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Martyn Sadler

Can Ralph Rimmer get Ottawa to the starting gate?

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Very definitely. RL now has a foothold in North America courtesy of the Toronto Wolfpack, this bridgehead will be consolidated in 2021 with the arrival of Ottawa and New York.  The sheer skill and athleticism on display and the speed and excitement of the game will increasingly captivate both onsite and TV spectators in NA so within 5 years or so more local kids will be playing RL than RU and within a decade the game we love will overtake RU as the premier code of rugby for the aforementioned reasons. The naysayers and doubters who seem to have so little confidence in their product that they cannot accept that is has been successfully exported will either embrace the new reality of an international SuperLeague and an international Championship (+L1!!) or continue their moaning in increasingly shrinking numbers. Come to Toronto, come to Ottawa and come to New York - you will be welcomed with open arms!

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I really hope so, a couple of successful Canadian teams could really shake Northern Hemisphere RL out of the doldrums. That said if it does happen I’d say it’s in-spite of the RFL rather than because of them. 

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14 minutes ago, Pudsey said:

Recipe for disaster. If ottawa come in same time as New York.  Clubs cant afford to go over twice in one season 

Can clubs afford not to?

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- Adepto Successu Per Tributum Fuga -

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53 minutes ago, Pudsey said:

Recipe for disaster. If ottawa come in same time as New York.  Clubs cant afford to go over twice in one season 

Ottawa and NY will be paying for their travel. I’d have thought L1 clubs would be wetting their lips at the exposure it would give them, the division would be well in the national spotlight if this ever happens (as opposed to being lucky to get two paragraphs in the local paper). 

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5 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Ottawa and NY will be paying for their travel. I’d have thought L1 clubs would be wetting their lips at the exposure it would give them, the division would be well in the national spotlight if this ever happens (as opposed to being lucky to get two paragraphs in the local paper). 

It’s also approximately 6 days off work (possibly more) for the League One players, that’s 20% of some people’s annual leave, or worse, that’s the self-employed lads’ unable to work and losing wages. 

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7 minutes ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

It’s also approximately 6 days off work (possibly more) for the League One players, that’s 20% of some people’s annual leave, or worse, that’s the self-employed lads’ unable to work and losing wages. 

Straight into the Championship then? Makes sense but is also harsh on the L1 clubs left out of it; I imagine Whitehaven or Workington would get a much bigger crowd when New York rock up than they do vs West Wales. 

Edited by Eddie
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18 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Straight into the Championship then? Makes sense but is also harsh on the L1 clubs left out of it; I imagine Whitehaven or Workington would get a much bigger crowd when New York rock up than they do vs West Wales. 

Whitehaven and Workington are in League One, as are West Wales? 

The Championship is largely part-time too. The point I was trying to make is more that two trips to North America (and possibly a trip to France for those in the Championship) is quite demanding of people’s time. I’d like to think there would be some sort of common sense used to try and work a schedule around this so clubs only had one North American visit but how this would work, I’m not sure. 

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1 minute ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

Whitehaven and Workington are in League One, as are West Wales? 

The Championship is largely part-time too. The point I was trying to make is more that two trips to North America (and possibly a trip to France for those in the Championship) is quite demanding of people’s time. I’d like to think there would be some sort of common sense used to try and work a schedule around this so clubs only had one North American visit but how this would work, I’m not sure. 

Put them straight in SL 

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1 hour ago, Pudsey said:

Recipe for disaster. If ottawa come in same time as New York.  Clubs cant afford to go over twice in one season 

Ottawa and New York, just like Toronto, will pay for their opponents to come over until they reach Super League. 

 

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55 minutes ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

It’s also approximately 6 days off work (possibly more) for the League One players, that’s 20% of some people’s annual leave, or worse, that’s the self-employed lads’ unable to work and losing wages. 

So the RFL should separate the fully professional teams from the part timers. 

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51 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Straight into the Championship then? Makes sense but is also harsh on the L1 clubs left out of it; I imagine Whitehaven or Workington would get a much bigger crowd when New York rock up than they do vs West Wales. 

On the flipside, it's going to be a real challenge for the marketing teams in Ottawa and New York to attract people to come and see teams from places nobody here has ever heard of (like those two) in a sport most people here don't know, so there's pros and cons on both sides. 

Edited by Onieda FC

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1 hour ago, Manx RL said:

Can clubs afford not to?

Teams in the Championship could not afford to go over twice and don't forget there is also a trip to Toulouse in the mix too. It all adds up.

What makes you think that the L1 teams would be able to get close to affording it? Several championship teams went over last year short of a full squad, due to lads being unable to get time off work and visa issues. It is not just the cost of the flights and accommodation, you need to factor in. Some teams had to bus it to Glasgow and back, not cheap, then there is the food bill, 3 meals a day, for the duration of the stay for 18 players plus staff. The clubs also have to find the money to get the staff over, AFAIK the physio's etc are not included in the free flights and accommodation. 

I can't see SL wanting them, without a big tv deal in place. Look at the way Lenaghan was spitting his dummy out over Toronto potentially getting promoted. I'm sure him and his cronies at Saints and Warrington would make sure they don't get in, without some sort of sweetener to make it worth their while.

Edited by DOGFATHER
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Its not about Paying for teams to go across. Part time players need to take time off work-sometimes not possible. Halifax played Toulouse away at Easter. Again one day off for that plus a minimum of 2 Days off for Toronto in many cases. Thats before any days of for injuries. Its great that we have these possibilities. However before any decision is made by the RFL, maybe they should ask the players and Coaching Staff about the realities of asking a Part Time team (Championship and League 1) if this is actually realistic and think of player Welfare. Whilst it would be great to see NT and Ottowa in League or the Championship, is it really practicle? Sadly I dont think so even if Teams Costs are paid for.

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1 hour ago, DOGFATHER said:

 

What makes you think that the L1 teams would be able to get close to affording it? Several championship teams went over last year short of a full squad, due to lads being unable to get time off work and visa issues. It is not just the cost of the flights and accommodation, you need to factor in. Some teams had to bus it to Glasgow and back, not cheap, then there is the food bill, 3 meals a day, for the duration of the stay for 18 players plus staff. The clubs also have to find the money to get the staff over, AFAIK the physio's etc are not included in the free flights and accommodation. 

Food and visas, yes they have to pay. All staff, paid for. 

"Each away team can travel free via Air Transat when they play in Toronto; being able to take a full squad, coaches and ancillary staff."

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3 hours ago, Raumati Rugby said:

In 1978, the NY Cosmos association Football Team attracted over 47k fans as an average for their home games....in 1986, they ceased to exist. There were very few (if any) local players in their squad, but with marketing and promotion, they did attract good paying crowds for a short period of time, before the Audience returned to their staple diet of NFL/NHL/NBL and Baseball......their last season saw them attract 12,000 fans, but even that wasn't enough to survive in the Big Apple.
They had wealthy backers and they were playing the #1 sport on the planet, yet they eventually failed.

The NASL failed because the other teams were run by fly by night operations and carnival barkers. The Cosmos were one of the only stable organizations in the league. Major League Soccer, 20 years later, learned from this and structured their business different. As a result they are the 5th major league and average more fans than the NHL or NBA. Cosmos to Wolfpack is not a good comparison at all. Also, the sports scene in North America has totally changed since 1986.Toronto FC, started in 2007, outdraws by some distance the 144 year old Toronto Argonauts. Unthinkable in 2007. 

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My point is this. Toronto are great but they are not financially viable without their sugar daddies

As would be a few teams in rugby league, no? As well as in other sports. It's a rich man's world. 

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This is their 3rd season and the reality is they will struggle to sell season tickets if punters know they can rock up for free, so at what point does the reality of paying to go to games impact on their "fans"?

This "Toronto just gives out free tickets, all the tickets are free!" conspiracy theory is really something else. Yes, like all teams, some tickets are free. They are not all free, nor are even the majority. C'mon. Putting quotes around the word fans is really something as well.Toronto fans do not expect to "rock up for free" and it's well known they get a good crowd, so head on down while you can. Have you been to Toronto? I have. These are just fans, not "fans." 

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If we have 3 or 4 expansion sides opening in North America, all it is currently doing is diluting the player pool.

The goal is long term. In 15 or so years, you will have Canadians and Americans playing. It is a long term goal. As I've posted here many times, the NHL is the example. The star of the Toronto Maple Leafs is a kid from Arizona who grew up watching the expansion Phoenix Coyotes. Because the NHL expanded into non-traditional markets in America like Tampa, Miami, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nashville, etc in the the 1990s and 2000s, Americans will outnumber Canadians in the NHL in the next few years. It's going to take some time. 

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Then there is the issue of TV coverage and the income from that. US TV execs think nothing of spending millions on new ventures, but in this century, it's no longer about guessing who is watching.....advertisers want to know exactly who is watching.

National sports broadcasts here regularly feature ads from regional brands like Sonic Burgers or Jack In The Box, which are not available nationally. 

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As such, the need for an American TV audience is HUGE, but 3 years in, Toronto are still talking about "potential" audiences. 

Yes, three years in selling a previously unknown sport to people in Toronto they're still a ways from reaching their full potential. Is that somehow surprising? Took the Nashville Predators almost 20 selling ice hockey to people in Tennessee. Huge fanbase now.

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Remember, Toronto open their doors for free to fill the ground and have fewer than 200 attend the "live" TV events at their sponsors bar.

 Toronto do not, in fact, "open the doors for free" to people. I'm sure the Canadians here can inform you of that. 200 people at a sports bar for a viewing party is about the same, if not a little more, than the very popular TFC get for their various parties around the city when they have them. 

 

 

Edited by Onieda FC
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1 hour ago, Raumati Rugby said:

In 1978, the NY Cosmos association Football Team attracted over 47k fans as an average for their home games....in 1986, they ceased to exist. There were very few (if any) local players in their squad, but with marketing and promotion, they did attract good paying crowds for a short period of time, before the Audience returned to their staple diet of NFL/NHL/NBL and Baseball......their last season saw them attract 12,000 fans, but even that wasn't enough to survive in the Big Apple.
They had wealthy backers and they were playing the #1 sport on the planet, yet they eventually failed.

My point is this. Toronto are great but they are not financially viable without their sugar daddies. They are still reliant on free tickets to fill the ground, they still pay to have their games televised and they have little in the way of development that is stand alone....as in away from CRU. Yes, they cost the UK no money, but they are essentially a Manchester team taking games OTR to Toronto. This is their 3rd season and the reality is they will struggle to sell season tickets if punters know they can rock up for free, so at what point does the reality of paying to go to games impact on their "fans"?

 If we have 3 or 4 expansion sides opening in North America, all it is currently doing is diluting the player pool. If these teams, as is claimed by the author, are to be populated with "squad standard" NRL players, will the NRL sit idly by and watch as their future stars are cherry picked? 

Then there is the issue of TV coverage and the income from that. US TV execs think nothing of spending millions on new ventures, but in this century, it's no longer about guessing who is watching.....advertisers want to know exactly who is watching. As such, the need for an American TV audience is HUGE, but 3 years in, Toronto are still talking about "potential" audiences. Remember, Toronto open their doors for free to fill the ground and have fewer than 200 attend the "live" TV events at their sponsors bar. In return for $40,000,000 US  a year, they'll have to deliver more than a handful of viewers.

 I don't want to come across as negative or anti-expansionist here, but I am cautious as to exactly what having 5 or 6 NA teams does for the game either in England or Australia. It's almost like it's a handy distraction to keep us from looking at the problems we have close to home.

Some good points there, but the Cosmos is a terrible example. They failed because their ownership group wanted to go it alone instead of joining MLS. There are now two solid soccer clubs in New York.

I agree that TWP must be losing bucket loads of money, but they are building a fan base. They absolutely still need a sugar daddy, but even with free tickets, there is a genuine interest in the team. There are lots of free events to attend in Toronto during the summer, folks wouldn't come back if they didn't enjoy it.

It is a big experiment, the question is: Can it be funded long enough to make some profitable future? I also have my doubts, and absolutely, it is a distraction for some serious issues facing the sport in the UK.

Edit: Also, 200 people isn't bad for a viewing party at brunch time.

Edited by ojx
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55 minutes ago, Raumati Rugby said:

My point is this. Toronto are great but they are not financially viable without their sugar daddies. They are still reliant on free tickets to fill the ground, they still pay to have their games televised and they have little in the way of development that is stand alone....as in away from CRU. Yes, they cost the UK no money, but they are essentially a Manchester team taking games OTR to Toronto. This is their 3rd season and the reality is they will struggle to sell season tickets if punters know they can rock up for free, so at what point does the reality of paying to go to games impact on their "fans"?

Not the ''free tickets'' argument again. Any sports fan knows that most teams around do this or have done in the past.  

Plus twp already have larger crowds and sponsorship than most English clubs. 

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8 minutes ago, Omott91 said:

Not the ''free tickets'' argument again. Any sports fan knows that most teams around do this or have done in the past.  

Plus twp already have larger crowds and sponsorship than most English clubs. 

They have a home support. Current Sponsorship pays for travel.

Lets not make something out of nothing.

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2 hours ago, ojx said:

Some good points there, but the Cosmos is a terrible example. They failed because their ownership group wanted to go it alone instead of joining MLS. There are now two solid soccer clubs in New York.

He's talking about the original 1970s/80s Cosmos of the original NASL, not the reborn version. They died because the league died in 1984, because they were 1 or 2 serious owners and the rest were characters from Only Fools And Horses. It's still a bad comparison. 

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