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Everything posted by zylya

  1. Be a huge shame if this happens. Despite a lot of comments saying that RL will never take off in the South, the truth is that almost every attempt has either been half-assed or unsupported. When I played in the London Leagues back in the early 2010s there were a load of development officers around making stuff happen. They all got pulled and teams started collapsing. Of the 5/6 teams playing in that League in 2014 I think it was, only 1 of them still exists in any capacity. I think the Southern Conference League is a great idea, but it's so poorly supported by the RFL. The tables they post on Twitter look like someone didn't in Microsoft Word. No branding, nothing to make it seem interesting. Great they they streamed the SCL 2019 Grand Final, but can't just hope for one strong day a year.
  2. You can definitely go too low. I generally don't think discounts are a good way to drum up new business at the best of times - except as very specific, time-limited offers (e.g. have a very cheap game at the start of a season to get people interested, or have an early-bird price). A discounted season ticket doesn't leave you lots of opportunities to make that money back. With that said, I think things like "U16s go free" are a good idea because you're hopefully creating future supporters for your product.
  3. The RFL have been assigned an amount which they can distribute. The understanding, based on this topic, is that they're cutting around £50,000 from League 1. That's a decision, and that's what I'm criticising. Is it a tough decision? Yes - but I disagree with the one they've made and have outlined my reasons. Additionally, SL & RFL haven't done enough to keep the commercial income high - a huge drop in funding can hardly be blamed on the League 1 clubs yet they're facing an 80% reduction on an overall reduction of about 37.5% (£40m - £25m). And even if we take the previous Sky deal as overpriced and this one as more realistic to the value of SL, there's still the real question of why the RFL hasn't done things like develop the international game or create some other source(s) of revenue to fill this gap. The whole "difficult decisions" is a cop out - it's chickens coming home to roost.
  4. It's over-simplistic just to look at players that have taken up the game - what about fans who are watching the Bears each week? Fans who are buying RLWC tickets for the Coventry game? But yes, the opportunity cost is definitely the thing to look at. But of course we're hypothesising, it's a discussion forum. Are you really saying that we can't make any argument unless we have 100% of the stats available to us? How would I even get the figures on who plays RL in the Midlands? Do these figures even exist in a meaningful format? If there was some transparency coming through from the governing body, we might be able to make these calculations more accurately. Based on my opinion of what I see in the game, I see Coventry doing more good work with £50,000 than the 12 Super League clubs, mostly because £50,000 for Cov is a much higher percentage of their budget than £50,000 for the SL clubs. I mean, if you have all these numbers available, and you can demonstrate quite clearly that I'm wrong then I'd happily change my mind. I just don't see how removing £50,000 from Cov (and all the other League 1 clubs for that matter) is going to help the whole game.
  5. I'll take the hit on this for being lazy with my wording. You're right that it's the Super League clubs that made the decision on total funding to the RFL, although it is still the RFL that makes the decision on how to distribute that funding that SL gives them, for example between operations, Championship and League 1 etc so they're not entirely blameless. Especially considering that the RFL haven't done near enough to increase their own commercial revenues. Massively missing the point to hone in on that pedantic issue when there's a much more important discussion going on about where the money would be best spent.
  6. I'm not saying that SOME amateur teams don't do an amazing job getting fixtures played - that's not the issue here and we shouldn't conflate the two. And though Cumbrian clubs in the NCL will often have to play a handful of away games in East Yorks, they'll also have some games that are a lot closer - e.g. other Cumbrian teams. Coventry won't have any close games, no local derbies to create any interest. They'd also be playing against amateur in teams in a league that, IIRC, doesn't allow any payment. They'd be done as a semi-pro outfit.
  7. The point is that the RFL is essentially saying that it's worth potentially ruining a semi-pros club future so that the Super League clubs can share an extra £50,000 a year and everyone's solution is "well we could stick them in an amateur league." I don't get why you guys are so fixated on the amateur leagues - it's not the solution here. I'm sure they're great for the clubs that are in them, but that doesn't make it the best place to put a League 1 club because the RFL can't stick with anything for more than 10 minutes. To take a club that has turned itself semi-pro and say "sorry that we set you up with all this stuff and sorry that you've worked hard to build your club up on that basis - how do you feel about 200+ mile trips every other week for no money instead?" Shambles.
  8. Amazing how people can come into this topic and start throwing around suggestions for an amateur league for Cov to play in like that sorts everything out. A pro/semi-pro club can be in a league with extra travel because they have the funding to do so. An amateur club needs to be in a league that's relatively local because, get this, they don't have the funding for travel and their players aren't getting paid. Believing that you can stick Coventry in an amateur league with round trips of over 200 miles and think that's going to work out is the height of delusion. Creating a situation where they have to take a significant step backwards and do extra work to fulfil fixtures - assuming the opposition even travel for the away games. Absolute madness. As though anyone outside the heartlands would try to build their club towards the pro ranks when they see how easily the RFL will abandon them over £50,000.
  9. TBF they'll probably lean on their academy pretty heavily for this. I mean, yes it takes time for an academy to come to fruition, but it's not like they're starting the academy now. I imagine there's a number of academy players who will be thinking that this could be a chance for them to develop with Championship-level rugby and get themselves in the shop window to be seen by a SL club. Probably see quite a young side next year with some of their current U19s jumping into the squad. Additionally, in Union, there's a number of very decent clubs who are part-time - Richmond in the Championship probably being the highest level example, but also teams like Rosslyn Park, Blackheath etc. When Richmond got back to the Championship after their big relegation when Union turned professional, they deliberately stayed semi-pro (i.e. part time players) and use a lot of players who work in the city - i.e. whose jobs are much better paying than even full-time rugby would be. I imagine the Broncos coaches know a lot of the coaches at these clubs, so they might be able to find some a couple of good players there. A couple of years ago, they ran a trial day for "local" community clubs (although local was as far as Oxford) to help form their reserves grade - in some ways going part-time might open up opportunities for players who could play higher but can't manage a full time schedule. With all that said, I imagine there's going to be at least some short-term pain in this restructure, and possibly some long-term pain as well. Huge shame.
  10. One thing that I really agree with in this article is the idea that geographical expansion of the game and growth in the heartlands have to go hand in hand and can happen simultaneously, rather than being at war with one another.
  11. For the most part, I didn't really feel like any of the questions were answered. I get that sometimes it can be tough because you can't give much detail in this format when matters are ongoing, but it didn't inspire a lot of confidence!
  12. I think the point that we agree on is that RL happening in these places is good and that, should a club like Coventry stop receiving funding then HOPEFULLY (although no guarantees as evidenced by their chairman talking about how disastrous the lack of funding would be for them in the short-term) they can continue as a Rugby League club of some sort, even if that scales back what they can achieve. Your point about the great work of amateur clubs is 100% right and something that we should always be encouraging. But the point that I think maybe we're not agreeing on is that the growth of the game can't JUST happen at a participation level. I'm not necessarily suggesting that Coventry specifically could/would develop into a full-time professional club, which would increase the spread of the game and provide player pathways in new areas, but that pathway needs to exist. If we gut the second and third tiers and clubs go to the wall, what chance does any club have in the future if they don't have a multimillionaire backer? Against a backdrop of reduced funding across the board, where financial backers can pull out and mismanagement can cause a lot of pain to clubs, we should be encouraging clubs that are turning professional in a more sustainable way. For me, the amount of money to fund League 1 as a developing semi-professional competition is small in the big picture, but big for the clubs involved. If necessary, earmark some of that funding to ensure clubs are operating sustainably, but I can't see how a big drop in League 1 funding won't cause significant damage, especially in these non-heartland areas. The game can't just turn into 20 pro clubs and everyone else amateur - it needs to be more than that for the long-term health of the sport.
  13. I mean, they've been launching their schools programme and are creating 3 new junior clubs in the local area. I'm not part of their club so I don't have access to any genuine figures, but based off their profile and messaging it sounds a lot like there are now more people playing RL in Coventry. I don't know if you've been involved in running a club or not yourself, but from my experience, an amateur club is almost always running on extremely limited budgets - having some central funding available seems to have allowed Coventry to help build the community side of their club. Anecdotally on these forums, it sounds like they're receiving more in central funding than they spend on their playing budget, so some of that money is likely spent on building their community work. You're right - Hemel are probably doing better now at growing the whole game than they were in League 1 but that's because exiting League 1 lead to a mindset shift - they decided to rebuild their club as a community club - this was part of their announcement. Essentially, they realised that trying to use players from Dewsbury wasn't sustainable. Coventry, OTOH, seem to have been building towards a sustainable model all along. It's worth noting that when they withdrew from League 1, Hemel mentioned their intention to return to League 1 in 2020 - obviously COVID will have had an impact on that. But it's a red herring either way - Hemel got stronger at their community side because they started focusing on it, nothing to do with funding specifically. A club focusing on its community work will be able to do more with more funding. I don't know what the RFL consider the point of League 1 to be, but for me it should be a breeding ground for clubs making an amateur-to-semi-professional transition. A club like Coventry or Hemel could use it as a chance to take the next step from being a strong community club - so the success will be a combination of playing standards and commercial standards (supporter base, sponsorship revenues etc) with a view to creating sustainable professional clubs. Even if you didn't agree with that as a purpose, it's still not fair to a club in League 1 to slash their funding by as much as 80% without even telling them! The League 1 clubs still haven't even been told what funding they're going to get. How are clubs supposed to plan ahead and recruit, or put in new programmes if they don't know how much money they're going to get? Finally, you can try and pick out an amateur league for them to play in, but as someone pointed out - they would be too good for the Midlands league and any other league is going to have a lot of travel. The fact that it's less travel than League 1 is irrelevant because they currently get funded to travel in League 1. An amateur league wouldn't have that. I don't see how fans of the sport can accept this kind of contraction so easily. "Oh well they could always play in the NW league." Might as well just tell us you don't want a thriving sport and be done with it.
  14. I mean, their Chairman said in an interview that it would be disastrous getting their funding cut. Not suggesting that every club has to be pro or semi-pro, but an amateur club wouldn't necessarily be playing in the same stadium, so fewer people likely to support the team. Playing quality would drop as some players would choose to do other things instead (even local lads who wouldn't move away might decide that it's not worth playing for free). Even if the can survive, do you think the sport of rugby league is likely to have a bigger presence or a smaller presence in Coventry if the League 1 funding is reduced?
  15. Yes this was my point (that others didn't quite grasp) - although obviously best case scenario is that there's a recognition that L1 probably produces quite high value for money given how low its funding is already. No one wants to see clubs going under, but a club like Coventry going under will likely lead to the fall apart of their community programme leaving little, if any, Rugby League going on in the city and could have a knock-on impact in the West Midlands region. There's no one else to pick up the slack.
  16. I'm saying the consequences of losing a club like Coventry is more serious than losing an equivalent League 1 club in the Heartlands in terms of its impact upon the whole game. My point wasn't about Super League clubs - the whole topic has been about Coventry and League 1 funding so I'm not sure how you've made this jump. I also said at the start that I don't want ANY club to fail - my point is that the distribution of money at Champ/L1 has to ensure that clubs don't go out of business ESPECIALLY if they're in an area where there isn't any other Rugby League clubs.
  17. I mean, the previous York club resigned from the RFL in 2002 with a new club formed to enter the league in 2003. Even if you count as continuous history between the two, there was a complete change of management, so not the same entity. It's only really since then that they've built the community profile stuff that we've been talking about. Your point is also irrelevant to the discussion - since the question was would they have survived if they'd had an 80% reduction in funding around that sort of time.
  18. The problem is that survival mode only works if there's a light at the end of the tunnel. For example, clubs going into survival mode due to COVID is fine because we can reasonably assume that, at some point, COVID will end. At the moment, there is no light at the end. The survival strategy is "hope that more money comes in." No one has put forward a plan to increase these revenues, or get more fans into the game. So it's not survival, just slowing down the death. Now, let me be clear - I don't want ANY club to fail. However, if we're getting into the business of chopping of limbs to save the host, then all of the clubs you listed have clubs within a 30 minute drive of them. If they went under, there would still be Rugby League in the areas you describe - so any one of those individual clubs isn't required to keep the game relevant in that area. If Coventry goes under, then there's no club in the area any more at all. The game, as a whole, dies out in that area. Additionally, given that these areas already "have some strength" as you put it, then surely they'll be more resilient to a drop in funding than a club that's out of the heartlands like Coventry? If we need to keep pumping money into these clubs, who have existed for a long time, just for them to survive then how can you claim there's strength there? Coventry has existed as a semi-pro club for 6 years... surely we can agree that a club that has existed for over 60 can take a small hit to ensure the game is moving forward?
  19. TBH I think it's overwhelmingly likely that it'll be Toulouse and Featherstone in the grand final, so at this point it's basically fuel to the fire, stoke up a bit of interest for the neutrals. Think it'll be a cracking game.
  20. Absolutely two good examples of clubs who are reaping the rewards for their investment - hopefully they're both at a stage where they'll survive any funding cuts.
  21. Just posted in the Coventry Bears thread, but it's a huge shame that most of the non-heartlands teams are in Championship and League 1 and will therefore the funding cut will have a huge impact on the growth of the game in the South/Midlands.
  22. Devastating news if it happens. League 1, especially considering that nearly half the teams are outside the heartlands, seems like excellent value for money. Especially if the clubs can push the community game alongside it as Coventry are doing very well. I've said before that RL can't just put down random professional teams - it needs to have a whole ecosystem - so a pro/semi-pro club that people can go and watch, community clubs for kids and adults to play the game themselves, a number of schools playing so that kids are introduced to the sport. It's something that Cov seem to be building well. The crazy thing is that if they keep going with all of this (especially if the RFL invested it in better - a lot of the schools stuff should be under the RFL's remit not Cov Bears') then in 10-15 years you could have a really solid, sustainable professional club that has built its own supporter base and academy/player feed-through system. Not that they'd necessarily be Super League, but could get to a strong, full-time Championship club. Imagine if they could make the same thing happen in several large cities across the midlands and the south - it would make a huge difference in terms of players coming through the game and going on to play for England.
  23. Yes and no. Definitely could be more work done in the heartlands to grow some clubs, but there's a ceiling on how many people are likely to support a particular team. For someone outside of the heartlands, who are they going to support? I don't really follow any of the Super League clubs because they're all so far away from me. Plonking a new pro franchise in XYZ city because of its population isn't the answer, but there's a cap on the growth you can achieve by limiting yourself geographically. I do agree that this cap hasn't been hit yet and may be a good area to focus on, but contracting the leagues just to make TV money go further isn't a growth strategy, it's a damage limitation.
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