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  1. https://www.sportspromedia.com/news/nrl-nine-tv-broadcast-rights-rugby-league-australia-foxtel/ NRL $445 million (£330 million) for five years on Nine. I’ve seen the status of the NRL in Aus compared to the Premier League here, but is that accurate? NBC in the US are paying the Premier League $2.7 billion over 6 years, roughly six times what a domestic broadcaster in the form of Nine is paying the NRL. That’s probably an unfair comparison as it’s a different market size (still blown away by the difference mind). A better comparison, Optus in Australia are paying £43 million per season (so £215 million over the same length of Nine’s NRL deal) for the Premier League. https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/16784688/premier-league-nbc-sports-australia-contract/ So, £215 million, for a foreign league, vs £330 million for a domestic one. That comparison doesn’t suggest the NRL has anything like the status the PL does here. Accurate?
  2. Christ almighty. Blown away by the comparison. NBC, a foreign broadcaster, is paying the Premier League $2.7 billion for six years Channel Nine, an Australian broadcaster, is paying the NRL $445 million for five years. https://www.sportspromedia.com/news/nrl-nine-tv-broadcast-rights-rugby-league-australia-foxtel/ A home market is paying roughly a sixth. What it indicates is billionaires are not needed (yet) in RL, not by a long way. The money needed to make a big impact is modest in comparison.
  3. I think it’s always been a behemoth (well since the late 19th century). All Sky (and new entity that was the Premier League) did was package it. Yes there was crowd issues in the 70s/80s (violence/racism) which was accompanied with the economy being on its knees (closure of many industries, strikes etc), but the sport was unchallenged. Pre Sky: The highest recorded power surge to the national grid occurred when England played West Germany in the 1990 World Cup. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5110820.stm The highest viewing figure ever in the U.K. was for the 1966 World Cup Final. Leeds vs Chelsea in a 1970 FA Cup final replay is in the top 10, and what the second most watched sports event after the ‘66 final (since surpassed by this year’s Euros final) with 28 million. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970_FA_Cup_Final The big difference to the English game since Sky coverage started is internationally, with deals such as this announced today. NBC keeps Premier League U.S. broadcast rights in 6 year, $2.7 billion deal
  4. Listening to Tony Collins (who I believe is involved in this project) they have learned from other museums. redjohns’ mobile idea sounds like a good one. You would get more visitors I’d imagine. Get the feeling that nowadays people can’t be @rsed traipsing miles to somewhere for the like of this.
  5. The problem with RU purists like Burden (and the same to any in RL) is what they like to see, the brutality, will kill off the sport, not just from a safety point of view, from a popularity one. The last Lions test series was the worst spectacle on record. It was eye gouging stuff. South Africa have always been a millstone around the neck of RU. Not only have they been awful to watch, their emphasis on physicality and bulldozing the opposition into submission has pushed the others to become more attritional like them. A flair team as France once was would get smashed in the sport today. It’s for this reason France went from 13 stone 3 lb of flair that was Philippe Sella to an 18 stone 13 lb limited bruiser in Bastareaud. A 5 stone 10 lb change in one position, the centre, the midfield creator (well, meant to be). The problem isn’t so much the huge increase in weight and the nosedive in skill, it’s that such a change makes your team stronger. Only last week someone on here compared the weights of two RL packs and said the heavier pack of a current team, albeit having less skill, would wipe the floor with the more skilled one from the past. When physicality trumps skill, the sport is in trouble.
  6. I think you’re right in terms of crowds (I believe it’s around 14k average for RU clubs), but that I would put down to a having a larger following as a sport aided by the international game. In terms of profile though I can’t see any difference between the two codes at club level. I’d actually be confident more would have seen the two RL finals than any club RU finals. The only RU coach that I recall seeing on Sky Sports News for example is Eddie Jones, the England coach. Don’t think I’ve seen one club coach nor could I name one. Wages exceed income meaning the owners are bankrolling the clubs. All but one club has left London in the hope of making money elsewhere. There’s no solid foundations. Wasps have moved three times is it? I’d hazard a guess and say the financial situation in club RU is more perilous than RL.
  7. 100% agree with the subs issue. Not quite so sure how bad it is in RL (according to Mark Evans it’s not too bad as almost all the players look tired at the end) but in RU it’s a farce. I’m sure most have seen the routine in RU with 50 minutes played at least four fresh 18 stone plus blokes with necks thicker than their heads enter the field en masse ready to finish off those who are knackered. Not only is this adding extra danger to the collisions, it means players can carry around extra bulk knowing they only have short stints. Taking out this double whammy will at least be one step forward. So maximum three subs per 80 (maybe make allowances for an extra sub for anyone deliberately taken out). Ultimately the goal has to be to get players down to a normal human size. No matter what rules they come up with, if the players remain as big as they are, in a collision sport, this issue will remain.
  8. It is not the concussions. They do play a part, as the outward manifestation of a distressed brain, but the damage to those brains is constant in a sport like rugby and correlates to the sheer number of blows each brain takes, directly or indirectly, over a prolonged period. “You cannot interpret it any other way,” says Professor Damian Bailey, lead author of the USW study. “You’ve got this noxious, cumulative, recurrent contact that doesn’t actually need to be anywhere near the head, so long as there’s some sort of torsional movement imparted to the brain. And it just builds up over time.” Bailey is the director of the neurovascular research laboratory at USW and works, among other projects, with the European Space Agency on blood flow to the brain of astronauts. He was also a handy scrum-half in his time. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2021/aug/06/rugbys-problems-run-much-deeper-than-concussion-from-the-odd-big-hit Its kidology to say “head impacts are clamped down on so things will be fine”. The sheer size of these blokes, colliding constantly, they accumulate damage. Players colliding in the amateur era was common, but the players looked human then. Add five stone of muscle and you are now a deadly weapon.
  9. Rugby players' brains affected in single season, study suggests Elite rugby players from amateur era 'not plagued by brain problems' 'The likelihood is we are going to see more' - Surgeon's brain injury warning for current players RU is not “much safer”. It’s more dangerous than ever. The players on average weigh four to five stone heavier than the amateur era, making each collision a mini car crash. And those body collisions (not talking head collisions) have a whiplash effect which causes the brain to move inside the skull. Towards the end of the last NRL season Ryan Papenhuyzen was knocked out cold and his head wasn’t touched. Due to the size of the players the hits are now enormous, increasing the danger to player health.
  10. The club game in RU is no more prominent than club RL. I’d say the profile of RL would be slightly higher at club level. Club RU teams invariably make losses. I honestly couldn’t say what channel club RU is on or who the last champions were. RU has the good fortune of the international game being much more established which ultimately bankrolls the sport. This is what separates it from RL.
  11. It might be bad for the purists who get off on watching the bish bash stuff (an enjoyment which I’m not denigrating btw as all tastes are valid), but for others such as myself I hope it means more of the more skilful stuff which I’m in no doubt would raise the profile of the sport. Not one big bruiser has ever been known to joe public, but maybe 6 or 7 players who made eye catching runs/plays were. To paraphrase Garry Schofield, the bruisers do the donkey work, the backs make the plays. Can’t say I’ve ever watched a game of rugby (either code) and reacted to a big hit. Baz and Tez get excited though so it’s their reaction I’d enjoy more than the actual hit. In RU I basically ignored the pack (the much less talented big/wide fellas), which makes it nigh on impossible to watch now as it’s now completely pack dominated...”forwards win games, backs by how many” (backwards onus i feel, it should be the other way round). That Sky Sports News story on Stevie Ward was an eye opener. Hopefully he can make a good recovery as constantly having migraines would be torture.
  12. “SL club’s a steal”. Don’t agree with that. A steal is a bargain. Throwing money away with no return is not a steal. The cost of owning a SL club might be low, but they make nothing back. Anyone looking to own one does it solely for the love of the game. David Hughes for instance, £20 million spent on London and the club are now semi pro. Koukash? His pockets are lighter. The bloke at Huddersfield bankrolling that club to a few thousand spectators rattling around a stadium. From a business point of view it’s madness as they not only make nothing, they don’t increase their brand as owners. What really attracts billionaire owners in football is it’s international profile. Having a domestic profile (however large) is nowhere near enough. Games screened in Dubai for example, a viewer there feels as though they have a stake in a club, and so anyone with money from there feels they are buying into something that’s relevant to Dubai. You see footage of bars there with people wearing different teams jerseys, celebrating/shouting just like anyone living locally to the club. That’s their team every bit as much as the locals. The Premier League might be English, just as the Beatles are English, as Shakespeare is English, but their audience extends far beyond the shores of England. It’s a global entity and the various nationalities of the owners reflect that.
  13. It occurred to me while watching the Ire vs NZ match (tbh it’s rare that I watch RU now, but as it was against NZ i did) that there really is no chance for RL to gain any traction in nations where RU is established (and vice versa with RL, namely Aus). Seeing the scenes at full time, the spot for a collision based game that involves throwing an oval ball backwards is taken. There’s not much of a crossover in interest between them, so the view that “whoever establishes itself first becomes the popular one” that Tony Collins spoke about definitely applies to the rugby codes. They are almost too similar to follow both...one cannot exist where the other exists. They are essentially eating from the same trough. There isn’t the contrast that other sports have with each other so as not to take up the same footprint. Eating from the same trough is what made Wales a RU nation, as they continually beat an England team that had been weakened after the Northern Union was formed and had taken away half the England players. As Tony Collins states, the creation of English RL inadvertently strengthened Welsh RU, giving the Welsh something to celebrate. Had Wales kept losing (which they would have done), they don’t get the same foothold in Wales. In relation to this, what really gives RL no chance is RU’s smallness in that the nations that play RU will always be competitive as so few play it. Nine nations (max) do to any real degree, so automatically your nation is in a quarterfinal of a RUWC (unless you are the odd one out), so it has a national prominence without having to do much. Scotland can just about put out a XV (and rely heavily on two clubs sides to do so), it’s the bare bones of a set up, and yet they can beat the Aussies for the third time in a row. Comparatively speaking the Scottish football team is more talented than their Union team but because they face much sterner and greater number of opposition they struggle to qualify for a tournament never mind be in the quarterfinals of one. Wales are in the same boat...from Rush to Giggs to Bale, they’ve had world class footballers who have never played in a World Cup, yet their Rugby side is in the last eight of a tournament without having to do a thing. This easy (instant) pathway for the RU teams in tournaments means their profile will always be high, it’s nigh on impossible for it to slip. They always sit at the top table in RU as it’s a small table, making it mission impossible for a code that eats from the same trough.
  14. Never had a problem in the Kop, nor the redeveloped main stand, and I expect the redeveloped Anfield road end will also be fine. The main issue with Anfield for rugby league is its never looked right having it played in it. It’s the most iconic club stadium in the country, and the one foreigners want to experience more than any other, but it’s because it’s so iconic as a football stadium, “This is Anfield”, anything else played there looks like trespassing. What makes it famous is its atmosphere, flags, banners, songs etc. You don’t get any of this when rugby league is there. The ground is almost always packed so seeing swathes of empty seats (a more than half empty Kop) for a rugby league game, that’s not Anfield. A less iconic football ground is more receptible to another sport being played in it. Robert Elstone spoke from a football background when talking about Anfield: “On behalf of the Super League clubs, we’re delighted to be taking the Dacia Magic Weekend to one of the most famous stadiums in the world.” What he experienced in football (and his Everton team invariably got a hiding there) cannot be replicated in rugby league. Rugby league has its own identity.
  15. *I wouldn’t agree with him putting RU in as a comparison. Sports are different. They have different characteristics in their gameplay. The difference in popularity is not simply just down to marketing. The two biggest sports on Earth, football and basketball, have barely changed in the fundamentals of their gameplay. Individuals still stand out as before (in football it’s only got even more so with pristine pitches to play on and deliberately taking players out long since penalised). They are continually breaking scoring records (Salah the latest one to do so). The fault with RL I feel is it’s best quality, the running (especially solo runs with dummies etc), that generate the most excitement, number far less than they should. I won’t keep harping on about what I feel needs to change as I’ve said it multiple times as Dunbar rightly points out, but I think RL (and RU even more so) is it’s own worst enemy as it doesn’t showcase its best self. It’s just one example but Rangi Chase being showcased on Sky Sports News after that behind the back pass he pulled off, that type of stuff goes viral. I don’t think I’d ever heard of him until I’d seen that move, which he re-enacted on the news. He elevated himself. Multiply that kind of stuff, solo runs etc. and those players will make themselves known. They need to be given the platform on the field to do that though, as the big names in the distant past were. Chucking some unknown on Question of Sport, that’s not going to change things one iota. What he does on the field will. Lomu had a statue in Madame Tussaud’s as he lit up the field in RU. He’s the last to do so in Union (and will be for the foreseeable as it’s impossible now in the game of giants). He was a money making machine for the whole sport. He was put on posters, adverts etc. his image sold the game, got people tuning in. A draw. Who would either rugby code put on the cover of a video game today? That’s the crux of the whole advertising/marketing issue.
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