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Have we made a crazy decision with the TV deals?

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There's no FTA market in UK. The channels are not interested in weekly live sport. They prefer events or highlights which we already get

How can you be sure of that? They where never asked.

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How can you be sure of that? They where never asked.

If there was any sporting market there would be some weekly presence on BBC or ITV. There's nothing barring highlight shows or events such as Wimbledon. What programmes would they give up to show SL?

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Don't know. This is the answer you would have expected.

At the time I could not understand why expressions of interest where not sought. BT, Virgin, C4, ITV, C5.

Maybe the NRL is a poor comparison but it shows what you can do when you get a few hats in the ring.

No I wasnt being disegenious mate but if you are sayingvSky's investment of £200m is too low then I was interested in what number you think is right.

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It is really easy to assume that the rfl did poorly and didnt ask anyone and got shafted by sky, but in reality we just dont know.

What we can piece together though is what history has told us. Firstly whilst rl fans think that nobody else has shown rl because the rfl hasnt asked them, i suspect thatvisnt true. We have had various different people involved over the years including outsiders, Richard Lewis, Brian Barwick, IMG all involved in the tv deals and every one has been dismissed as terrible by fans. Even when Sky increase their investment from £90m to £200m over 5 years the rfl are ripped to pieces.

People need to stop banging on about the nrl and the terrestrial market, they are not relevant to looking for a partner to show 100 games a year. The BBC wont even show sls nationally properly - this is the kind of thing we are up against.

We just havent had massivr demand for our club game, even when itv sport, setanta, espn etc were knocking around, just like the bbc havent had competition for the cup or internationals from the likes of C5, C4 or ITV, but that doesnt stop people saying we should have gone with them.

Im not convinced rl fans will ever turn round and say that was a good deal and tge rfl did well. The investment from Sky in rl has more than doubled and SL central funding improved by 63%, they are paying over the odds value wise for the longevity of the deal. Whilst Koukash and Lenegan were voval about the deal, people ignore McManus and Barwick being extremely positive about it.

Finally, if a partner came and aggressively offered a massive increase in return for tying yourselves to them long term - would you take it? Maybe that number started at £120m, maybe the rfl were aggressive with sky and said you give us £200m and we stay - people keep saying we did not use BT as a bargaining tool - well why on earth dod sky go from £90m over 5 years to £200m?

People keep saying BT would ahave paid more but in 1995 we signed an 87m deal and the last deal was still at the same level incredibly. The new deal is the first real genuine increase in value and that still isnt good enough.

Im not sure exactly what people want, other than to bash the rfl.

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Dave, all what you say is reasonable and may well be the truth. But... you don't then tell everyone affected that they have 24 hours to make up their minds. I'm no businessman but when you have an important decision, ie move house, change job etc you have to sit down and consider things. Otherwise you might end up regretting your choice. It just comes across as a bit rushed, rightly or wrongly.

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It is really easy to assume that the rfl did poorly and didnt ask anyone and got shafted by sky, but in reality we just dont know.

What we can piece together though is what history has told us. Firstly whilst rl fans think that nobody else has shown rl because the rfl hasnt asked them, i suspect thatvisnt true. We have had various different people involved over the years including outsiders, Richard Lewis, Brian Barwick, IMG all involved in the tv deals and every one has been dismissed as terrible by fans. Even when Sky increase their investment from £90m to £200m over 5 years the rfl are ripped to pieces.

People need to stop banging on about the nrl and the terrestrial market, they are not relevant to looking for a partner to show 100 games a year. The BBC wont even show sls nationally properly - this is the kind of thing we are up against.

We just havent had massivr demand for our club game, even when itv sport, setanta, espn etc were knocking around, just like the bbc havent had competition for the cup or internationals from the likes of C5, C4 or ITV, but that doesnt stop people saying we should have gone with them.

Im not convinced rl fans will ever turn round and say that was a good deal and tge rfl did well. The investment from Sky in rl has more than doubled and SL central funding improved by 63%, they are paying over the odds value wise for the longevity of the deal. Whilst Koukash and Lenegan were voval about the deal, people ignore McManus and Barwick being extremely positive about it.

Finally, if a partner came and aggressively offered a massive increase in return for tying yourselves to them long term - would you take it? Maybe that number started at £120m, maybe the rfl were aggressive with sky and said you give us £200m and we stay - people keep saying we did not use BT as a bargaining tool - well why on earth dod sky go from £90m over 5 years to £200m?

People keep saying BT would ahave paid more but in 1995 we signed an 87m deal and the last deal was still at the same level incredibly. The new deal is the first real genuine increase in value and that still isnt good enough.

Im not sure exactly what people want, other than to bash the rfl.

 

I suggest that what people want is to be sure that the RFL negotiated with all interested or potentially interested parties, and that the deal on offer was the best possible outcome for the sport. Reports that it was railroaded through without giving the clubs (bar one) time to consider it, and that other parties hadn't been given sufficient opportunity to express an interest don't give me confidence that this is the case. Accepting a contract because "it seems decent" is the kind of forelock tugging gratitude that is, unfortunately, the hallmark of Rugby League.

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What was the thinking behind a group of SL clubs, led by so called business men, locking the game away from open market bidding for so long?

 

£68,000,000 debt, clubs collapsing and finding out BT didn't want to bid so even the best businessmen in the world cant dictate terms when there is only one buyer......

 

Only Koukash held out in the end but who knows where he thought he could go when it was probably take it or leave it? 

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Dave, all what you say is reasonable and may well be the truth. But... you don't then tell everyone affected that they have 24 hours to make up their minds. I'm no businessman but when you have an important decision, ie move house, change job etc you have to sit down and consider things. Otherwise you might end up regretting your choice. It just comes across as a bit rushed, rightly or wrongly.

I get that, but in business sometimes these things happen. Ultimatums are tabled - don't forget that the RFL are empowered to negotiate the rights, and if there is a deadline looming the RFL HAVE to put that in front of the clubs. 

 

If the decision was "take £200m in the next 24hrs or we offer £95m at the next round of bidding" - what would your choice be?

 

The clubs were well within their rights to decline this and gamble and go for the regular negotiations, but they didn't vote for that. Do people want the RFL to not put that offer to the clubs who get final say?

 

If the 24hr thing was such an issue here surely the clubs should have pushed back, rather than sign it, bank the money and then still criticise the RFL.

 

Nobody was forced to do anything.

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I suggest that what people want is to be sure that the RFL negotiated with all interested or potentially interested parties, and that the deal on offer was the best possible outcome for the sport. Reports that it was railroaded through without giving the clubs (bar one) time to consider it, and that other parties hadn't been given sufficient opportunity to express an interest don't give me confidence that this is the case. Accepting a contract because "it seems decent" is the kind of forelock tugging gratitude that is, unfortunately, the hallmark of Rugby League.

Depends how you want to spin it. 

 

The RFL and those involved in the negotiations will have an idea of the value they are looking for, but let's break it down:

 

Current Deal vs New Deal

SL Rights - £90m (5 yrs) vs £147m (5yrs) - 63% uplift

Championship Rights - £0m (0 years) vs £16.4m (5 yrs) - £16.4m uplift

Total league rights - £90m (5yrs) vs £163.4m (5 yrs) - 82% uplift

 

In itself, by any measure, that should be seen as a successful TV rights negotiation. In 20 years we have seen pretty much no growth in TV right value - suddenly we have seen an 82% uplift.

 

We should then also welcome the additional £17.8m that is to be invested in Club's charities and Foundations - that gets overlooked, but is an unprecedented investment by a commercial partner.

 

I cannot comment on the £20m for Cup and Internationals as I don't have any numbers to compare.

 

We also have an established long term partner, who regularly deliver higher figures than the competition.

 

Had the new deal been worth only a modest increase, I would absolutely agree with you, but sometimes a great deal comes along where you are offered way more than your market value - this would appear to be one of those times.

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Bad management is a factor if as it seems the RFL were nor prepared.  Yes, it was all done in a hurry, little preparation or time to think, panic, all the things said. That together with the desperate need for money made it easy for Sky and ended up a bad deal. Although good in one sense that it rescued some teams.

 

I say bad management because when I was in business (retired now) I would have sacked those that put me in such a position, why because:

 

Contingency planning or risk management is always a key priority.  I can not think of anything of a higher importance financially than the TV deal.  Thus I would always ensure a constant review and ensure expertise in what is happening across the media world.

 

Then if I end up excepting a deal offered I at least could relate it to whatever our preparations, research, dialogues with others and constant reviews told us. Then no need for spin because I'd have known the marketplace in detail having had plenty of research and dialogue with the industry.

Edited by redjonn

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I get that, but in business sometimes these things happen. Ultimatums are tabled - don't forget that the RFL are empowered to negotiate the rights, and if there is a deadline looming the RFL HAVE to put that in front of the clubs.

If the decision was "take £200m in the next 24hrs or we offer £95m at the next round of bidding" - what would your choice be?

The clubs were well within their rights to decline this and gamble and go for the regular negotiations, but they didn't vote for that. Do people want the RFL to not put that offer to the clubs who get final say?

If the 24hr thing was such an issue here surely the clubs should have pushed back, rather than sign it, bank the money and then still criticise the RFL.

Nobody was forced to do anything.

I've known bands (as in personally) who have accepted record deals because of the label or there was a pile of cash on the table. I can't think of anyone who benefitted in the end except perhaps one or two individuals who got a flash guitar or drumkit or maybe got to play at the Marquee.

That's because they had poor management or none at all.

So what looks good today, might be a crock of shoe shine next week. Just saying like

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I've known bands (as in personally) who have accepted record deals because of the label or there was a pile of cash on the table. I can't think of anyone who benefitted in the end except perhaps one or two individuals who got a flash guitar or drumkit or maybe got to play at the Marquee.

That's because they had poor management or none at all.

So what looks good today, might be a crock of shoe shine next week. Just saying like

Indeed, however we can learn from history, experience should tell us that doubling the income is probably a very sound move.

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If SKY did indeed approach the RFL with a take it or leave it type offer, what does that say about the relationship between the RFL and SKY? or indeed how they view us as a partner?

This also happened previously when the RFL tried to play hardball and ended up accepting a lower offer than originally offered (if memory serves me correct).

 

Also what is IMG's role in all this? i'm sure i read somewhere recently that the RFL sold the rights to IMG, who then in turn sought out a deal with SKY.. how such an arrangement would work exactly im not sure.

You would like to think the people in charge of the game would have been doing everything possible to interest other TV networks, the emergence of BT Sport as a genuine contender to SKY should have sent the RFL execs running for the phone to invite them down to our show piece events such as the GF and Magic weekend, and not just BT Sport, Channel 4, ITV et al should have been targeted also.

We've got a number of years now till the next contract is up, so in that time every effort should be being made to make the game an attractive option for all those other TV networks.


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I get that, but in business sometimes these things happen. Ultimatums are tabled - don't forget that the RFL are empowered to negotiate the rights, and if there is a deadline looming the RFL HAVE to put that in front of the clubs.

If the decision was "take £200m in the next 24hrs or we offer £95m at the next round of bidding" - what would your choice be?

The clubs were well within their rights to decline this and gamble and go for the regular negotiations, but they didn't vote for that. Do people want the RFL to not put that offer to the clubs who get final say?

If the 24hr thing was such an issue here surely the clubs should have pushed back, rather than sign it, bank the money and then still criticise the RFL.

Nobody was forced to do anything.

The fact that Leneghan said he had been coerced, signed, thought about it overnight and then, realising what he'd done and launched a press release tells me he was concerned and that the deal wasn't what it should have been or what he expected. Seems obvious there was an ultimatum IMO. The 'coerced' bit bugs me.

No matter what the value of the deal was, to meet at short notice and commit fully isn't good business. I've never known it once and have been involved in deals that dwarf this. NC may be ruthless but there is always a way to negotiate. But as people say, it may have been negotiated. I am sceptical about that.

Again, the desperation to sign it off, to me, shows the financial state of the clubs hasn't moved on that far from the initial contract, which more or less saved many clubs.

Not having a pop at the RFL, it was the Clubs decision and democratically agreed but we need to look at key negotiotation stages (WC, 4N type tournaments), in the future, where the games profile is higher and success puts us in a better position.

Edited by Lowdesert

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Bad management is a factor if as it seems the RFL were nor prepared.  Yes, it was all done in a hurry, little preparation or time to think, panic, all the things said. That together with the desperate need for money made it easy for Sky and ended up a bad deal. Although good in one sense that it rescued some teams.

 

I say bad management because when I was in business (retired now) I would have sacked those that put me in such a position, why because:

 

Contingency planning or risk management is always a key priority.  I can not think of anything of a higher importance financially than the TV deal.  Thus I would always ensure a constant review and ensure expertise in what is happening across the media world.

 

Then if I end up excepting a deal offered I at least could relate it to whatever our preparations, research, dialogues with others and constant reviews told us. Then no need for spin because I'd have known the marketplace in detail having had plenty of research and dialogue with the industry.

But what makes you think that the RFL don't know all of these things?

 

Sometimes opportunities come up in life that outweighs all the planning above.

 

Don't forget, all the RFL are guilty of here is putting the Sky offer to the clubs.

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But what makes you think that the RFL don't know all of these things?

 

Sometimes opportunities come up in life that outweighs all the planning above.

 

Don't forget, all the RFL are guilty of here is putting the Sky offer to the clubs.

RFL may do Dave, but take the TV deal away and our game has a mountain to climb. Wood should definitely know, he's an accountant. Got to spread the risk.

From memory, I think MUFC landed a deal around the same time with Nike. It was around £70m a year (someone correct me if wrong). We need to get involved with big hitters like these. Maybe the Toronto thing will open media avenues.

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1 - The fact that Leneghan said he had been coerced, signed, thought about it overnight and then, realising what he'd done and launched a press release tells me he was concerned and that the deal wasn't what it should have been or what he expected. Seems obvious there was an ultimatum IMO. The 'coerced' bit bugs me.

2 - No matter what the value of the deal was, to meet at short notice and commit fully isn't good business. I've never known it once and have been involved in deals that dwarf this. NC may be ruthless but there is always a way to negotiate. But as people say, it may have been negotiated. I am sceptical about that.

3 - Again, the desperation to sign it off, to me, shows the financial state of the clubs hasn't moved on that far from the initial contract, which more or less saved many clubs.

4 - Not having a pop at the RFL, it was the Clubs decision and democratically agreed but we need to look at key negotiotation stages (WC, 4N type tournaments), in the future, where the games profile is higher and success puts us in a better position.

 

1 - Smartly, Lenegan was vague enough to kick the RFL whilst banking the massive increased cheques, getting the benefit whilst keeping up the illusion that the RFL are terrible and any ills of the game do not lie at the door of the clubs. Maybe questions should be asked of Koukash and Lenegan why their commercial performance at their clubs is pathetic compared to RU competitors locally for example. If RL is such an easy sell, why are the blue chip sponsors not queueing to join these clubs?

Again, you are putting a lot of credibility in Lenegan's soundbite, ignoring the vote where everyone apart from Koukash said yes and are happily banking the cheques. Let's start quoting McManus for balance maybe?

 

2 - Don't forget that the RFL and/or their agencies have the role of brokering a deal. This is what they did. Those conversations will have gone on for a while - I suggest that the SL clubs if they are unhappy should take back negotiating power, it was so successful last time they did this. In effect the clubs were there to ratify the deal agreed between Sky and the RFL.

 

3 - you say desperation, maybe it was simply that this deal dwarfed anything ever tabled for the sport in this country, and far higher than expectations of the clubs apart from Koukash. It is very easy to see that this deal has all sorts of sweeteners included to encourage the long term element of the deal.

 

4 - I'm not trying to just blindly defend the RFL, I have been very critical of them on other matters, and I think the World Cup rights deal of Premier Sports is quite simply embarrassing, but that was handled by TV Right world leaders IMG.

 

Maybe, RL just isn't as attractive as we like to believe.

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RFL may do Dave, but take the TV deal away and our game has a mountain to climb. Wood should definitely know, he's an accountant. Got to spread the risk.

From memory, I think MUFC landed a deal around the same time with Nike. It was around £70m a year (someone correct me if wrong). We need to get involved with big hitters like these. Maybe the Toronto thing will open media avenues.

 

I'm keen that we level that challenge to the likes of Ian Lenegan and Marwan Koukash as much as we do the RFL.

 

The financial performance of the RFL has been far better than the vast majority of RL clubs.

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I'm keen that we level that challenge to the likes of Ian Lenegan and Marwan Koukash as much as we do the RFL.

 

The financial performance of the RFL has been far better than the vast majority of RL clubs.

Yes no one should be exempt from a bit of sensible scrutiny!


"It is, by a million miles, a better sport than union. League is 80 minutes of physicality, speed, good handling, good kicking. It’s continuous."

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The fact is though Dave, we're all arguing about supposition and what we think might have gone on. And while I don't expect them to reveal the minutes of the meeting on here, I would imagine if it was a case of 'Sky have beaten off stiff opposition from BT to get the new SL contract' they'd have presented it as such. The fact that they rushed it through doesn't seem to suggest that it was a well thought out plan. But I'm also willing to accept what you say could be true....it just doesn't seem it to me.

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The fact is though Dave, we're all arguing about supposition and what we think might have gone on. And while I don't expect them to reveal the minutes of the meeting on here, I would imagine if it was a case of 'Sky have beaten off stiff opposition from BT to get the new SL contract' they'd have presented it as such. The fact that they rushed it through doesn't seem to suggest that it was a well thought out plan. But I'm also willing to accept what you say could be true....it just doesn't seem it to me.

taking any guesswork out of it and just looking atvthe facts, the rfl delivered an absolutely huge increase in investment in the game at all levels from their broadcasting partner. Personally im not too precious how they went about that in the cut-throat world of sports tv rights.

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The fact is though Dave, we're all arguing about supposition and what we think might have gone on. And while I don't expect them to reveal the minutes of the meeting on here, I would imagine if it was a case of 'Sky have beaten off stiff opposition from BT to get the new SL contract' they'd have presented it as such. The fact that they rushed it through doesn't seem to suggest that it was a well thought out plan. But I'm also willing to accept what you say could be true....it just doesn't seem it to me.

in that point, as tgey have never positioned it tgat way before then can we assume that nobody else has ever bid for rl rights?

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1 - Smartly, Lenegan was vague enough to kick the RFL whilst banking the massive increased cheques, getting the benefit whilst keeping up the illusion that the RFL are terrible and any ills of the game do not lie at the door of the clubs. Maybe questions should be asked of Koukash and Lenegan why their commercial performance at their clubs is pathetic compared to RU competitors locally for example. If RL is such an easy sell, why are the blue chip sponsors not queueing to join these clubs?

Again, you are putting a lot of credibility in Lenegan's soundbite, ignoring the vote where everyone apart from Koukash said yes and are happily banking the cheques. Let's start quoting McManus for balance maybe?

 

 

3 - you say desperation, maybe it was simply that this deal dwarfed anything ever tabled for the sport in this country, and far higher than expectations of the clubs apart from Koukash. It is very easy to see that this deal has all sorts of sweeteners included to encourage the long term element of the deal.

 

Maybe, RL just isn't as attractive as we like to believe.

Are you saying that Lenegans statement wasn't credible? It was in several newspapers with plenty of opportunity for a response from the RFL or any Clubs and was damning. A response could have proved things were done in a fit and proper manner and the deal was the best they could get. But no response.

Both Lenegan and Koukash spoke out about it and you rightly say why no McManus sentiment. I can only assume he was happy, but can also assume that he might not have been, whilst banking the cheque for the club. What did McManus say?

Finding out the 'attraction' is what the commercial departments of RFL and Clubs need to find out. IMO they need to think bigger.

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Are you saying that Lenegans statement wasn't credible? It was in several newspapers with plenty of opportunity for a response from the RFL or any Clubs and was damning. A response could have proved things were done in a fit and proper manner and the deal was the best they could get. But no response.

Both Lenegan and Koukash spoke out about it and you rightly say why no McManus sentiment. I can only assume he was happy, but can also assume that he might not have been, whilst banking the cheque for the club. What did McManus say?

Finding out the 'attraction' is what the commercial departments of RFL and Clubs need to find out. IMO they need to think bigger.

McManus was delighted with the deal and felt it would mean all SL clubs could manage financially.

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