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The British Lion

How Can Super League (aka Elstone) Help Struggling Clubs In Super League?

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Hey all,

I make no secret as an expansionist enthusiast, that I am excited and hopeful that the RFL and SL will do great due diligence, and all being well, see the admittance (through the proper promotion channels) Toronto, and Toulouse.....and who knows beyond that....Ottawa, Montreal, New York (Although my own jury is out on that bid currently).

I have re-assessed my thinking in terms of clubs who just don't seem to be puling in the crowds, or adding anything to SL (in my opinion).

Hope I don't take a flacking!

1st - Huddersfield - yes they produced a great performance on the field, but how can the game or club help to attract more fans?

2nd - Salford - Again producing great performances (and my 2nd favoured team, having lived there for a few years) I really hoped when Koukash came in and the move to the new stadium, their future would kick on. Now it seems they live in a stadium which Sale Sharks have more visability with (fly over the M60 and you'll see the branding, a few thousand very loyal fans, and literally being ran as a community club, losing their best prospect players to others) Now seemingly the coach looking to go elsewhere...... HOW does the game assist these clubs, what would you do?

3rd - London - I LOVE the fact London are in SL again - but will I visit Ealing? Im sorry, no. It just doesn't scream excitement to me (and if it doesn't me, then it won't attract en masse the newbie)

4th - Wakefield - Again, great performing team, who wouldn't want David Fifita in their team?! Chris Chester doing a great job. But are they ever going to attract a crowd bigger than they have?

Then there's the likes of Widnes, Bradford, and Leigh who have always had potential but never quite got there....

Please don't shoot me down for highlighting your club - I want them to do well, as Im sure other RL fans do.

How does the game help your club to the next level?

Is it all in a 'name' of a town? Is it really about 'big city' clubs?

When I think about Warrington, my own club. The Wilderspool days (I started watching in the early 90's as a kid) seeing them go from near distinction and a merger with Widnes, to where we are now....(ok, it's always our year) but the crowds have drastically improved. New stadium - and one which we earn revenue from, that's hugely important. If Moran was to withdraw his funding of the club im not sure how we would fare. The population of Warrington is 220,000 - so crowds of 10,000 - theres still a huge deal of people to reach for!

I guess my question is - what criteria is needed to help clubs struggling to be exciting, and profitable clubs who add value to the SL?

Is it purely down to the club? Or, does SL now have a responsibility to help bring them up? What would you do?

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What clubs are profitable? Without Moran You wouldn’t have Widdup next season.

SL is the product being sold. Moran will invest in Widdup to stick bums on seats.

Not hard is it this marketing lark. 

Edited by SL17

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Cross their fingers that the so called "bigger" clubs don't all go the way Leeds are heading, into championship.

In the first instance and apart from money men the desperate need for TV monies to help the worst of the struggling clubs in particular.  Hence the need of the likes of Leeds, Wigan, Saints to be part of any package they pay for, to maximise the monies paid.

With a salary cap so low to help the struggling clubs, the relative richer clubs can't use their funds to bring in, or at least keep for longer the type of players to light up the sport.  That may focus more media attention, have the likes of Sky pay higher amounts, attract more sponsorship,  attract more bums on seats, etc,,,.

Edited by redjonn

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18 minutes ago, Teessidewire said:

Bradford never quite made it? Bradford were doing extremely well and still would be had it not been for the Iestyn Harris affair. 

It wasn't just the Iestyn Harris affair though, that was just one factor but they had already overextended themselves.

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Tough love is required sadly - and I include Castleford in that. If you want to play at the elite level, and want to be an elite club, you cannot just spend £1.9m central handout to build a team and a coach. You need to build a club, a fan base, facilities etc. You also need a club that adds commercial value to SL trying to sell its brand and broadcast rights. 

Some of these clubs exist in SL because there are no stronger options out there. What happens if stronger options start knocking on the door on a regular basis? There is no reason why Castleford and Wakefield cannot be on par with Saints and Warrington in terms of facilities and commercial income. Their hand needs to be forced or they will always push plans into the long grass for another few years. I cannot believe Cas still use the ###### changing rooms I used as an u14 - thirty years ago. Ridiculous.

Edited by Scubby
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Super League shouldn't be helping any club.

It's a club's responsibility to use it's available funding to put a team out, build a fan base and provide adequate facilities.

RL is arguably in the strongest position it's been in for years.  Thanks to having a strong 2nd division, there are plenty of teams knocking on the door ready to take the weaker club's places and move the game forward.

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SL can help all clubs by making the league much more visible. Quite simple. The knock on effect would be greater opportunities to make money for all clubs.

Easy answer, extremely difficult to implement in reality.

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3 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

That poses the question though, does the visibility of the league drive the opportunities for the clubs, or does the visibility of the clubs drive the opportunities for the league? 

Or is it a bit of both with them feeding in to each other, that would be my thought. So we need to grow the league to grow the clubs and grow the clubs to grow the league. 

It does, though i'd suggest slightly more 'league' than 'club' at the monet. As an example, if you look at the premier league, we see traditionally small clubs able to attract big name partners due to the global visibility of the league. It's the visibility of the league that drives that interest.

If SL could gain a greater visibility, a similar effect, in theory, could be created for some of our smaller clubs.

Obviously teams in a major city would add a slightly better look to the league than small towns.


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SL can help clubs by applying pressure on local authorities to use their power and influence with regards to facilities and local infrastructure. Much like the NRL and NFL do in their markets obviously on a bigger scale. 

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2 hours ago, Teessidewire said:

Bradford never quite made it? Bradford were doing extremely well and still would be had it not been for the Iestyn Harris affair. 

Tell me about the Iestyn Harris affair?

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2 hours ago, Teessidewire said:

Bradford never quite made it? Bradford were doing extremely well and still would be had it not been for the Iestyn Harris affair. 

Yeah, if 3 World Club Championships is 'never quite got there', there's no hope for the likes of Warrington or Hull ?

But let's not make (yet) another thread be about Bradford.

The question asked is an interesting one. How to help clubs that seem to be (shall we say) 'underperforming' take it up a notch? I suppose currently that would be Salford, Huddersfield, London,Wakefield, even Castleford - either through ground issues, poor crowds, lack of Academy, or some combination of those things.

It will be interesting to see whether SL follow through on the minimum criteria that was being mentioned at the time of the breakaway last year. And more importantly whether those criteria will be applied to existing SL clubs as well as those who they might wish to keep from the top table?

Edited by paulwalker71

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Pardon me for turning it ito a 'my dad's bigger than your dad' scenario but you state 

Quote

When I think about Warrington, my own club. The Wilderspool days (I started watching in the early 90's as a kid) seeing them go from near distinction and a merger with Widnes, to where we are now....(ok, it's always our year) but the crowds have drastically improved.

Yet you are advocating Huddersfield are a nothing club but surely by using your logic where we HAVE gone bust and almost extinct twice, with crowds in the hundreds in a ground that was condemned more or less and fighting back from the 3rd tier in that same period you started watching your club ( who have always been a top flight club with thousands in attendance)  to becoming League Leaders less than 20 years later with crowds of 6-8000 from 6-800 is more of an achievement and shows that the Huddersfield club has started way behind clubs like Warrington and have been their equal there or thereabouts in recent times ?

I could turn your theory on it's head and say clubs like Huddersfield have achieved more than clubs like Wire since the early 90's simply due to the journey we've had to take.

 

Edited by daz39

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Elstone’s job isn’t to help Super League clubs, though. It’s to build a brand and to build a new television deal that is the best it possibly can be. His job remit isn’t to fill seats at Huddersfield Giants on a Thursday night or to work out where the Salford fans went when they left the Willows. His job isn’t to do the club’s jobs for them. He can certainly give them a rocket about this sort of thing, but he can’t physically do the work for them. 

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10 minutes ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

Elstone’s job isn’t to help Super League clubs, though. It’s to build a brand and to build a new television deal that is the best it possibly can be. His job remit isn’t to fill seats at Huddersfield Giants on a Thursday night or to work out where the Salford fans went when they left the Willows. His job isn’t to do the club’s jobs for them. He can certainly give them a rocket about this sort of thing, but he can’t physically do the work for them. 

Its mutual though isn't it, Elstone needs the clubs to grow SL and the clubs would like SL to grow to grow themselves. The SL does have a role in steering the top flight of the game though that transcends individual clubs though and Elstone has talked about this in terms of creating a uniformity of brand and matchday experience. I can see this being an insistence on stadium quality and on the number of sponsors on shirts for example.

 

 

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The only difference between the lesser SL and the top Championship clubs is the funding.

Swop that over and Huddersfield,Wakefield and Salford would be in dire financial situation as Leigh,Widnes etc.

It seems that to sustain a thriving SL set up requires crowds of 8,000 plus and at the moment only  around 6 clubs can offer that.

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4 hours ago, EastLondonMike said:

It does, though i'd suggest slightly more 'league' than 'club' at the monet. As an example, if you look at the premier league, we see traditionally small clubs able to attract big name partners due to the global visibility of the league. It's the visibility of the league that drives that interest.

If SL could gain a greater visibility, a similar effect, in theory, could be created for some of our smaller clubs.

Obviously teams in a major city would add a slightly better look to the league than small towns.

Interesting regards premier League... In that it was the top clubs that originally drove the value of the Premier League to broadcasters, e.g Sky.  That money then filtered down to the other clubs further enhancing the value of the rights. Now rather than top 4 clubs, at least a top 6 maybe top 8 nowadays.   The further success in Europe of premier league top teams has meant extra income that is shared equally amongst all the clubs. Thus driving the amount of monies even lower clubs are awash with.   On the back of this the championship riding on the back of premier league has a higher commercial value, etc etc..  The quality of the product, in that internationals play in Premier and lower division, is higher helping to maintain overall commercial value.

I guess RL takes a polar opposite approach... restrict the capability of the big clubs to the level of the poorest clubs to try and drive a more competitive league. Thus diminishing the overall commercial value of the sport.

Maybe too simplistic but one to ponder which is best approach to driving up the value and quality of the product over the id to long term.

Edited by redjonn
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2 hours ago, scotchy1 said:

That's just nonsense. It takes far more than sky money to make a successful SL club. As Widnes, Leigh, Bradford, Halifax, workington, Oldham, all found out

It's not nonsense, it's quite a reasonable view. He does also acknowledge that it takes more than just Sky money to run a thriving Super League club.

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2 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

its complete nonsense. 

It takes much more than 'the funding' to create a thriving super league club. Its a damaging outlook that the difference between success and failure is just the money in SL and if we swap them club A would achieve what Club B has. 

Its also incredibly silly when most of those clubs have been in SL and made an absolute clusterfsk of it. 

If you want to argue that the difference between Halifax and Huddersfield is "the funding" I can show you what happened when Halifax got "the funding" and Huddersfield didn't. 

You obviously can't understand or comprehend the post you have a beef about so I've have little inclination in continuing this. Also there is over £1 million difference in funding between when Halifax were in Super League and Huddersfield now, that is huge.

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18 hours ago, The British Lion said:

2. HOW does the game assist these clubs, what would you do?

History tells us the game never has helped, sees help as a weakness and that clubs have not only to fend for themselves but allowed to sink without trace.

There is no evidence to the contrary Kent, Nottingham, Paris, as well as any number of heartland clubs all tell the story.

I doubt if the question is ever raised to be honest.


 

 

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Also everyone seems to forget that in their first SL season the Giants got no money from the TV deal as it had already been spent by PSG...

 

The giants have come from the gutter in the late 80s to top the league table, and increased crowds ten fold. 

They've seen crowd numbers drop in recent seasons, but then fans watch winning sides.

Ultimately though fans want to see sides win, in a competitive league - when we have a league that's dominated by 2 sides, with loop fixtures and Thursday night games, it's tough to sell

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Roughly broken down into areas of responsibility it should go something like this.

SL = National Profile  & Marketing Strategy, UK TV Negotiations, National Sponsorship, Events Marketing and Sales for all SL (Play-Offs, GF & MW), Expansion Strategy , National Development Strategy

Then

Clubs = Local and Regional Profile & Marketing, Events Marketing & Sales for Club, Club Sponsorship, Player Development @ Club and in Community. & Schools.  

Then

Both = Events Marketing and Sales for all SL (Play-Offs, GF & MW). National Profile.

It breaks down to SL has overall responsibility nationally and clubs  responsibility locally. They both though need to be into that some things could work better if all clubs and governing body work together.

The play-offs should be treated as an event with all clubs, even those not in the play-offs, pushing ticket sales encouraging neutral support. For clubs not in the play-offs to buy into it they need a financial reward for tickets sold through the club for a neutral game. This may seem counter intuitive, but neutrals attending cup-semi finals used to be quite normal.

 

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32 minutes ago, GUBRATS said:

It does help if you have a multi millionaire willing to long term tip she'd loads into the club like Mr Davy 

Ken Davey took control of the club some years after the Giants were promoted to the 2nd division, IIRC he wasnt in place long before Superleague began. 

Even then he hasn't always funded up to the full salary cap, Tony Smith only left the Giants for Leeds for example because Ken couldnt guarantee the budget Smith wanted, so while he has been exceptionally generous with his money his biggest contribution has been business sense, something lacking in other clubs.

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9 minutes ago, Ant said:

Ken Davey took control of the club some years after the Giants were promoted to the 2nd division, IIRC he wasnt in place long before Superleague began. 

Even then he hasn't always funded up to the full salary cap, Tony Smith only left the Giants for Leeds for example because Ken couldnt guarantee the budget Smith wanted, so while he has been exceptionally generous with his money his biggest contribution has been business sense, something lacking in other clubs.

I wasn't having a dig at the Giants or Mr Davy , I've a lot of respect for them and him , just a previous poster with the usual nonsense 

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