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Eddie

Expansion or Consolidation?

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Just now, Big Picture said:

Of course I don't feel that way, don't worry.

Other posters have remarked a number of times how the game is commonly viewed by outsiders as a small regional sport for northerners, that perception would undoubtedly limit the interest from broadcasters as compared with their interest in showing other sports.  Add to that the way the events of the past couple of years have exposed its small time ways and I stand by my view.

Fair enough

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3 hours ago, Eddie said:

It’s incomprehensible that Wakefield Trinity aren’t currently planning a 100,000 capacity stadium, ready to bid for future grand finals when tens of thousands of North Americans are flying over for it. 

It would be good if Wakefield could deliver any new stadium to be honest ?

Edited by paulwalker71

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Think the thread has been derailed a bit.

The RFL struggles to make a profit due it's constant knee jerk planning and changing of the rules.

With regards to expansion and consolidation, all clubs should be treated as equally as possible.

Toronto are as important to the game as Oldham. Toulouse as Hunslet. It's one sport. The, "we should be looking after < insert team of 100 years her> before say Toronto is cobblers. If an established club gets 500 people a week despite being in the game 100 years, who's responsibility is this? TWP? The RFL? The club itself?

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Like poor jokes? Thejoketeller@mullymessiah

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3 hours ago, DC77 said:

Your suggestions are dismissed as they are unrealistic and show an ignorance of rugby league in England.

First off, “sports culture in England” doesn’t exist. There is football culture, rugby league culture,  rugby union culture, they don’t overlap into one big “sports culture” tag. They all operate on different levels. Football a game of the masses (with the Premier League the most watched sports league in the world), rugby league a game of the working class former coal mining towns along the M62 motorway in the north of England, and rugby union a game rooted in middle class public schools with its own heartland being in the leafy suburbs of the Home Counties (outside London). Each have their own distinct culture and following...and monetary wise one is a multi billion pound industry, one in the hundreds of millions, and the other considerably less than that.

”Throwing an extra 5,000 seats on each end of the stadium”...it’s not viable for a rugby league club, and not just from an affordability standpoint. Super league clubs average just over 8k attendance (8.3k in 2014 to be precise). These clubs rely on their own towns for support as rugby league has next to no presence outside of them. Go a few miles outside each town and people would barely know the sport exists. They are rooted in their own communities (as opposed to football clubs which generally represent large cities and have fans from all corners of the world). A club like St Helens already has a stadium with more than a big enough capacity, in fact all rugby league clubs in England do. A large percentage of each town’s population already goes to games, they don’t have a bigger fanbase to call upon. The club with by far the largest fanbase and wealth, Leeds, spent 20million in adding two new stands with the primary focus on upgrading their corporate facilities as opposed to adding a big increase in capacity (it stayed at around the same capacity). 

A one off game in a large football stadium works. A 50k minimum capacity stadium is needed for a stand alone event, and only football stadiums can accommodate that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_football_stadiums_in_England

The largest rugby league stadium (25k capacity) simply isn’t big enough for a showpiece event.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Rugby_League_stadiums_in_England

Should add, the three biggest rugby league stadiums are shared with football clubs (Hull, Wigan and Huddersfield), so you have to go to the 22k capacity Odsal stadium of Bradford for the largest stadium solely belonging to rugby league (and nevermind the limited capacity it’s a run down stadium not befitting of a venue for a showpiece event). 

I never said that teams in England need to build 100k seat stadiums and obviously the attendance in Rugby League doesn't support that.  

What I was trying to get at and I believe the point was missed is Rugby League clubs should be building stadiums with enough flexibility to be expanded for major events i.e. The Grand Final.  It's a question of stadium design.  I think St Helens has a lovely stadium but there is no flexibility built in to it for expansion of seating for major events.  

There are a number of companies that offer pop-up stadium solutions that are completely scalable to what a team wants.  They are also cheaper than traditional Brick & Mortar stadiums which is advantageous for Rugby Leagues clubs as the game isn't exactly awash with money.

3 hours ago, Eddie said:

It’s incomprehensible that Wakefield Trinity aren’t currently planning a 100,000 capacity stadium, ready to bid for future grand finals when tens of thousands of North Americans are flying over for it. 

Never said they need a 100k seat stadium but they probably should have a 15-20k seat stadium with the capacity to expand to 30k+ for major events.

3 hours ago, DC77 said:

Your suggestions are dismissed as they are unrealistic and show an ignorance of rugby league in England.

First off, “sports culture in England” doesn’t exist. There is football culture, rugby league culture,  rugby union culture, they don’t overlap into one big “sports culture” tag. They all operate on different levels. Football a game of the masses (with the Premier League the most watched sports league in the world), rugby league a game of the working class former coal mining towns along the M62 motorway in the north of England, and rugby union a game rooted in middle class public schools with its own heartland being in the leafy suburbs of the Home Counties (outside London). Each have their own distinct culture and following...and monetary wise one is a multi billion pound industry, one in the hundreds of millions, and the other considerably less than that.

”Throwing an extra 5,000 seats on each end of the stadium”...it’s not viable for a rugby league club, and not just from an affordability standpoint. Super league clubs average just over 8k attendance (8.3k in 2014 to be precise). These clubs rely on their own towns for support as rugby league has next to no presence outside of them. Go a few miles outside each town and people would barely know the sport exists. They are rooted in their own communities (as opposed to football clubs which generally represent large cities and have fans from all corners of the world). A club like St Helens already has a stadium with more than a big enough capacity, in fact all rugby league clubs in England do. A large percentage of each town’s population already goes to games, they don’t have a bigger fanbase to call upon. The club with by far the largest fanbase and wealth, Leeds, spent 20million in adding two new stands with the primary focus on upgrading their corporate facilities as opposed to adding a big increase in capacity (it stayed at around the same capacity). 

A one off game in a large football stadium works. A 50k minimum capacity stadium is needed for a stand alone event, and only football stadiums can accommodate that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_football_stadiums_in_England

The largest rugby league stadium (25k capacity) simply isn’t big enough for a showpiece event.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Rugby_League_stadiums_in_England

Should add, the three biggest rugby league stadiums are shared with football clubs (Hull, Wigan and Huddersfield), so you have to go to the 22k capacity Odsal stadium of Bradford for the largest stadium solely belonging to rugby league (and nevermind the limited capacity it’s a run down stadium not befitting of a venue for a showpiece event). 

See comments about stadium capacity I made above.  It's not about having a high capacity stadium, it's about having flexibility in stadium design to increase capacity for one off events.

My proposal of having Rugby League clubs host the Grand Final in lieu of hosting it at a neutral venue was based around the following:

1.  Keeping money entirely in the game - No requirement to pay a third party a substantial sum of money to host a game at their stadium.  Instead the Rugby League club hosting the match receives the majority of the profit from the match.  I don't think Hull FC or Saints would turn down adding a minimum £1 million+ pounds to their coffers for a one-off game played at their club ground.  

2.  Encourages clubs to renew their facilities - By establishing a minimum criteria for stadium hosting, you are encouraging clubs to improve facilities for the right to host a major one off event.  I would lump the Challenge Cup in with this as well as I think it's format and hosting at Wembley is stagnate and it clearly needs a shakeup.  So right there, you've got two major events that can be hosted at a Rugby League ground.  It also allows you to bring the pinnacle events of your sport elsewhere i.e. France or NA.  It would be fantastic if a Challenge Cup match could be hosted in the South of France.  A club hosting the Challenge Cup and/or the Grand Final would stand to profit greatly.  

3.  Gives back to the Communities that support the game - One of the things I like the most about the sport of Rugby League is it's a community sport.  Why not reward and promote that aspect?  It's an opportunity to bring the community together around the sport they all love.  I find it ironic that the people who are always espousing Rugby League's small town community values are the same people who want to take the pinnacle matches of the season to a gigantic football ground with all it's grandoise facilities.  Or to a soulless half-filled Wembley in a city where almost nobody cares about the sport.  

"We like it there because Old Trafford is an iconic stadium of an iconic football club"

Why does Rugby League feel the need to ride the coattails of someone else?  Build your own story and develop your own iconic grounds.  Rugby League needs to stand on it's own two feet and develop it's own story/brand and stand behind that brand.  I would much rather watch a Challenge Cup Final at Headingley with 25000 die hard League fans than a half empty Wembley. 

4.  Laws of Supply & Demand - the business plan behind the Grand Final & Challenge Cup is inherently flawed.  Why? Because it is entirely dependent on the same four or five clubs making the final match.  Catalans won the Challenge Cup last season and there reward for doing so was to be issued a 500k bond from the RFL.  An absolute embarrassment to the sport ans no way to grow the game.  What happens if Salford or Catalans makes the Grand Final this year?  Unlikely but still possible and are we going to ask for a levy from them?  

Reduce supply and subsequently raise price to compensate for that lack of demand.  People scoffed at my £100 for a Grand Final and right now that price point is not realistic but find a price point that is.  £60-£70 seems completely reasonable and that will grow as the demand for scarce supply increases.  Telling me that People in St Helens won't pay top dollar to see the Grand Final IN ST HELENS as opposed to somewhere else defies simple logic.

3 hours ago, DC77 said:

I actually think he unwittingly has a point when it comes to “iconic” and Old Trafford. 

Ive never heard football fans speak of it as “iconic”. The club is iconic yes (in global sport you’d only put Barcelona and Real Madrid ahead of them), but the stadium has never really earned that tag.

The one club ground above all in England that has that label is Anfield. You hear players from all over the world saying they’d love to play there (I read foreign language press and it’s also held in an esteem unlike many others).

I didn't unwittingly make that point, it was my point, I don't think Old Trafford is an iconic ground.  It certainly isn't an iconic Rugby League ground.

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By the way CanadianRugger, I hope people disagreeing with you doesn’t dampen your enthusiasm for the game, it’s simply superb that there are people in Canada so interested in RL, pretty sure that wouldn’t have been the case 4 years ago!

Out of interest, what percentage of people in Toronto (of those who are interested in sport) do you think have heard of the Wolfpack, and of them how many would be interested in how they get on even if they don’t go to the games? And would you be surprised if you saw someone walking down the street in a Wolfpack jersey?

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55 minutes ago, CanadianRugger said:

What I was trying to get at and I believe the point was missed is Rugby League clubs should be building stadiums with enough flexibility to be expanded for major events i.e. The Grand Final.  It's a question of stadium design.  I think St Helens has a lovely stadium but there is no flexibility built in to it for expansion of seating for major events.  

There are a number of companies that offer pop-up stadium solutions that are completely scalable to what a team wants.  They are also cheaper than traditional Brick & Mortar stadiums which is advantageous for Rugby Leagues clubs as the game isn't exactly awash with money.

Never said they need a 100k seat stadium but they probably should have a 15-20k seat stadium with the capacity to expand to 30k+ for major events.

There's very few RL teams that have actually built stadiums in the past few decades - and Wakefield (and Castleford for that matter) have never got a new stadium beyond the stage of artists impressions. 

Wigan, Huddersfield and Hull play at football grounds

Hull KR and Leeds improved their existing facilities

Wakefield and Castleford play in wholly inadequate stadiums which they cannot upgrade

Salford play in a rented stadium owned by the local council and private company

London play in a 'stadium; that belongs to a Rugby Union club.

That leaves Warrington and St Helens as the only two Super League clubs who have built a new, purpose-built RL stadium in the last fifty years. And neither of those teams is able to regularly sell-out their relatively small stadiums (capacity 15K and 18K respectively).

There'd simply be no value for those two clubs in building in a method for adding capacity to their stadia. And the other SL clubs simply don't have the ownership / money / physical space to do that even if they wanted to.

 

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20 hours ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

Personally I think it may be a fair assumption that C5 ain't paying much to show the Gallagher Prem.... The RFU and BT know it's a winner getting the games on free to air. I happen to think Durden-Smith and Flatman do a good job as well

 

The deal between Premiership Rugby Union and Channel 5 is worth £ 1 million and allows five simulcasted Premiership matches out of the 80 covered by BT sport. It also allows for a slick one hour highlights package on Mondays at 7.00pm.

BT sport who have by far the smallest footprint of the two Pay TV competitors, are keen on terrestrial TV coverage of sports as they recognise it acts as a driver for subscriptions. To that extent they simulcast five Aussie Big Bash Leaguie Cricket T20 matches when bidding for the Cricket rights. Cricket's administrators went to SKY / BBC despite a reputed lower bid.

SKY are less than keen on anything other than exclusive coverage, hence their grudging decision to alow Channel 4 to use the feed for the recent cricket World Cup coverage under political / media and public pressure.

Please note how SKY has downgraded all Rugby League competitions it does not own. The choice for Rugby League executives is simple - take more money to leave the sport behind a paywall or take less money but get national exposure with a mixture of PAY TV and FTA coverage on say Channel 5. Logic suggest a long term strategy supports maximum exposure  but of course if your shareholders need more brass to pay their debts logic goes out the window....

 


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57 minutes ago, Eddie said:

By the way CanadianRugger, I hope people disagreeing with you doesn’t dampen your enthusiasm for the game, it’s simply superb that there are people in Canada so interested in RL, pretty sure that wouldn’t have been the case 4 years ago!

Out of interest, what percentage of people in Toronto (of those who are interested in sport) do you think have heard of the Wolfpack, and of them how many would be interested in how they get on even if they don’t go to the games? And would you be surprised if you saw someone walking down the street in a Wolfpack jersey?

A lot of people know about the Wolfpack in Toronto, they are in our major media publications weekly.  I would say they have gained a cult-like following the city.  As well, many Rugby Union players follow the team.  Why?  Because It's the best standard of rugby of either code that we can watch.  It's also a sport that Canadians readily identify with.  1.  Working Class (check) 2.  Speed and Skill (check) 3.  Physical (check).

My first love is ice hockey, which ironically has traditionally been the sport of choice for small town Canada and has a very similar demographic to Rugby League.  Small mining and paper mill towns where the Company who ran the mine or mill built an ice rink for its employees.  I was born and grew up one of those towns and the local teams were and still are immensely popular.  Town of 12000 people with a 4000 seat ice arena.  My hometown team which I still follow won the National Championship two seasons ago.  

As for going to Wolfpack games, I haven't been able to go to one this season as I live 4000km away now.  I moved to British Columbia last September.  I watch every game on TV though and would love to see the Wolfpack host an early season game in BC.

1 hour ago, paulwalker71 said:

There's very few RL teams that have actually built stadiums in the past few decades - and Wakefield (and Castleford for that matter) have never got a new stadium beyond the stage of artists impressions. 

Wigan, Huddersfield and Hull play at football grounds

Hull KR and Leeds improved their existing facilities

Wakefield and Castleford play in wholly inadequate stadiums which they cannot upgrade

Salford play in a rented stadium owned by the local council and private company

London play in a 'stadium; that belongs to a Rugby Union club.

That leaves Warrington and St Helens as the only two Super League clubs who have built a new, purpose-built RL stadium in the last fifty years. And neither of those teams is able to regularly sell-out their relatively small stadiums (capacity 15K and 18K respectively).

There'd simply be no value for those two clubs in building in a method for adding capacity to their stadia. And the other SL clubs simply don't have the ownership / money / physical space to do that even if they wanted to.

 

I'm tracking this issue.  My point was that temporary seating should be a consideration when Rugby League clubs build a stadium.  We leave a lot of end zones open in North America for this reason or we take the roof off part of the stadium so that temporary bleachers can be installed to temporarily increase the capacity.  The potential Ottawa franchise would be playing in such a stadium.  The stadiums seats 24000 but they have the ability to increase capacity by 10000-15000 temporarily for big events.  

 

 

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13 minutes ago, GUBRATS said:

Relocate to where ?

I don't think clubs should be forced to close in the heartlands or relocate.  Clubs have to make financial sense but I think clubs like Leigh, Bradford, Featherstone, Halifax and York that have the facilities, ambition and fan support should be playing in the Top flight.

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2 hours ago, paulwalker71 said:

There's very few RL teams that have actually built stadiums in the past few decades - and Wakefield (and Castleford for that matter) have never got a new stadium beyond the stage of artists impressions. 

Wigan, Huddersfield and Hull play at football grounds

Hull KR and Leeds improved their existing facilities

Wakefield and Castleford play in wholly inadequate stadiums which they cannot upgrade

Salford play in a rented stadium owned by the local council and private company

London play in a 'stadium; that belongs to a Rugby Union club.

That leaves Warrington and St Helens as the only two Super League clubs who have built a new, purpose-built RL stadium in the last fifty years. And neither of those teams is able to regularly sell-out their relatively small stadiums (capacity 15K and 18K respectively).

There'd simply be no value for those two clubs in building in a method for adding capacity to their stadia. And the other SL clubs simply don't have the ownership / money / physical space to do that even if they wanted to.

 

Even Warrington didn't build their own , it was gifted to them by Tesco as a sweetner from the council , they do however run it 

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25 minutes ago, CanadianRugger said:

A lot of people know about the Wolfpack in Toronto, they are in our major media publications weekly.  I would say they have gained a cult-like following the city.  As well, many Rugby Union players follow the team.  Why?  Because It's the best standard of rugby of either code that we can watch.  It's also a sport that Canadians readily identify with.  1.  Working Class (check) 2.  Speed and Skill (check) 3.  Physical (check).

My first love is ice hockey, which ironically has traditionally been the sport of choice for small town Canada and has a very similar demographic to Rugby League.  Small mining and paper mill towns where the Company who ran the mine or mill built an ice rink for its employees.  I was born and grew up one of those towns and the local teams were and still are immensely popular.  Town of 12000 people with a 4000 seat ice arena.  My hometown team which I still follow won the National Championship two seasons ago.  

As for going to Wolfpack games, I haven't been able to go to one this season as I live 4000km away now.  I moved to British Columbia last September.  I watch every game on TV though and would love to see the Wolfpack host an early season game in BC.

I'm tracking this issue.  My point was that temporary seating should be a consideration when Rugby League clubs build a stadium.  We leave a lot of end zones open in North America for this reason or we take the roof off part of the stadium so that temporary bleachers can be installed to temporarily increase the capacity.  The potential Ottawa franchise would be playing in such a stadium.  The stadiums seats 24000 but they have the ability to increase capacity by 10000-15000 temporarily for big events.  

 

 

As pointed out , just one club has built a new stadium out of 30 , even Leeds are unable to develop any further capacity at Headingley after spending 40 million ( well getting it on HP ) due to planning permission , we just don't have the space in this country 

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On ‎27‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 07:50, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

How many $$Millions have been pumped into Toronto? None, $0, zero, they have cost us nothing.

Toronto haven’t taken a single penny in central funding and paid away clubs travel costs for 3 years.

All the costs of running Toronto Wolfpack have been covered by David Argyle and his consortium. Surely the fact they are willing to invest millions of their own money shows that expansion is the right thing to do, they sure as hell wouldn’t of invent that money into Featherstone, Oldham or Hunslet.

If we have no expansion we have no additional money from the likes of David Argyle and we’d be a lot worse off for it. 

but will they when there in super league ?


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19 hours ago, DC77 said:

I actually think he unwittingly has a point when it comes to “iconic” and Old Trafford. 

Ive never heard football fans speak of it as “iconic”. The club is iconic yes (in global sport you’d only put Barcelona and Real Madrid ahead of them), but the stadium has never really earned that tag.

The one club ground above all in England that has that label is Anfield. You hear players from all over the world saying they’d love to play there (I read foreign language press and it’s also held in an esteem unlike many others).

I can see what you're saying. I would add though that for our game it has become iconic as the home of the Grand Final (and World Cup final in recent times). 

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Isn't this topic related to audiences, and largely irrelevant to location...

1) Traditional clubs need to look at audience size and penetration (brand awareness through to those willing to part with cash).

It really is quite simple. Grow the marketing funnel. This means, understand your customers, understand your audiences. How many RL clubs are actively trying to understand their customers? Genuine question. They are awash with data from websites to ticket purchases etc. It doesn't take much to understand who is buying your tickets, merch, viewing your website etc. to get a really good grip on this. Having seen the hot-spots, you can learn a lot. Where do they need to focus efforts to grow. Be more effective in marketing spends. The sole purpose being to drive revenue...

2) Expansion/New clubs - propose a SOLID business plan based on a risk/reward approach. I.e. realistically, how many people can they reach and encourage to come along to a game. This is harder to truly quantify. But with a bit of market research you can at least assess whether their is a market there or not. Whether your marketing activities execute well enough to cut through is another matter. Who cares whether it is in Carlisle or Calgary?? Its about the robustness of the potential club to reach an audience and create a market.

Does the RFL really take a robust enough approach? It's hard to say without seeing the business plans. But this should be a minimum requirement as part of any approval process... I cant say I am overwhelmed.

Toronto have clearly shown how to reach audiences via digital marketing. They then convert a certain proportion in to attending. Then Word of mouth etc etc etc. In a digital world, they use data to inform growth.

Does your local club capture data? Does it have a marketing/data analyst to inform how to grow its audience?

This is something Leeds tend to do very well.

Perfect example was when I went to watch London. I bought a ticket at the ground. London took nothing but cash. I had 3 friends with me. All live across London and at their first game, loved it. Yet London never had the chance to follow-up with the other 3 customers that weren't quite so RL mad as me.. Asking for data is common practice and for good reason... its all about return business. London as a result got £80 in revenue. Nothing more. Short-term thinking.

I read a lot about "creating an event" in RL. This is only part of a relationship with a customer... its about creating interesting content (live or digital) that is enticing and interesting in an attention economy. We have a great product, yet cant seem to understand the long term value of relationships... or audiences for that matter.

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If you have expertise in these matters and are local to the Bronco's why not go along and offer your assistance? 

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2 minutes ago, fighting irish said:

If you have expertise in these matters and are local to the Bronco's why not go along and offer your assistance? 

Afraid I no longer live in London having moved away to the deep dark South West...

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On ‎26‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 21:11, Eddie said:

There’s obviously a lot of focus on expansion to breathe new life into RL, and rightly so, but I rarely hear anything about helping declining clubs in traditional RL areas.



Given the history of failure of expansion in the UK (with a handful of happy exceptions) might it be better to focus on reviving traditional clubs and helping them thrive to get more people interested in the game, instead of chasing the dream of establishing RL in uninterested big cities? It might be an easier, less costly and more worthwhile way of doing it. I’m talking Barrow, Whitehaven, Workington, Oldham, Rochdale, Doncaster etc, areas with big RL traditions and plenty of people, but floundering clubs. 

Anyone who thinks there will ever be an RL team in for example Liverpool, attracting more than a few hundred fans is far wide of the mark. However York have shown what can be done with a lot of initiative and hard work. 



Naturally this all takes people willing to do it, and a lot of money, but far less I expect than setting up new clubs from scratch in places where nobody cares.

 

York has always had a proud Rugby League history but struggled in its most recent form due to poor management. Under the vision of Jon Flatman and the hardwork of supporters, volunteers and players they have managed to start to turn around the fortunes. Still along way to go

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8 minutes ago, tiffers said:

Afraid I no longer live in London having moved away to the deep dark South West...

Fair enough, but I can't understand why well qualified posters, with professional expertise don't get involved more often.

If you see a deficiency, go and speak to the club and offer whatever assistance you can.

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18 minutes ago, fighting irish said:

If you have expertise in these matters and are local to the Bronco's why not go along and offer your assistance? 

London, and every other club, have people on the pay-roll who should understand this stuff. It's Marketing 101. 

The "if you're so good then why don't you do it" retort is a bit of a cop-out. The clubs already employ, or should be employing, people who understand this stuff. 

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34 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

London, and every other club, have people on the pay-roll who should understand this stuff. It's Marketing 101. 

The "if you're so good then why don't you do it" retort is a bit of a cop-out. The clubs already employ, or should be employing, people who understand this stuff. 

You say in your first sentence that London and every other club have people on the pay-roll who should understand this stuff, then you go on to say in your last sentence, that the clubs already employ (a repeat of your first sentence), or should be employing (a confession that you don't know if they do or not). Do they have such people on the pay-roll or not? I don't know either.

Now I confess also, that I don't know what you mean when you say the ''if you're so good then why don't you do it'' retort is a cop out.

Who is copping out? Copping out of what?

I certainly wasn't implying any criticism of tiffers, merely suggesting that if these shortcomings are patently obvious, (to those with expertise) and he really could make a contribution here, why not get involved?

One thing we are not short of in Rugby League is people who stand on the outside and criticise the games failings but what we desperately need are people who actually get stuck in and do something.  

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42 minutes ago, fighting irish said:

You say in your first sentence that London and every other club have people on the pay-roll who should understand this stuff, then you go on to say in your last sentence, that the clubs already employ (a repeat of your first sentence), or should be employing (a confession that you don't know if they do or not). Do they have such people on the pay-roll or not? I don't know either.

 Now I confess also, that I don't know what you mean when you say the ''if you're so good then why don't you do it'' retort is a cop out.

Who is copping out? Copping out of what?

I certainly wasn't implying any criticism of tiffers, merely suggesting that if these shortcomings are patently obvious, (to those with expertise) and he really could make a contribution here, why not get involved?

One thing we are not short of in Rugby League is people who stand on the outside and criticise the games failings but what we desperately need are people who actually get stuck in and do something.  

As far as I am aware, every club employs a media manager, a PR manager, a marketing manager or a combination of those job titles. 

So often when the issue of marketing this sport comes up, it gets overlooked that at the 12 Super League clubs, there are at least 12 people who are paid to do the exact sort of things that people on forums like this say that they and/or the RFL should be doing. What never seems to get challenged is why these 12 or more people either aren't doing those things, or aren't doing them well enough. 

I've been challenged previously by people arguing "if you're so good, then why don't you offer to do it for commission?". Why should I? There are people on the pay-roll across this sport who are paid to do it. Instead of asking why a fan on an internet forum (who just so happens to have experience in this issue) isn't doing it, ask your club why the people being paid to do it aren't earning their salary. 

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5 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

As far as I am aware, every club employs a media manager, a PR manager, a marketing manager or a combination of those job titles. 

So often when the issue of marketing this sport comes up, it gets overlooked that at the 12 Super League clubs, there are at least 12 people who are paid to do the exact sort of things that people on forums like this say that they and/or the RFL should be doing. What never seems to get challenged is why these 12 or more people either aren't doing those things, or aren't doing them well enough. 

I've been challenged previously by people arguing "if you're so good, then why don't you offer to do it for commission?". Why should I? There are people on the pay-roll across this sport who are paid to do it. Instead of asking why a fan on an internet forum (who just so happens to have experience in this issue) isn't doing it, ask your club why the people being paid to do it aren't earning their salary. 

It's a fair point. A point that never really gets raised.

Is it because the people employing the marketing managers do not have an understanding themselves of what type of person they are looking for? What are the KPI's that they are looking to achieve etc. There is a couple of things:

1) The strategic direction set by the board/senior management (depending on who that is at the clubs). Are they clear on what they want to have achieved by "X" date? Some clubs have been very clear in terms of wanting to grow memberships etc.

The RFL strategy states they want to increase email-able contacts to 200k from 127k in 2019... yet if you look at their website traffic for rugby-league.com in 2019, it has performed very poorly vs. last year. There was higher engagement in January (visits to rugby-league.com vs. most months in season when you would hope they are creating content to drive that email-able list etc.). So I'd love to know how they are progressing on that... what channels are actually using to do this? From the highest level in the strategic plan, it looks to me like they want to do it largely via engagement/readership of the website... worrying if so and I would definitely have this as a BIG red flag on my dashboard!

2) Are those marketing folks employed by the clubs/RFL of good enough calibre to perform those operational duties? Are they allowed the freedom and resources to adequately meet those strategic goals that the clubs have set?

Fighting Irish, you've given me the kick to write to the RFL and raise a few things I have picked up across the few minutes Ive had a chance to look at this...

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31 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

As far as I am aware, every club employs a media manager, a PR manager, a marketing manager or a combination of those job titles. 

So often when the issue of marketing this sport comes up, it gets overlooked that at the 12 Super League clubs, there are at least 12 people who are paid to do the exact sort of things that people on forums like this say that they and/or the RFL should be doing. What never seems to get challenged is why these 12 or more people either aren't doing those things, or aren't doing them well enough. 

I've been challenged previously by people arguing "if you're so good, then why don't you offer to do it for commission?". Why should I? There are people on the pay-roll across this sport who are paid to do it. Instead of asking why a fan on an internet forum (who just so happens to have experience in this issue) isn't doing it, ask your club why the people being paid to do it aren't earning their salary. 

I don't know for sure whether every club does actually employ a media / PR / marketing person. Does any know for sure either way?

In my view, all SL clubs should be employing someone in this role, in fact I think it should be a condition of the central funding being released. Perhaps it already is - who knows?

 

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12 minutes ago, tiffers said:

It's a fair point. A point that never really gets raised.

Is it because the people employing the marketing managers do not have an understanding themselves of what type of person they are looking for? What are the KPI's that they are looking to achieve etc. There is a couple of things:

1) The strategic direction set by the board/senior management (depending on who that is at the clubs). Are they clear on what they want to have achieved by "X" date? Some clubs have been very clear in terms of wanting to grow memberships etc.

 The RFL strategy states they want to increase email-able contacts to 200k from 127k in 2019... yet if you look at their website traffic for rugby-league.com in 2019, it has performed very poorly vs. last year. There was higher engagement in January (visits to rugby-league.com vs. most months in season when you would hope they are creating content to drive that email-able list etc.). So I'd love to know how they are progressing on that... what channels are actually using to do this? From the highest level in the strategic plan, it looks to me like they want to do it largely via engagement/readership of the website... worrying if so and I would definitely have this as a BIG red flag on my dashboard!

Different clubs will have different priorities. They have their own audiences, their own propositions and their own local challenges. I'm happy to let the clubs determine their own destinies to an extent but (and I'll own up to being an advocate of licencing here), I would make growth metrics a key part of licencing criteria. 

Personally, I think it comes down to clubs being unwilling to invest and innovate, instead retreating to the "tried and tested". We have club chairmen on record as saying that they "don't believe in marketing" and that's the issue. As long as these clubs can keep relying on generations of dads and grandads to drag their reluctant kids along to yet another loop fixture, they're happy as they haven't had to put their hand in their pocket. Too much of what we do in RL is based on zero-growth budgeting. 

I personally wouldn't be too concerned if any club wanted to use digital as its main route of engagement. We're not in the business of selling tickets here, we're in the business of selling content. If any club, the RFL or SLE believes that it can monitise access to that content digitally, I actually think that is a good strategy that reflects modern consumption habits. 

Quote

 2) Are those marketing folks employed by the clubs/RFL of good enough calibre to perform those operational duties? Are they allowed the freedom and resources to adequately meet those strategic goals that the clubs have set?

Based on what I know many clubs and SLE pay, more than likely not.

Super League Europe recently recruited for a marketing director with a salary offer of £75k. That's not going to get you a decent calibure marketing director by any stretch of the imagination. My understanding is that the person who got that role was previously the Head of Marketing at the RFL.

It ties into the first point. I genuinely believe that too many clubs see 'promoting themselves' as a cost, rather than an investment. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays

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