Having been involved in a few expansion clubs, I would say a handful of capable voluteers can start a club anywhere, as long as one can coach. They can start a propoerous club and develop community roots.
That is exceedingly rare though.
The other thing that is difficult is working out what will work in each area. If what worked was purely the sport itself, and a rock track over a YouTube video, then we would have overtaken soccer a long time ago. Back when Danish rugby league was working in Copenhagen, they were going for a rather hipster crowd, which fitted as they had money and did not have a filled up market. But again, a few volunteers left and it fell apart. At the moment there is an initiative to bring games to village fates, as the local councils will pay for that and there is not the hipster market in countryside. It is not a model that would work in the UK, just as the UK model would not work in Denmark.
"Informal matches, festivals etc have their place but there becomes a point were people want more and other sports usually easily provide that."
Often, the festival aspect is an after thought. I suggest that where possible, it si easier to bring a game to a crowd rather than a crowd to a game. If your main focus the crowd, things are easier. If you just set up the thing you want them to like and try and make it more palatable with a beer and hot dog stand, of course it will flop and will deserve to.
All to often, we try to recreate what we fell in love with. There was a poster who was convinced that London desperately needed a mass spectator working class sport, because he was from Leigh and did not believe that soccer had filled that niche.
I would suggest that when you describe a proper league, you are slightly falling into that trap. I would suggest a couple of things that might appear daft:
- Do we need a proper league? In soccer the Champions League, World Cup etc all manage without one? We should not assume that success has a certain format.
- Super League is viable as it is a product for a national satellite broadcaster which will pay slightly over the odds for a must have product that will make people pay for a satellite dish. Those days might be coming to an end, and we should be wondering what the future is. I suggest it is more international and perhaps as a second rate product for wealthy cities that do not have top flight sport at the moment (Brussels vs Oslo (or Ealing) in front of 1000 might well be more economically viable that two working class two towns in front of 3000).