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Manfred Mann

After Toronto and Toulouse, which expansion clubs would you like to see in Super League?

After Toronto and Toulouse, which expansion clubs would you like to see in Super League?  

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  1. 1. After Toronto and Toulouse, which expansion clubs would you like to see in Super League


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  • Poll closes on 12/08/20 at 23:34

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Many people would argue that if Super League does not expand beyond its M62 heartland, it will slowly deteriorate and become a less attractive competition for both sponsors and television networks.

There is strong support on this forum for the promotion of Toronto and Toulouse into Super League. But the question is, if that happens, should that be the end of expansion for the foreseeable future?

What about building more clubs, with promotion into Super League, to create local derbies and popular interest, not to mention new television contracts,  in either north America or France? What about expansion within the United Kingdom?

Two widely discussed possibilities of expansion in the United Kingdom are Newcastle (which has a good stadium infrastructure and is far from the M62), and Sheffield (England's 4th biggest city which is not on the M62 but is still in Yorkshire). 

The best possibilities of expansion in France after Toulouse would be either of two clubs:  Avignon (which is in the southeast, not the southwestern "heartlands," which has not much established team sport competition, but has a good stadium, and has attracted good crowds for rugby league internationals) and Paris, the national political, commercial and media capital, which if in Super League would give rugby league a stronger media and commercial profile in France.

The most realistic possibilities of expansion in north America are Ottawa (already in the advanced planning stage as a League 1 or Championship club), New York (already proposed to the RFL by a syndicate), Boston, and Philadelphia (both of the latter geographically proximate and important sports competitors with New York, and which have been mentioned as future possibilities by Eric Perez).

Having any of these clubs in Super League in the near future would require an expansion of the number of Super League clubs under the current structure of promotion and relegation. Obviously a return to licensing would be more efficient method of rapidly promoting expansion, and enable a more rational control of the number of clubs in Super League.  But in either case the RFL needs to think about expansion, and having a larger number of clubs in expansion nations like Canada, the USA, and France makes possible new pools of fans and players, new streams of commercial revenue for the game, and separate television contracts in these expansion nations which will have a multiplier effect on the game's popularity and financial health.

Edited by Manfred Mann

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You appear to have accidentally missed London Skolars off your list?!

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1 minute ago, EssexRL said:

You appear to have accidentally missed London Skolars off your list?!

You are right. Correction made.

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Just imagine how media coverage for the sport you love would change with Paris, New York and Toronto.

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Six of the sides in your poll either don’t exist or don’t play in the UK system. So that leaves three, Sheffield, Newcastle and Skolars. 

Skolars are lightyears away from Super League, Sheffield’s ground isn’t the best but they’re in the highest position of the three clubs and Newcastle seem to be doing things right. 

If I had to pick, Newcastle. 

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19 minutes ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

Six of the sides in your poll either don’t exist or don’t play in the UK system. So that leaves three, Sheffield, Newcastle and Skolars. 

Skolars are lightyears away from Super League, Sheffield’s ground isn’t the best but they’re in the highest position of the three clubs and Newcastle seem to be doing things right. 

If I had to pick, Newcastle. 

Ottawa is very close to joining the UK system (in either League 1 or the Championship) and, according to some media reports, New York may be not far behind.

Avignon already has a team in the French Elite 1.

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11 minutes ago, Manfred Mann said:

Ottawa is very close to joining the UK system (in either League 1 or the Championship) and, according to some media reports, New York may be not far behind.

Avignon already has a team in the French Elite 1.

Right, so like he said, 6 of the clubs either don't exist or play in the UK system.

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Newcastle have great potential - best crowds in L1, passionate fans and a good home in a area receptive to the sport.

Skolars do have a medium term plan to get promoted into Championship, build crowds and then see so you never know..

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5 hours ago, Wellsy4HullFC said:

No Manchester or Liverpool?

A reasonable question. It is true that there is not yet a serious club in either of these cities. But their proximity to existing Super League clubs Salford (Manchester) and St Helens (Liverpool) make them a less exciting project of expansion. Of course having a strong team (strong financial backing and 10,000 + fans) in either of these cities would constitute a welcome development for rugby league. But there is no sign yet that such a development would occur, and the deeply entrenched popularity of football in those cities makes it very difficult. Rugby league has had a presence in nearby northern  towns for over a century, but so far nobody in Manchester or Liverpool has seemed at all interested in watching it. ( I realise that this argument also applies to some extent to London, but there rugby league has only been tried, and with little financial resources backing it, for forty years.).

On the other hand most of  the clubs I have listed would generate a potentially more expansive audience in places where rugby league has been previously totally unknown. Toronto has introduced rugby league to thousands, perhaps tens of thousands (through television) of Canadians. There is every chance that the impending start ups in Ottawa and New York will do the same, because of the closer relationship rugby league has as a type of sport to north American football than it has to Association Football (soccer). I also think that Americans and Canadians are more open minded and interested in trying new sports than are the British. Finally, a local rivalry between Toronto and Ottawa, and between Toronto and New York, could also help the game to grow in highly populous north America..

Rugby league already exists in Avignon, and has the chance to expand its appeal if it is part of a professional competition.

Edited by Manfred Mann

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Barcelona! def good move if tied with soccer!

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“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”    

 

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While it would be nice to have a Newcastle club in Super League, as I said above, my honest answer is I’m not really bothered who comes up to Super League each year because over the course of a season, they’ll have earned it, so if we get Leigh, Widnes, York or even Dewsbury up, I’m fine with that.

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If we're making up clubs then I would very much like it to be my new Hastings club, which will play at Hastings United's new ground that hasn't been built yet (the sports village plan fell through), and be able to draw supporters from Brighton to just outside Tunbridge Wells once the A21 dual carriageway has been approved and the A27 roadworks at Polegate sorted. I think that by MARKETING and INVESTORS, I will be able to meet all the standards required to be part of the conversation for Super League in 2026 - which will be the 960th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and an opportunity too good to miss.

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