facilities and it's all part of a carefully choreographed marketing push and it's no coincidence that teams like Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and Oklahoma attract the prime talents.
  3. I absolutely agree with the point about the system entrenching certain advantages, but aren't they the symptom rather than the cause? Ultimately, doesn't this all come down to two major issues; the first being that the salary cap is too low, and the second being that there simply aren't enough young players being developed in the community game to sustain the professional game in its current guise? These two issues create a situation where, for example, stronger clubs get more value from the salary cap - certain players see the chance of playing in finals as an opportunity cost worth paying. That dynamic also works (admittedly in a different way) in the favour of heartland clubs vs expansion clubs, especially those in high cost-of-living areas (such as London) or those which would require players to uproot families (such as Newcastle, Cornwall, Wales and to some degree, even Hull). And I would also argue that this is where things like playing and training facilities, post-career opportunities and the quality of the business leadership comes into it. Nobody wants to work in a dump, people want to feel supported, and there's no way in hell I could (willingly) work for a boss like Michael Carter. All of that stuff counts when it comes to recruiting talent. The sport has seemingly acknowledged these challenges, whilst at the same time trying every which way to fix the problems that this causes without actually raising the cap. Cap exemptions for developed players were introduced as a response to a problem that the low salary ceiling made it harder to retain top talent and marquee rules were introduced to try and attract talent from the Australia who could otherwise earn more money as a benchwarmer in the NRL, but they by design can only benefit those clubs that develop their own players and/or can afford to pay marquee money. Raising the cap isn't without its own consequences, but the current format isn't achieving on any of the aims it was supposedly setting out to do - to protect clubs from themselves financially, to spread around the talent and to spread around the success.
  4. In isolation, probably not, because Wakefield have a worse record than Leeds on a number of other aspects of youth development. If I were a parent of a scholarship player, I'd also be concerned about some of the comments of the Wakefield chairman in the context of player welfare (although admitedly, Gary Hetherington's copybook isn't blot-free on that front either). But it undoubtedly improves their hand. Not just for competing with Leeds/the "big three". Even if we assume that the big three are going to take the pick of the crop, Wakefield are still competing with eight other clubs for talent that isn't spotted / can't be acommodated by Leeds, St Helens and Wigan.
  5. Whilst there is probably some truth in this, I do think it would be a factor for many parents. You see it in other sports (US collegiate sports in particular) where a big thing is made of impressing parents with facilities, coaching, education opportunities, pastoral care, etc, and parental influence is definitely a big factor when you're recruiting scholarship players. If your folks are impressed by the tour of Leeds' training facilities, the educational programmes with Leeds College / Beckett and "randomly" bumping into players like Jamie Peacock and Jamie Jones-Buchanan milling about the hallway, are they going to encourage you to go there, or to those clubs that don't offer something comparable? I think it is definately going to be "a" thing, if not necessarily "the" thing that helps to tip the balance.
  6. It ultimately depends on what that event is and who it's aimed at. The "cannibalisation" point is credible because RL has, for a long time, pitched all of its events at the same pool of people, and all of those events have been (by and large) the "original" flavour of RL. If we assume that everyone has a finite amount they're prepared to spend on RL events, we have gone from two events (CC and GF) competing for "share of wallet" to three events (four if you count semi finals day) - without really noticing whether or not the "wallet" has got bigger and without really offering much differentiation between the three events and the regular weekly rounds. Let's be honest, Magic for the last few years hasn't been much more than a weekly round, with the hope that some Geordies / Mancs / Scousers turn up. If a "Magic 2.0" is pitched at an entirely different audience, offering an entirely different flavour of RL and an entirely different reason for RL to go, then there's merit in exploring that and experimenting with the event to see what works.
  7. Given that the fan survey (and presumably the focus groups) were prodding around issues like a 7s / 9s / international event, I could see Magic being repurposed as some sort of "test bed" for one of those. It does seem surprising that, given IMG's talk of trying to grow what we have rather than play with the structures, they would dispose of a potentially useful asset so quickly.
  8. Maybe, but if you're trying to make a point, having to use the RL equivalent of The Beano as a prove point probably means that it isn't the strong argument you think it is.
  9. "You'll never sing that.... "You'll never sing thaaaat.... "Best stadium as voted for by a website that plagarises rugby league content for click-bait.... "You'll never sing that....."
  10. A quick Google seems to suggest this particular award is handed out by Serious About RL. Which presumably means the winner certificate was made with crayons. Next up, we have the award for "best stadium cooling system", presented by The Game Caller.
  11. Is that actually a thing? Is it presented just before the Man of Steel?
  12. On the thread discussing the recent podcast with one of IMG's leadership, there was mention of them wanting to create an environment where owners felt confident or encouraged to invest. Surely this is the manifestation of that? If you invest in the club to the standard necessary to receive an A grade, then the risk associated with that investment is seriously reduced?
  13. And they were doing so well until that bit....
  14. Leeds run and operate the hotel and the corporate event spaces, even though it is on the cricket ground side.
  15. So, we've concluded that Headingley is a great venue for an event, but RL shouldn't use it too much because that's unfair to other clubs with inferior facilities, but Headingley does have everything that an RL event would need, including a hotel on site for event guests even if that isn't important, except a roof on the "away" (sic) end and that's a problem because all RL is played during the UK typhoon season and never in summer, but having good facilities is a good thing so long as we don't use them too much because that's too easy? Got it.
  16. Agree with all of that, but I think this is a pertinent point in the context of what IMG are currently doing. A lot was made of the fan survey that IMG issued, which quite clearly was testing the water for some ideas that aren't likely to be universally popular amongst these forums - 7s / 9s and a city-based 'Hundred' style tournament. I think - and certainly hope - that survey was just one small part of their research but it does potentially create some interesting decisions for IMG depending on the output. Let's just say for argument sake that IMG are looking at a city-based 9s tournament. They've surveyed us passionate fans on TRL (let's call us 'Segment A') and we've universally dismissed the idea and said that we want nothing to do with it. But let's say that in the research, Segment B has decided that they love the idea, and would happily pay >£100 to see it at Wembley, Segment C has said that they like the sound of it, and might give it a go at £50 a ticket, and Segment D has said that they'd strongly consider it but the price would need to be right. Obviously, sample sizes come into this but should IMG dismiss the idea because Segment A don't like it, but B, C and D do and could make it profitable? I do think that the relationship with IMG will be a positive one, but in the same way that a parent has a relationship with their rebellious adolescent - there are going to be some challenging moments where they will want to do things that a lot of the "core" may not like. My view for some time is that RL is a (and forgive the wanky marketing terminology), a "product-orientated" business. We have a product, we've convinced ourselves its brilliant, and now all we have to do is sell it. It's this whole "TGG" nonsense. What RL isn't - and what it needs to be - is a (and again, forgive the marketing-speak) "customer-orientated" business. It isn't a business that identifies its audiences, understands them, and adapts what we offer to them and it's why our events all now look very dated and are sold to the same pool of people over and over again. I completely agree with you about the "family sport" thing - it worked well when football had a hooliganism problem and when kids could get their face painted before watching Bullman's parade, but what does it even mean these days?
  17. Whilst people are right to point out that the RFL is not the NFL and the Grand Final is not the Super Bowl, that can't be used as an excuse for not putting the effort in. There's a big difference between "nothing having that sort of budget" and "cutting corners and doing it on the cheap". You might not be able to pitch the GF half-time show to A-list pop stars, but you could pitch it as a potential big gig for a breakthrough act. You don't have to settle for Terry O'Connor presenting the trophy because he's "available". You don't have to keep hiring Alex Simmons to shout at people in the car park because "that's what you did last year". It felt to me that in terms of the presentaiton aspect, they made more effort for the closed-door final at Hull than they did this weekend. I think they played a blinder that year working with what they had to work with, using lighting and video to build the tension. I'm with @Dave T - watching people unfurl washing isn't fun. There was a huge open goal with the GF25 thing to really go to town with the heritage aspect of the event, to invite previous Harry Sunderland winners or previous winning captains.
  18. I was really impressed with that Wigan have on offer with the "fan park" when I went there last week pre-game. Really good atmosphere, lots going on and generally a fun place to spend the time pre-match. Inside the stadium on the other hand? There will be fans still queuing for a pint now.
  19. Previous Grand Finals between these two: 2007 - 71,352 2008 - 68,810 2009 - 63,259 2011 - 69,107
  20. I think a good starting point would be a shorter season. The fewer games there are, the more valuable each point potentially becomes. You can then also have various levers to pull in terms of linking prize money or central funding to performance, potentially re-igniting the WCC and offering places to that based on on-field performance. But there also needs to be an acknowledgement that no system is going to be perfect - and we shouldn't let "perfect" be the enemy of "better".
  21. In the context of the professional game as it currently looks? Perhaps not. But there are "closed shop" competitions where a supporting infrastructure exists beneath it. It undoubtedly involves some difficult and unpopular decisions that I'm certainly glad I'm not making, but there is a grown-up and objective debate needed here. The current model of P&R isn't optimal to achieve what IMG appear to be suggesting they want to achieve, and there are very real questions over whether using central funding to prop-up a professional game below SL really is generating a return on investment. Like I say, I'm glad it's not my call to make. True. I think there was a huge own goal there and they were only really (and only partly) saved the embarassment by Crusaders going to the wall when the renewals came up. I do think the KPIs and criteria were poorly thought out and without banging on this one particular one, I think the game is still suffering from that period of encouraging mass-discounts to this day.
  22. In fairness, that's true. The old licencing system measured the wrong things and encouraged the wrong behaviours (eg, mass discounting of tickets to hit an "average attendance" KPI). People argue "we tried licencing and it didn't work", ignoring that just because the one version of licencing we had didn't work, it doesn't mean that any version of licencing can't work.
  23. I look forward to traveling to that on the Leeds Supertram.
  24. The point is that people talk as if variety of winners is essential for a successful sport that can appeal to new fans, when there's no evidence to back that up. I mention Wakefield because in the last 10 years or so, every SL club bar them and Toulouse has either won something (SL, CC, LLS), and/or made it to a major final. RL doesn't have a massive problem with teams not being able to compete to win things.
  25. Equally, I'd like to see a driver for one of the smaller teams win the F1 championship, but decades of the same drivers winning year after year haven't held that sport back. Likewise, I don't think people were bored or seeing Usain Bolt win the 100m - they actually tuned in to see him win. The idea that RL is suffering because Wakefield can't get to Old Trafford really doesn't hold up to any objective scrutiny.
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