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The Lad

Expansion

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With Ottawa Aces and New York coming in around 2021 to league 1 and apparently full time, what does this mean for rugby league?, will Super League suddenly welcome a 14 team league after years of being against it (I guess they were waiting for the right teams), will the north American teams take over or will they always occupy the space between Super League and Championship?.

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RL really needs to consider which direction it needs to head in.

We need a competition attractive to broadcasters and sponsors, that’s not really something we’ve ever had.

Theres a group of clubs outside of the traditional areas who could transform the image of the game.

Imagine a league with Toronto, New York, Toulouse, Ottawa, York and Newcastle alongside traditionally big clubs like Wigan, Leeds, Hull and St Helens. I think that’s something that could sell far better than what we have now. 

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22 minutes ago, Cdd said:

RL really needs to consider which direction it needs to head in.

We need a competition attractive to broadcasters and sponsors, that’s not really something we’ve ever had.

Theres a group of clubs outside of the traditional areas who could transform the image of the game.

Imagine a league with Toronto, New York, Toulouse, Ottawa, York and Newcastle alongside traditionally big clubs like Wigan, Leeds, Hull and St Helens. I think that’s something that could sell far better than what we have now. 

I’ll ask the question? Where is the investment coming from to support York, Newcastle and even London?

 

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Point of order. New York aren’t in League 1 in 2021. They might compete in the Challenge Cup in 2021 and in League 1 in 2022 but nothing is confirmed. 

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4 hours ago, SL17 said:

I’ll ask the question? Where is the investment coming from to support York, Newcastle and even London?

 

Investment in York, Newcastle, London or whichever existing team will not materialise overnight.  But, if the game actually embraced the likes of Catalans, Toulouse, Wolfpack, Ottawa and even New York - should they commence - and created a structure that is seen to be innovative and exciting to TV and supporters then it is possible that investors may come forward to fund the existing teams that you have mentioned.

But as it currently stands I don’t see investment being forthcoming in the short term.

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5 hours ago, The Lad said:

With Ottawa Aces and New York coming in around 2021 to league 1 and apparently full time, what does this mean for rugby league?, will Super League suddenly welcome a 14 team league after years of being against it (I guess they were waiting for the right teams), will the north American teams take over or will they always occupy the space between Super League and Championship?.

Super League should have stayed at 14 teams, the only reason they reduced the league to 12 was greed, as sky money was split 12 ways instead of 14.

It’s now split 11 ways as bizarrely Toronto don’t get an allocation, despite regularly been on Sky Sports.

Super League should absolutely go back to 14 teams, but there will be resistance to this as Super League chairman will not want to split the Sky money more ways. 

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The game needs a complete overhaul if we’re ever going to compete with the NRL, NFL and Premier League. The main issue is that as rugby league is played in small unfashionable places nobody is interested and none of the existing teams other than Leeds do anything for the game. I’d have a 16 team league as follows, some existing teams would be forced to relocate and there’d be no P&R. 
 

Leeds - can stay where they are but Cas would be incorporated by them  

London (merge the Broncos and Skolars, play at Twickenham)

Liverpool (merge Saints and Widnes and move them there, play at Kings Dock)

Catalans - move them to the Nou Camp

Marseille - would be the flagship club of XIII, Stade Velodrome  

Manchester - buy Salford’s licence, merge them, Wigan and Wire and move to Old Trafford  

Sheffield / Hull Eagles (at KCOM/Bramall Lane) - would be a merger of the Eagles, Huddersfield and the two Hull clubs - would alternate home games between the two cities like the St George Illawarra Dragons do  

Newcastle

Toronto - they’ll need a new stadium

Ottawa

New York

One other North American club, I’m thinking Tampa or Boston.  

Valencia 

Toulouse - merge the existing club with the Union club and they move entirely over to playing League  

Amsterdam Cobras - they would play at Ajax’s ground. 

Dublin

 

Each team would have to have a top class youth set up to grow the player pool, but it would be funded by the massively increased TV revenue. 

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The problem with Super League is that the haves and have-nots are too obvious.

If all Super League clubs were getting good crowds playing in respectable stadia with modern facilities instead of the ancient ruins some do (*cough* Wakefield) I daresay we wouldn’t have these endless expansion threads. 

I’m yet to be convinced that the answer lies solely in new clubs in far-off places where rugby league isn’t played (and 99% probably aren’t aware of it). 

It could be part of the answer but SL also needs to build on its strengths to make existing heartland clubs more Super too. 

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18 minutes ago, Eddie said:

The game needs a complete overhaul if we’re ever going to compete with the NRL, NFL and Premier League. The main issue is that as rugby league is played in small unfashionable places nobody is interested and none of the existing teams other than Leeds do anything for the game. I’d have a 16 team league as follows, some existing teams would be forced to relocate and there’d be no P&R. 
 

Leeds - can stay where they are but Cas would be incorporated by them  

London (merge the Broncos and Skolars, play at Twickenham)

Liverpool (merge Saints and Widnes and move them there, play at Kings Dock)

Catalans - move them to the Nou Camp

Marseille - would be the flagship club of XIII, Stade Velodrome  

Manchester - buy Salford’s licence, merge them, Wigan and Wire and move to Old Trafford  

Sheffield / Hull Eagles (at KCOM/Bramall Lane) - would be a merger of the Eagles, Huddersfield and the two Hull clubs - would alternate home games between the two cities like the St George Illawarra Dragons do  

Newcastle

Toronto - they’ll need a new stadium

Ottawa

New York

One other North American club, I’m thinking Tampa or Boston.  

Valencia 

Toulouse - merge the existing club with the Union club and they move entirely over to playing League  

Amsterdam Cobras - they would play at Ajax’s ground. 

Dublin

 

Each team would have to have a top class youth set up to grow the player pool, but it would be funded by the massively increased TV revenue. 

I would advise against taking this bait.

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I can confirm 30+ less sales for Scotland vs Italy at Workington, after this afternoons test purchase for the Tonga match, £7.50 is extremely reasonable, however a £2.50 'delivery' fee for a walk in purchase is beyond taking the mickey, good luck with that, it's cheaper on the telly.

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I’m convinced that Salford’s crowds will never improve until rugby league becomes relevant with the wider public - people in the area just don’t care about rugby league at the moment. Expansion may be a way to make the sport relevant if there is a plan and further ideas to shake off this M62 image.
 

Unfortunately, I don’t see where Salford fit in with that short term (changing to ‘Manchester’ does nothing in isolation) and I doubt we’ll survive long enough in Super League to find out or for our crowds to benefit.

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4 minutes ago, LR23 said:

I’m convinced that Salford’s crowds will never improve until rugby league becomes relevant with the wider public - people in the area just don’t care about rugby league at the moment. Expansion may be a way to make the sport relevant if there is a plan and further ideas to shake off this M62 image.
 

Unfortunately, I don’t see where Salford fit in with that short term (changing to ‘Manchester’ does nothing in isolation) and I doubt we’ll survive long enough in Super League to find out or for our crowds to benefit.

Salford and Wakefield are Championship material.

They are currently small fish in a small pond. If we make the pond bigger they won’t survive in Super League. This is why they want to keep the salary cap low and are against expansion. They want to keep the whole sport small time so they can sit at the top table. 

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3 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Salford and Wakefield are Championship material.

They are currently small fish in a small pond. If we make the pond bigger they won’t survive in Super League. This is why they want to keep the salary cap low and are against expansion. They want to keep the whole sport small time so they can sit at the top table. 

If there is successful expansion and new teams come into SL sustainably there would be nothing wrong with being in the Championship. As long as there is P&R it could be a really strong and entertaining league, certainly with teams like Wakey, Salford, London, York, Newcastle, Widnes, Leigh etc. In effect you’d see some of the weaker SL clubs step down into it and the weaker Champ teams drop out. Therefore League One would get better too. 

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9 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Salford and Wakefield are Championship material.

They are currently small fish in a small pond. If we make the pond bigger they won’t survive in Super League. This is why they want to keep the salary cap low and are against expansion. They want to keep the whole sport small time so they can sit at the top table. 

Being pedantic but the Salford leadership haven’t spoken out against expansion like some others have. 
 

The issue is that we represent the biggest team in the ‘Manchester’ area. Manchester is undoubtedly somewhere you would want to keep in the game when looking to expand at the same time. It isn’t a rugby league place but it has potential if the profile of the game catches of. A smaller rugby league town has no potential to do much better really.

I do agree that on current crowds and budget we will only hang on for so long at this level though.

 

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Been some good points in here.

I don't see SL growing without more "fashionable" cities being added either. Those fashionable cities have to come from outside England because RL seems to have a class/reputation/branding problem.

It might rub traditionalists up the wrong way but Toronto has probably done more for RL in the northern hemisphere than any single entity in the last 20 years. Ottawa will bolster that.

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It will mean an even smaller talent pool gets diluted even more and the sport becomes poorer for it, there are some dreadful games and some players whose basic skill levels look really poor - compared to say, 20 years ago- unless these "expansion teams" actually produce/source players from elsewhere?

Not to mention the funding for all these "expansion teams" and new players, there isn't enough money within the game to sustain more professional clubs scattered across the hemisphere.

I can envisage a scenario where the 2nd tier is more or less made up of amateur/semi pro players within 3 years.

It's not expansion, it's franchising.

As for expansion, I've love to see it, but do it right, just creating a club somewhere with absolutely zero infrastructure is not expanding, it's just making the product weaker IMO

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1 minute ago, meast said:

It will mean an even smaller talent pool gets diluted even more and the sport becomes poorer for it, there are some dreadful games and some players whose basic skill levels look really poor - compared to say, 20 years ago- unless these "expansion teams" actually produce/source players from elsewhere?

I can envisage a scenario where the 2nd tier is more or less made up of amateur/semi pro players within 3 years.

It's not expansion, it's franchising.

As for expansion, I've love to see it, but do it right, just creating a club somewhere with absolutely zero infrastructure is not expanding, it's just making the product weaker IMO

Exactly what I’ve been saying for years


sometimes you have to take a step backwards to move forward

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People go on about big city’s but nothing would change. 
Newcastle is a football city even if they was in super league they be lucky to get 3k  a week.

Americans aren’t interested in rugby league they have been playing union for years there’s no interest.

 

London tried tested and failed same again no interest down there.

we already got one french club we don’t need another why don’t they merge like people want existing clubs to merge. 

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The lower leagues and Super League needs to work out what they want from expansion, where they want it to go, what help, if any, they’ll get and how they’ll incorporate these sides into the leagues without too much problems for the new sides and those already in the game.

 

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All the concerns about expansion are very relevant and all the possible benefits are pipe dreams without an innovative long term strategy in place agreed by both the RFL and Super League.

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1 hour ago, Pulga said:

Been some good points in here.

I don't see SL growing without more "fashionable" cities being added either. Those fashionable cities have to come from outside England because RL seems to have a class/reputation/branding problem.

It might rub traditionalists up the wrong way but Toronto has probably done more for RL in the northern hemisphere than any single entity in the last 20 years. Ottawa will bolster that.

I agree with that last paragraph, and the puzzle is that the rest of the SL clubs can’t see it. 

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Toronto haven't added to the player pool though have they? they haven't brought in big transatlantic TV deals, or global sponsorship and investment, they haven't got hundreds of thousand of people in Canada and USA playing the game and wanting to be a part of it, they may do all that in the next 20 years but they haven't, yet!

This whole Toronto the saviours thing is nonsense, of course, we want them to be a success and build and grow, like the sport itself, we want a global audience and global investors, but having a club "buy" it's way to the top league and beating semi pro teams along the way isn't doing the game good really?

 

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5 minutes ago, meast said:

Toronto haven't added to the player pool though have they? they haven't brought in big transatlantic TV deals, or global sponsorship and investment, they haven't got hundreds of thousand of people in Canada and USA playing the game and wanting to be a part of it, they may do all that in the next 20 years but they haven't, yet!

This whole Toronto the saviours thing is nonsense, of course, we want them to be a success and build and grow, like the sport itself, we want a global audience and global investors, but having a club "buy" it's way to the top league and beating semi pro teams along the way isn't doing the game good really?

 

Would you expect a team to add to the player pool when they’ve been in existence for 3 years? It wouldn’t say a lot for Rugby League as a game if people could pick it up and play at the top level in that short period of time. 
 

I would argue that they’ve brought in sponsorship and investment though, they clearly have. It’s just that the SL clubs aren’t prepared to share their slice of the pie with them, I honestly don’t know why Argyle bothers but I’m glad he does. 

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1 minute ago, Eddie said:

Would you expect a team to add to the player pool when they’ve been in existence for 3 years? It wouldn’t say a lot for Rugby League as a game if people could pick it up and play at the top level in that short period of time. 
 

I would argue that they’ve brought in sponsorship and investment though, they clearly have. It’s just that the SL clubs aren’t prepared to share their slice of the pie with them, I honestly don’t know why Argyle bothers but I’m glad he does. 

So they haven't done more for the game in 20 years then if they haven't added to the player pool.

What have they brought in in terms of sponsorship etc that other northern hemisphere clubs haven't? I'm talking about the game as a whole, not just their own sponsorship deals?

I agree that they if they are in SL they should be entitled to a share of the central funds, but they agreed to those conditions didn't they?

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1 minute ago, meast said:

So they haven't done more for the game in 20 years then if they haven't added to the player pool.

What have they brought in in terms of sponsorship etc that other northern hemisphere clubs haven't? I'm talking about the game as a whole, not just their own sponsorship deals?

I agree that they if they are in SL they should be entitled to a share of the central funds, but they agreed to those conditions didn't they?

They didn’t have much choice but to agree. 
 

Them bringing their own sponsorship deals is increasing funding in the game. Also nobody knows if other sponsors have paid more because they’re in or not. Given the increased publicity around RL because of TWP it’s quite possible that they have. 

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They did have a choice, they chose to agree.

And I'm talking about the game as a whole, not club sponsors, every club brings in their own sponsorship, I mean , what exactly have Toronto brought to the game in 20 years that other clubs haven't?

I'm not trying to knock Toronto or any other "expansion" clubs but there seems to be a lot of sweet stuff poured over them with very little proof of the pudding.

The reality is that with Toronto, Catalans, Ottowa, whoever,  the game isn't able to sustain more professional teams regardless of how many people in Canada and France are watching games on TV and live.

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