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scotchy1

How to get the game talked about more

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One of the big problems I see with our game is that it exists in a bubble. Those who like it, love it. Those who don't, dont. But the vast majority of it only hear about it rarely and see it here and there.

It doesnt really penetrate the public's consciousness and it doesnt do it at all on a regular basis. There isnt a critical mass of publicity that tells the story of the game that allows people to dip in and out of the sport. You have to be 'a fan' to know what's going on. 

And that encompasses a lot of things, why a game is good, why a player is good, why a play is good, why a team is good, why a game is big or important  etc.

We get very little of the extraneous publicity, the repetition of which is what lodges the game in the wider publics minds.

So how do we get the game mentioned and discussed more? What things can we do that gives people something to talk about?

I think the stats from Wire and combine is a great idea. It quantifies some of the obvious physical attributes of the players. Big men who weigh a lot, lift a lot and move quickly will always capture the imagination. Cartoonish physical attributes are great narratives. 

We could create a transfer window. Let's say that deals can be negotiated as now but can only be announced and signed in one week. Get all the clubs at a single hotel (who I'm sure would be delighted at the publicity, perhaps even enough to pay) and sky sports news can have reporters there, loads of rumours and discussion and a bit of surprise and drama. Trickle out signings over the course of a week and keep the game in the public eye for a while. Even if we have to be a bit creative to sell it (I.e make a few rumours up, a bit of 'scripted reality' with last minute change of mind etc) 

Take a bit of creative licence with transfers, wages etc. Who cares and who would ever know if a 500k transfer fee was only 50k? Why  not make it a million. Money is an easy way of quantifying value  (it's why it exists) inflate it and you inflate the value of the players.

On the road games, for most of the country the game is inaccessible. Let's make it accessible at least once a year and get some publicity 

What are other things we could do to get the game talked about more (other than obviously more internationals)

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9 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

One of the big problems I see with our game is that it exists in a bubble. Those who like it, love it. Those who don't, dont. But the vast majority of it only hear about it rarely and see it here and there.

It doesnt really penetrate the public's consciousness and it doesnt do it at all on a regular basis. There isnt a critical mass of publicity that tells the story of the game that allows people to dip in and out of the sport. You have to be 'a fan' to know what's going on. 

And that encompasses a lot of things, why a game is good, why a player is good, why a play is good, why a team is good, why a game is big or important  etc.

We get very little of the extraneous publicity, the repetition of which is what lodges the game in the wider publics minds.

So how do we get the game mentioned and discussed more? What things can we do that gives people something to talk about?

I think the stats from Wire and combine is a great idea. It quantifies some of the obvious physical attributes of the players. Big men who weigh a lot, lift a lot and move quickly will always capture the imagination. Cartoonish physical attributes are great narratives. 

We could create a transfer window. Let's say that deals can be negotiated as now but can only be announced and signed in one week. Get all the clubs at a single hotel (who I'm sure would be delighted at the publicity, perhaps even enough to pay) and sky sports news can have reporters there, loads of rumours and discussion and a bit of surprise and drama. Trickle out signings over the course of a week and keep the game in the public eye for a while. Even if we have to be a bit creative to sell it (I.e make a few rumours up, a bit of 'scripted reality' with last minute change of mind etc) 

Take a bit of creative licence with transfers, wages etc. Who cares and who would ever know if a 500k transfer fee was only 50k? Why  not make it a million. Money is an easy way of quantifying value  (it's why it exists) inflate it and you inflate the value of the players.

On the road games, for most of the country the game is inaccessible. Let's make it accessible at least once a year and get some publicity 

What are other things we could do to get the game talked about more (other than obviously more internationals)

Alas I think that in the vast majority of cases, it's the internationals that will capture the wider public's imagination. I don't think any of this other stuff would be noticed by anyone other than those who are already fans.

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6 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Alas I think that in the vast majority of cases, it's the internationals that will capture the wider public's imagination. I don't think any of this other stuff would be noticed by anyone other than those who are already fans.

It would get in the media which would reach at least some none fans and casuals. Do that enough and you will turn some of them in to fans.

I agree internationals are massively important, but we also need things that get attention between them.

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Build events that are more than just Rugby League games. Even for Magic Weekend, the so-called festival of Rugby League, it’s nothing more than six games at a random stadium with a fan park the size of a car park at a Tesco Express. 

 

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38 minutes ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

Build events that are more than just Rugby League games. Even for Magic Weekend, the so-called festival of Rugby League, it’s nothing more than six games at a random stadium with a fan park the size of a car park at a Tesco Express. 

 

A bit like Toronto are doing now?  

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33 minutes ago, mickhornet said:

Football in particular the Premier league is tops.RL a minority game.

That's pretty irrelevant hornet the thread is not what the situation is but what can be done about it?

 


“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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1 hour ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

What are Toronto doing?

Lots, pay attention!


“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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I don't believe lying about transfers and bigging them up is the way to go, it's just plain deceitful. When the truth outs which it will eventually the good name of RL would suffer.

We should ask why the game isn't bigger. WHY?? It's had over a hundred years to grow. Eddie Hemmings once said SL can hope to have a Cumbrian team in it in a few years, wow! First Cumbria then the world, maybe even Northumberland too!

There has to be a reason for the non growth of the game. Maybe absolute ineptitude from the administrators? No, not for a hundred years, ineptitude isn't hereditary. A conspiracy by the media to ignore the game, resist it's lure and badmouth it ? No, again not for one hundred years. So what then? What has been consistently present during RL's existence that could effect development , yep Union!

Not that I blame them one iota, they look after their game, and spread it, but RL has to break into that market. Increasing fans means taking them away from elsewhere, not soccer, rugby and footy fans enjoy two very different games, most of the fans who get their kicks out of biff baff beefcake sports are into Union. For RL to grow THAT MUST CHANGE, that's the market to attack. How ? Cleverer people than me get paid to come up with the answer there.

I wonder though back in the 1910's or 20's or whenever other sports, notably football spread, and good luck to football, the custodians got off their collective backsides and put the work in, what was RL doing ? Other sports spread, Union, Field Hockey, Cricket, what stopped our custodians? Perhaps they were too busy having internecine squabbles with Union to bother.

Edited by HawkMan
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3 hours ago, scotchy1 said:

It would get in the media which would reach at least some none fans and casuals. Do that enough and you will turn some of them in to fans.

I agree internationals are massively important, but we also need things that get attention between them.

International are important but I think cricket shows you can have lots of interest, including nationally at that level, but the club (county) game can still struggle. 

I personally think we need to try to market the game to particular demographics. Why might for instance a millennial be interested in our game? What can we say to her that will grab her interest? What else might she be interested in that we can connect too? 

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40 minutes ago, HawkMan said:

I wonder though back in the 1910's or 20's or whenever other sports, notably football spread, and good luck to football, the custodians got off their collective backsides and put the work in, what was RL doing ? Other sports spread, Union, Field Hockey, Cricket, what stopped our custodians?

Thats a really interesting point HM I’ve never considered before. Why did RL remain so limited in its reach? 

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I can only use myself as an example, and you make a very good point for how people start to like certain sports.

I can tell you that what RL fans always promoted about the game - the big hits, speed, athleticism and so on - didnt move me one iota. For a long time I watched the game (because I generally can watch any sporting contest) but I was never really interested in what I was watching. It just wasnt compelling in a way to make me get invested in the sport. Importantly, I never played the game, so I really had no connection to the game. And I can tell you that it is very easy to be uninterested in RL - like any sport. There is nothing inherently interesting about the sport to the uninitiated, which is why it’s amusing to see people who think that being exposed to the sport will hook people straight away. When I watched RL as a novice, there was nothing that impressed me, so dont be surprised to learn that most people who arent fans probably share my indifference when I first began.

Over time, because of taking the time to watch games, I got to know the big names in the game. But for many years I watched the game and took no notice of forwards, of what they did. I knew the halves and the wingers because it was obvious even to me what their job was in the team. Didnt know a front rower from a second rower though, and thought they all had the same role of running into people.

Then, one season, I remember deciding to read about the positions, what their role was, that sort of thing. Within a few weeks of doing that, my enjoyment of the game went up tenfold. What helped tremendously was the numbering on the back. The fact that they were numbered 1 to 13 allowed me to easily track who was who, and what their role was in the team. 

And then it all clicked. I realised that in order to get invested in a sport, you need to know the players, and you need to be able to tell on the fly whether what theyre doing on the pitch is good or naff. When you get to this point, a game that you knew nothing about begins to make sense. And the narratives of the game take on much greater meaning, to the point where media coverage becomes interesting, because theyre discussing narratives that you understand.

But the problem is that I actively chose to do all this. I am not the average sports fan. I took a lot of time to learn something new. And you cant expect that of average person on the street. 

Yet once I knew the players and could evaluate players performance on the fly, I became invested in the sport. Thats the key. 

For most people, because they played football when they’re younger, and because media coverage gives them a strong understanding of most of the key players in the game, it’s very easy to fall into following football, and it becomes obvious why the sport is as big as it is. And because they played the game, they have an appreciation of the skill on display that someone who never played never will (like me with RL). 

In rugby league, because I, like many, never played the sport, you’re asking me to take a lot of my time to learn something completely alien. Everyone who’s played football has an idea of what a player theyre watching should be doing. With rugby league, like I said, I had to teach myself this, and it took several months to become comfortable watching games without having to think too much about it.

To answer your question, there is really only one thing that can be done, and thats to get as many people as possible playing. Playing a sport when youre young is the quickest way to gaining a fan in the future. That base understanding of the sport makes the switch to watching games much easier. Otherwise, youre relying on sports fanatics like me to spend their free time learning something completely new. And because there isnt much media hoopla about RL, youre asking them to take an interest in something that doesnt have massive hyper surrounding it. You can see them why someone might not make the time to do so.

Unfortunately there is no easy answer. It starts from grassroots, but we’ve already reached a tipping point in how many children play sports anyway, so it makes it even more difficult. 

You cant create ways to talk about the game if the public is disinterested about the message. I know that firsthand.

The game already has very compelling narratives. What is needs is more fans receptive to the messaging. And that can only be done by getting more people to play the game. People like me are few and far between, and are an exception to the rule. 

Edited by Mr Wind Up
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15 minutes ago, Mr Wind Up said:

I can only use myself as an example, and you make a very good point for how people start to like certain sports.

I can tell you that what RL fans always promoted about the game - the big hits, speed, athleticism and so on - didnt move me one iota. For a long time I watched the game (because I generally can watch any sporting contest) but I was never really interested in what I was watching. It just wasnt compelling in a way to make me get invested in the sport. Importantly, I never played the game, so I really had no connection to the game. And I can tell you that it is very easy to be uninterested in RL - like any sport. There is nothing inherently interesting about the sport to the uninitiated, which is why it’s amusing to see people who think that being exposed to the sport will hook people straight away. When I watched RL as a novice, there was nothing that impressed me, so dont be surprised to learn that most people who arent fans probably share my indifference when I first began.

Over time, because of taking the time to watch games, I got to know the big names in the game. But for many years I watched the game and took no notice of forwards, of what they did. I knew the halves and the wingers because it was obvious even to me what their job was in the team. Didnt know a front rower from a second rower though, and thought they all had the same role of running into people.

Then, one season, I remember deciding to read about the positions, what their role was, that sort of thing. Within a few weeks of doing that, my enjoyment of the game went up tenfold. What helped tremendously was the numbering on the back. The fact that they were numbered 1 to 13 allowed me to easily track who was who, and what their role was in the team. 

And then it all clicked. I realised that in order to get invested in a sport, you need to know the players, and you need to be able to tell on the fly whether what theyre doing on the pitch is good or naff. When you get to this point, a game that you knew nothing about begins to make sense. And the narratives of the game take on much greater meaning, to the point where media coverage becomes interesting, because theyre discussing narratives that you understand.

But the problem is that I actively chose to do all this. I am not the average sports fan. I took a lot of time to learn something new. And you cant expect that of average person on the street. 

Yet once I knew the players and could evaluate players performance on the fly, I became invested in the sport. Thats the key. 

For most people, because they played football when they’re younger, and because media coverage gives them a strong understanding of most of the key players in the game, it’s very easy to fall into following football, and it becomes obvious why the sport is as big as it is. And because they played the game, they have an appreciation of the skill on display that someone who never played never will (like me with RL). 

In rugby league, because I, like many, never played the sport, you’re asking me to take a lot of my time to learn something completely alien. Everyone who’s played football has an idea of what a player theyre watching should be doing. With rugby league, like I said, I had to teach myself this, and it took several months to become comfortable watching games without having to think too much about it.

To answer your question, there is really only one thing that can be done, and thats to get as many people as possible playing. Playing a sport when youre young is the quickest way to gaining a fan in the future. That base understanding of the sport makes the switch to watching games much easier. Otherwise, youre relying on sports fanatics like me to spend their free time learning something completely new. And because there isnt much media hoopla about RL, youre asking them to take an interest in something that doesnt have massive hyper surrounding it. You can see them why someone might not make the time to do so.

Unfortunately there is no easy answer. It starts from grassroots, but we’ve already reached a tipping point in how many children play sports anyway, so it makes it even more difficult. 

You cant create ways to talk about the game if the public is disinterested about the message. I know that firsthand.

The game already has very compelling narratives. What is needs is more fans receptive to the messaging. And that can only be done by getting more people to play the game. People like me are few and far between, and are an exception to the rule. 

Very good post , it's like how some people find Gridiron fascinating , and are willing to pay a fortune to sit in a stadium for 4 hours + , when the actual action lasts about 30 minutes , and others like me think it's garbage 

 

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Our lack of meaningful , competitive International opponents is RL s biggest failing , only by solving that will we ever start to see media and population interest grow 

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1 hour ago, HawkMan said:

I wonder though back in the 1910's or 20's or whenever other sports, notably football spread, and good luck to football, the custodians got off their collective backsides and put the work in, what was RL doing ? Other sports spread, Union, Field Hockey, Cricket, what stopped our custodians? Perhaps they were too busy having internecine squabbles with Union to bother.

Close but not quite right.  They were too busy looking after their little regional footprint and the traditional clubs, leaving all expansion efforts and their backers to their own devices which made things much more difficult for them.

28 minutes ago, Mr Wind Up said:

You cant create ways to talk about the game if the public is disinterested about the message. I know that firsthand.

The game already has very compelling narratives. What is needs is more fans receptive to the messaging. And that can only be done by getting more people to play the game. People like me are few and far between, and are an exception to the rule. 

Experience in North America with Toronto shows that getting newcomers receptive can be done, but only by giving them something different from what other sports give them.  Experience with other sports in North America shows that getting more youngsters to play any sport only happens top-down, by giving them a reason to want to play in the first place.

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1 hour ago, EssexRL said:

Thats a really interesting point HM I’ve never considered before. Why did RL remain so limited in its reach? 

By the time rugby league got into its stride, in the late 1890s, English football already had something rugby league has never had - an elite, nationwide (the key word), professional competition, albeit then only two divisions in size. The fact Manningham switched to football so soon after winning rugby league's inaugural championship is pretty damning. They weren't the only ones. My feeling is rugby league hasn't, doesn't and probably won't ever attract enough mover-and-shaker types with influence and connections in high places. During my time living in several places outside rugby league's heartlands, I found it a bit depressing how much the sport wasn't merely ignored - most people barely knew it even existed.

Edited by Hopping Mad
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1 hour ago, GUBRATS said:

Our lack of meaningful , competitive International opponents is RL s biggest failing , only by solving that will we ever start to see media and population interest grow 

To my mind, it really is this simple.

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1 hour ago, GUBRATS said:

Our lack of meaningful , competitive International opponents is RL s biggest failing , only by solving that will we ever start to see media and population interest grow 

The 2021 World Cup will help in that regard. If we win it live on the Beeb it will be a massive boost.

That and pretending £50k transfers are worth £1m, of course (!)

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2 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

The 2021 World Cup will help in that regard. If we win it live on the Beeb it will be a massive boost.

That and pretending £50k transfers are worth £1m, of course (!)

So we beat Australia , we win the world Cup , hardly a massive challenge in the context of a meaningful competitive world sport ?

 

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3 minutes ago, GUBRATS said:

So we beat Australia , we win the world Cup , hardly a massive challenge in the context of a meaningful competitive world sport ?

 

People got very excited about winning the cricket WC and that’s even more of a ‘British Empire game’ than RL.

Edited by Man of Kent
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1 hour ago, Mr Wind Up said:

I can only use myself as an example, and you make a very good point for how people start to like certain sports.

I can tell you that what RL fans always promoted about the game - the big hits, speed, athleticism and so on - didnt move me one iota. For a long time I watched the game (because I generally can watch any sporting contest) but I was never really interested in what I was watching. It just wasnt compelling in a way to make me get invested in the sport. Importantly, I never played the game, so I really had no connection to the game. And I can tell you that it is very easy to be uninterested in RL - like any sport. There is nothing inherently interesting about the sport to the uninitiated, which is why it’s amusing to see people who think that being exposed to the sport will hook people straight away. When I watched RL as a novice, there was nothing that impressed me, so dont be surprised to learn that most people who arent fans probably share my indifference when I first began.

Over time, because of taking the time to watch games, I got to know the big names in the game. But for many years I watched the game and took no notice of forwards, of what they did. I knew the halves and the wingers because it was obvious even to me what their job was in the team. Didnt know a front rower from a second rower though, and thought they all had the same role of running into people.

Then, one season, I remember deciding to read about the positions, what their role was, that sort of thing. Within a few weeks of doing that, my enjoyment of the game went up tenfold. What helped tremendously was the numbering on the back. The fact that they were numbered 1 to 13 allowed me to easily track who was who, and what their role was in the team. 

And then it all clicked. I realised that in order to get invested in a sport, you need to know the players, and you need to be able to tell on the fly whether what theyre doing on the pitch is good or naff. When you get to this point, a game that you knew nothing about begins to make sense. And the narratives of the game take on much greater meaning, to the point where media coverage becomes interesting, because theyre discussing narratives that you understand.

But the problem is that I actively chose to do all this. I am not the average sports fan. I took a lot of time to learn something new. And you cant expect that of average person on the street. 

Yet once I knew the players and could evaluate players performance on the fly, I became invested in the sport. Thats the key. 

For most people, because they played football when they’re younger, and because media coverage gives them a strong understanding of most of the key players in the game, it’s very easy to fall into following football, and it becomes obvious why the sport is as big as it is. And because they played the game, they have an appreciation of the skill on display that someone who never played never will (like me with RL). 

In rugby league, because I, like many, never played the sport, you’re asking me to take a lot of my time to learn something completely alien. Everyone who’s played football has an idea of what a player theyre watching should be doing. With rugby league, like I said, I had to teach myself this, and it took several months to become comfortable watching games without having to think too much about it.

To answer your question, there is really only one thing that can be done, and thats to get as many people as possible playing. Playing a sport when youre young is the quickest way to gaining a fan in the future. That base understanding of the sport makes the switch to watching games much easier. Otherwise, youre relying on sports fanatics like me to spend their free time learning something completely new. And because there isnt much media hoopla about RL, youre asking them to take an interest in something that doesnt have massive hyper surrounding it. You can see them why someone might not make the time to do so.

Unfortunately there is no easy answer. It starts from grassroots, but we’ve already reached a tipping point in how many children play sports anyway, so it makes it even more difficult. 

You cant create ways to talk about the game if the public is disinterested about the message. I know that firsthand.

The game already has very compelling narratives. What is needs is more fans receptive to the messaging. And that can only be done by getting more people to play the game. People like me are few and far between, and are an exception to the rule. 

I agree with a lot of what you say, where I disagree is that you cant create ways to get people talking  about it, or that the only way of getting it to make sense is to have people choose to read up on it 

I'm a fan of many sports, a lot of what I pick up is pretty much purely by osmosis. That is hearing other people talk about it and learning that way.

Non golf fans know who tiger woods is. None NFL fans know who Tom Brady is. Everyone knows who Michael Jordan is and he hasnt played for 20+ years. Even thousands of miles away Lebron James moving reaches people. 

As not even a new fan but something before that. Just an interested party, you learn a lot more from listening to people talking about the game than you would from watching hours of it. 

It also keeps people invested.in the game. Football fans talk about transfers, gossip about possible transfers, talk about who would fit were and why, who wouldn't and why not. They are interested to see the new signings for their club, for other clubs. Is he worth x amount. NFL and NBA fans do it with the draft. Is he worth this pick or not. MLB do it with salaries. they talk about combine stats, college performances, salaries, transfer fees, draft picks, trade costs etc etc etc. We largely miss all that. We dont create these easy signposts and milestones to the narratives.

I'm no basketball fan, I went to a game when I was in the states. Cant really watch it on tv. I know who Lebron James is and that he is good. 

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12 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

The 2021 World Cup will help in that regard. If we win it live on the Beeb it will be a massive boost.

That and pretending £50k transfers are worth £1m, of course (!)

Except it wont. 

Most people dont know the game, cant access the game, arent exposed to the game, and dont really understand the achievement.

Winning the world.cup would be great but it isnt a silver bullet. In and of itself it wont change an awful lot. 

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