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steve oates

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Everything posted by steve oates

  1. This is from when Peacock was unhappy at the demise of Toronto Wolfpack. What Peacock missed was that despite the Wolfpack getting on track in style after a poor start in Superleague , with a thumping win at Huddersfield in the cup, it was David Argyle the Wolfpack owner who decided to pull the plug on them and walked away. A fellow director Livolsi was rightly appalled at the decision.
  2. Not at all true. On leaving the RFU Northern clubs became isolated in Yorkshire and Lancashire, as Soccer made great strides. The rest of the country either stuck with Union or went with Soccer. Trevor Delaney set out all the near 50 welcomed attempts of the League game to expand across the country. What worked against these clubs was isolation, no local players, local fans happy with Union/soccer, lack of investment. London, Sheffield and Newcastle are recent examples. which "factions within the sport" are currently working against these clubs??
  3. Rugby League is stuck on the M62, and we have access to a history of 126 years trying to get off it. The games historians could point to the death of scores of deceased expansion projects...............
  4. “But this is not going to be an overnight thing. This is the long game. We need to grow this sport, first to be able to get it back to the levels it was previously. and then to exceed those levels. That’s not a process that we can make happen in twelve months’ time, so we thought that a twelve-year deal was an appropriate length of time for us to be able to grow the sport to where we want it to be and to give us enough of a horizon to be able to demonstrate that we have earned our return by proving that performance.” I do get League express and have done for decades, so thanks for continuing to fly this flag Martin. For me there is of course the need to maximise revenues for the game as it is now. For me the job at hand is to find the best TV revenues we can. Again IMG would appear ideal to undertake this process for us. Correct me if I am wrong but SKY maximised our TV revenues when the RFL made a whole game deal with SKY at a time BT sport appeared to want to join the biding? Now that deal has come to an end and SKY have no rival bidders, SKY appear to have been taking advantage of this and now pay less money for more content. Surely the way forward therefore is for IMG to look as far and wide as they can to find a TV partner that is prepared to bid against SKY. Surely we need that expertise and results in the here and now?? Instead it appears these consultants have argued that TV revenues can only improve if the game can offer more to TV. That is obvious and had the game taken off and "grown" in such as London, Sheffield Cardiff and Newcastle to the point of having more big clubs to add to Leeds, Hull, St.Helens, Wire and Wigan I'd be sure we would have a much bigger SKY contract or a big BT contract. But this has not happened. The consultants seem to have been smart enough to spot this reality (although nobody needs to be that smart to spot it) and have argued their way into a 12 year contract. I can only hope the fee is "results based" but I can't think for one minute that these consultants really believe they can grow Rugby League against a backdrop of decades of failure to break out of the M62. This isn't like the American sports scene...........
  5. With respect you appear to be way off course here, along with others, believing that IMG have a remit to invest in and grow the game. They don't. And they certainly aren't going to "invest" in Rugby League in the seven places you quote. If you add up the vast amounts of money the various chairman of these clubs had to pay from their own pockets over the years to just survive as professional RL clubs before throwing in the towel. IMG are certainly not going to do that. Their remit is to save the game by reversing the devastating move by SKY to heavily reduce what they pay for Rugby League. This won't involve strengthening once great clubs now on hard times, it is most likely to kill a number of them off. Do we not recall how angry SL bosses were when the RFL took a large sum off their SKY money and gave it to the Championships??? The RFL is no longer calling the shots......
  6. Their "Smartness" is mostly in their ability to maximise TV revenues. Recently we have seen SKY reducing what they want to pay for Superleague, and not committing too far into the future, so the most urgent requirement is to look for new TV revenue streams and maximise that income. IMG certainly fit the bill for that service. Once maximised who actually gets that revenue? Will League one still receive £thousands of pounds? I doubt that, and therefore you may be most likely to see not "growth" at all, but a reduction in the number of clubs, and a remit given to IMG to sell SL and Championship games as far and wide as possible. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "Chasing growth", I take it to mean expanding the footprint of the game. I think we have done this by combining with France, and IMG may be perfect for engineering a French TV deal. So yes we are "Chasing growth" if you mean the growth of TV revenues, and IMG's track record makes their appointment a very good move. If you mean the growth of the actual professional game's structures and geographical reach you may be well off track here?
  7. So what do IMG see that we can't see under our noses? I can't see "significant growth" given that we have been chasing this for years, and after all the initiatives that have seen the game showcased outside the heartlands, we still remain in those heartlands. It's not just Rugby League people who don't want to play anymore, it's also soccer and Union, so the growth won't be the player pool. People are still happy to pay to watch though so the only growth I see may be a growth in TV revenues. And at this point in time with SKY revenues going down, and the big clubs resentful of any such revenues being shared beyond Super League, it's my guess IMG may well be charged with dreaming up a new club structure in which all TV money, which IMG will be expected to maximise, will go to something like the top 14 clubs..... It can't be a coincidence that as SKY drop their interest and contract values Superleague call in the consultants.......
  8. The NRL and the AFL and the NFL are all much bigger and richer sports than the regional M62. Take that into account and the successes of Leeds, Hull, Saints, Bradford, Warrington and Wigan during the Superleague age is pretty good indeed. Winning the RL Challenge cup is a big prize as well and Catalans have won that. So we have "broadened the competition as I'd say half the superleague are capable of, and have won, major trophies.
  9. I remember when Hemel and Skolars were on "Learning curves" quite a long time ago now. I don't think highly inexperienced players learn anything from being hammered and publicly called out by their coach. Let's face the fact that the pro game is stuck with too many clubs and the unthinkable was to jettison the likes of Rochdale Hornets, so the alternative was to create more so called professional clubs to make up a third tier. Nothing ever improved for Hemel, and nothing has improved for the Skolars, nothing has improved for Wales and so why should it improve at Cornwall? Then there is the issue of TV money, and we now see consultants coming in to sort out the games future. For my money the bigger Clubs will stand back and allow these consultants to be the ones to wield the axe, and slimline the game, and take all the flack for closing down the "minnows"......
  10. Come on Mark, both Rugby Union and Rugby League have their own governing bodies and they run a salary cap along with other responsible controls on their respective games.... The FA does absolutely nothing about the top soccer clubs spending as much as they want to around the world. Superleague does a decent job of maintaining an even and competitive as possible league. How come you have got this so wrong?
  11. Ideally enough to be able to pay full salary cap and attract some quality players to provide the best chance of staying up. But also a stay of execution for two years, which I would give Featherstone if their owner plans to invest further when in Superleague. Does he??
  12. I don't think that at all, you appear to have made that up. It's a simple truth that if we could find someone rich enough to pop a million or two a year into Bradford and Widnes this would greatly strengthen Superleague. These are places where they have a culture of Rugby league, watching and playing it going back well over 100 years.....
  13. The solution to this situation which repeats and repeats is P & R every two years. This is a serious option considered by Superleague and Lenegan himself a couple of years back. Ambitious clubs with money find it a challenge they can overcome getting out of the Championship, but then they end up last in the queue for new players just when they are needed the most. Essentially failing SL clubs are given an advantage and ambitious Championship clubs who have won through to SL a handicap, and there is a way it can be stopped and IMHO should be.......
  14. You say expansion is needed. Expansion requires a very big investment, the last one being $30,000,000 at Toronto Wolfpack. In the final analysis there was no return on the $30,000,000 spent on the far away outpost. If anyone mega rich wants to put money in then it needs to go in where there would be a return. Ideally we want rich business people to be picking up existing clubs especially the likes of Widnes and Bradford Bulls........ This would give the best chance of a significant real life boost to the game, it would get more people playing in Bradford and Widnes again at junior and then academy level, and get back the sort of players they used to develop and get a return of the crowds they had in years gone by. Expansion is needed where there can be a real life return. That's along the M62.
  15. History surprisingly tells us a lot about the present. What you don’t take into account is the game of Rugby League was born of a breakaway from Rugby Union in 1896 and the attempts to expand the game as it stood, and the League game as it developed, was always about winning the hearts and minds of a small minority of people who favoured the oval ball game. At that time the round ball game was murdering the oval ball game whether the Toff’s Union version, or the northern working class’s Northern Union aka Rugby League. Both codes of Rugby needed to survive the soccer onslaught. Union did this by building an infrastructure of amateur clubs aimed at maximising participation particularly in upper class schools and in wealthy areas. Both Soccer and RU grew into major national sports and pretty much destroyed any opportunity beyond the breakaway Yorkshire and Lancashire heartland, for the League game to grow. Expansionists fail to grasp the history, and the current reality that all three codes have lost a major part of their playing base, hitting League the hardest. In south Wales there are professional Soccer clubs, and Professional RU clubs of note, and no real interest in League anymore despite this being the one area outside the M62 that once upon a time turned their backs on the Rugby Union for League for a short time. Expansionists fail to grasp that most people don’t even really want to invest in or play Rugby League even in Sheffield, Bolton, Doncaster, Liverpool, and Manchester, all northern working class places next door and in between the RL heartlands. The simple reality is that if I ran the RFL and has £10,000,000 to spend on the grass roots I would spend every penny on supporting and building what RL infrastructure we already have now. Money every real RL club from Juniors to Superleague in the here and now wants, needs, and can use every single penny to good effect. How ridiculous to waste it anywhere where they don’t play RL, haven’t wanted to play it, and never will……
  16. The "Millions and Millions" return was supposedly going to come from North American Television but that could only really have come if rich American investors and quality American players had got on board. None did. Mr. Argyle delivered the investment, Mr.Rowley delivered the team and Mr. Perez delivered the "sell" and we should thank them very much for that, they gave it a real good go and I'm thankful they did. It was a great idea and a massive opportunity for us to really give expansion a go which we all want. At one point there was a chance Argyle may have based himself in London, a Rich London side would have been some consolation.......
  17. Indeed, but I would respectfully say that this is down to the 1896 breakaway from the Rugby Union. Those that broke away thought money would be a key to taking the game forward against the growth of soccer with other clubs flocking to join it with the Yorkshire and Lancashire clubs. There may be some paralels here but I'm no Collins or Delaney.......
  18. Steady on Eddie, the reality was probably that North Americans whether rich sports investors or rich sports TV channels, or talented footy players were not going to support or follow the Wolfpack, whose owner admitted he'd invested $30,000,000 for no return. Mr. Argyle kindly did that because he and Mr. Perez felt Americans would take the game up, invest in it and flock to watch it on TV. In short they gave it a really good go and even though the $30,000,000 cost was nothing to Mr. Argyle, a multi-Billionaire, it was time to evaluate once in SL with COVID arriving where the Wolfpack were going, and that was back down to the Championship which would hardly inspire any potential North American serious investors. Great dream, but those opening matches in SL fielding average and past it English players, and a very past it SBW didn't inspire anyone to financially get on board here either.
  19. This for me is the best post (worst one with respect being the idea London kids will travel north to join academies as it's just like going to Uni, which it is not - any southern kid would be isolated) of the discussion. Obviously you have the "authority" to make your statement above. Other issues include club TV funding. IIRC we were worried that small clubs would lose significant funding, but in the end they received SKY money and they carried on - for now. The the question remains will they receive it next time? Indeed, what are they doing to earn any such future monies? Shipping in 120 points between them probably says "nothing much", whilst for me the drop in private investment by Hughes and McNeil who has announced he is stepping "away" are also indicators that 2004 may be a significant re-set for the game, and personally I don't see three divisions.
  20. I've read that there have been 10 "elite" academy licenses awarded and that London Broncos actually have one of the ten places. First two games were heavy defeats so the RFL seem keen to continue promoting the best of London youth.....
  21. Three great players of course, but the London RL scene and and London Broncos was in those days far more vibrant proposition than it is now. As it stands now Broncos are heading for League One.... So what will RL in London have to offer players like these three players then?
  22. I'm coming from it from a point of view as to where would limited and precious development money be "best spent"? Any London lad who takes to league doesn't really have anywhere to go, any young lad in Wigan, Leeds and Hull has a clear pathway to the top. Money is in very short supply and so it has to go where the best returns are.
  23. There will be no future for Rugby League if all of our very limited development funds are not spent on shoring up the game in the north. Sale RU went professional and Leeds RU went professional as well. Many schools across the M62 don't play league they play union. Union clubs along the M62 also run junior sides. There's a tough battle going on every week between Union and league across the M62 which you with, respect, seem to miss completely. Imagine if we spent all the development money we had on London what would happen to the game in Yorkshire and Lancashire?
  24. The RFL can make statements all day, but we should remember how the RFL was decimated a few years back when redundancies were made in heavy numbers, and they cleared out of Red Hall. Development officers are also a thing of the past due to the lack of funding so sadly - very sadly - the reality is that London "cannot be done" Football doesn't come into it, the battle has always been between Rugby Union (which is king of Rugby in London) and Rugby League. I can remember back in the 1990's there was a stand alone Southern ARL and there is one now that appears to contain Hammersmith, Brixton and the London Chargers? Nothing is being done because there is nobody to do it, and no money to do it with, and even if there was some development money available would you spend that on London or would you spend that along the M62??. Which would you do?
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