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Are heartland clubs holding back expansion ? Is the reason why our sport doesn't seem to get national due to the fact there's just to many teams entrenched in the heartlands . Are investors put off by this ? Should we reduce the number of heartland clubs at the top table ? Currently there's ten clubs in super league with another 12 (if you include Sheffield) in the second tier . Ideally Super league could do with reducing to 8 heartland teams with Catalan and Toulouse along with Toronto and Ottawa making up the 12 . The big question is which 8 Heartland clubs would be in the 8 .

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Are you seriously proposing to remove two long established clubs and replace them with one team who’ve never played a game and don’t have any players, and another who have been unsuccessfully trying to get promoted for a few years and struggle to attract 2,000 fans to games, or is this a wind up?

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Its not that they are holding the game back, but they certainly are setting the (particularly financial) rules up in their favour.

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42 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Are you seriously proposing to remove two long established clubs and replace them with one team who’ve never played a game and don’t have any players, and another who have been unsuccessfully trying to get promoted for a few years and struggle to attract 2,000 fans to games, or is this a wind up?

Huddersfield, wakefield  and Salford didn't get much bigger gates in Championship and often struggle to get gates over 3,000 for certain games in super league


Chief Crazy Eagle

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14 minutes ago, superten said:

Huddersfield, wakefield  and Salford didn't get much bigger gates in Championship and often struggle to get gates over 3,000 for certain games in super league

Yeah, and...?

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1 hour ago, superten said:

Are heartland clubs holding back expansion ? Is the reason why our sport doesn't seem to get national due to the fact there's just to many teams entrenched in the heartlands . Are investors put off by this ? Should we reduce the number of heartland clubs at the top table ? Currently there's ten clubs in super league with another 12 (if you include Sheffield) in the second tier . Ideally Super league could do with reducing to 8 heartland teams with Catalan and Toulouse along with Toronto and Ottawa making up the 12 . The big question is which 8 Heartland clubs would be in the 8 .

So if you got rid of several heartland clubs do you think the number of new regular attenders of the sport would vastly outweigh those who no longer have their own team, to watch ?

Fulham / London are 40 years old this year so have had plenty of time to become a part of the sporting life in an area where there is very little Rugby League for people to split their club affiliations between.  Many will say it has been bad management which has caused them not to be a bigger name in the sporting world yet surely someone in that 40 years should have been able to make them so .... yet that is if the people of London actually wanted such a team !

Similarly with Sheffield ... yes they had success for a few seasons but is that also just bad managment which has caused them not to have made a long-lasting impression on the people of that city ?  And what about other non-heartland clubs who have come and gone ... Cardiff, Mansfield, Carlisle, Scarborough, Nottingham, Bridgend, Kent Invicta, and even Paris ?

Yet, when Fulham came on the scene in 1980, there were 30 professional clubs, all in the heartland of Rugby League - and how many of those are no longer in the Rugby League ?    Three ... Blackpool, Bramley and Huyton.

So why might it be that 27 heartland clubs have survived when so many from other areas of the country have failed to do so ?  Have the 27 just all been better managed than those who have come and gone ... I very much doubt it.  Many of those 27 might not attract many thousands of spectators but at least they do get a regular following  - and that is because those teams are part of the local community and are "their team".

So, after their 40 years of existance as a non-heartland club let's compare London with Oldham, a true heartland RL club. As I said earlier, some might say that London have been badly managed and that has stopped their progression ... yet do those same people think that Oldham have been managed any better ?  I again doubt it, so no reason there to differentiate between the two clubs.  This season both London and Oldham have both played three home games, two in the Championship and one in the Challenge Cup and while Oldham's average home attendance is exactly 1,200, the same figure for London is 771.

Therefore, as I started with ... if you get rid of some heartland clubs and replace them with teams in non-heartland areas then how sure can you be that attendance figures at matches would significantly increase ?  In my view, it isn't a matter of just having new teams to make the sport look more national but whether people in those areas actually want such a team to support.

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5 hours ago, superten said:

Are heartland clubs holding back expansion ? Is the reason why our sport doesn't seem to get national due to the fact there's just to many teams entrenched in the heartlands . Are investors put off by this ? Should we reduce the number of heartland clubs at the top table ? Currently there's ten clubs in super league with another 12 (if you include Sheffield) in the second tier . Ideally Super league could do with reducing to 8 heartland teams with Catalan and Toulouse along with Toronto and Ottawa making up the 12 . The big question is which 8 Heartland clubs would be in the 8 .

The answer to your questions is yes, but what you suggest there is not an answer.

Tony Collins' Rugby Reloaded podcasts include two very interesting and enlightening interviews with former St Helens Chief Executive Sean McGuire.  McGuire says there that the reason why there's no little money in the game is that with the possible exception of Leeds its traditional pro clubs are all in smallish economically disadvantaged towns where there's no real money to speak of, and what you suggest above wouldn't change that materially.  It would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The only thing which could change that materially would be the creation of a whole new franchised league which wouldn't include any of the heartland clubs but would instead have its franchises — and I mean all of them — located in big globally recognized cities strategically chosen to maximize its appeal to broadcasters and sponsors so as to bring in as much money from those sources as possible and put it on a solid financial footing from the start.  It would of course need rich franchise owners too and a strong promotional push to attract a whole new audience to this wonderful sport to buy the league's tickets, merchandise, etc. and watch on TV too.  In short it would have to be full of Torontos.

Edited by Big Picture
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5 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

The answer to your questions is yes, but what you suggest there is not an answer.

Tony Collins' Rugby Reloaded podcasts include two very interesting and enlightening interviews with former St Helens Chief Executive Sean McGuire.  McGuire says there that the reason why there's no little money in the game is that with the possible exception of Leeds its traditional pro clubs are all in smallish economically disadvantaged towns where there's no real money to speak of, and what you suggest above wouldn't change that materially.  It would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The only thing which could change that materially would be the creation of a whole new franchised league which wouldn't include any of the heartland clubs but would instead have its franchises — and I mean all of them — located in big globally recognized cities strategically chosen to maximize its appeal to broadcasters and sponsors so as to bring in as much money from those sources as possible and put it on a solid financial footing from the start.  It would of course need rich franchise owners too and a strong promotional push to attract a whole new audience to this wonderful sport to but the league's tickets, merchandise, etc. and watch on TV too.  In short it would have to be full of Torontos.

if we went with two teams from each of the main areas so East Yorks Hull FC & Hull KR , WEST Yorks  Leeds & Bradford . Merseyside St Helens & Widnes while Greater Mancs Wigan & Warrington I know Warrington isn't in greater Mancs but BBC Manchester does cover there games .

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Chief Crazy Eagle

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46 minutes ago, superten said:

Huddersfield, wakefield  and Salford didn't get much bigger gates in Championship and often struggle to get gates over 3,000 for certain games in super league

What of it?

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2 minutes ago, superten said:

if we went with two teams from each of the main areas so East Yorks Hull FC & Hull KR , WEST Yorks  Leeds & Bradford . Merseyside St Helens & Widnes while Greater Mancs Wigan & Warrington I know Warrington isn't in greater Mancs but BBC Manchester does cover there games .

Now I know this is a wind up. 

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13 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

The answer to your questions is yes, but what you suggest there is not an answer.

Tony Collins' Rugby Reloaded podcasts include two very interesting and enlightening interviews with former St Helens Chief Executive Sean McGuire.  McGuire says there that the reason why there's no little money in the game is that with the possible exception of Leeds its traditional pro clubs are all in smallish economically disadvantaged towns where there's no real money to speak of, and what you suggest above wouldn't change that materially.  It would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The only thing which could change that materially would be the creation of a whole new franchised league which wouldn't include any of the heartland clubs but would instead have its franchises — and I mean all of them — located in big globally recognized cities strategically chosen to maximize its appeal to broadcasters and sponsors so as to bring in as much money from those sources as possible and put it on a solid financial footing from the start.  It would of course need rich franchise owners too and a strong promotional push to attract a whole new audience to this wonderful sport to but the league's tickets, merchandise, etc. and watch on TV too.  In short it would have to be full of Torontos.

A lot of top football teams are (and have been) in economically disadvantaged towns and cities too - it never harmed Liverpool in the 70s and 80s. 

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RL holds back RL. We never look ahead and examine what ifs. What if Ottawa then New Jersey win a place in SL, Toulouse also - thats 7 UK clubs to provide careers for juniors to aspire to. If we don’t want them in SL then don’t admit them, if we do then when do we start expanding it. We have great opportunities and threats, unless  we are brave we will grow the cheap sport perception and shrink further 

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33 minutes ago, superten said:

if we went with two teams from each of the main areas so East Yorks Hull FC & Hull KR , WEST Yorks  Leeds & Bradford . Merseyside St Helens & Widnes while Greater Mancs Wigan & Warrington I know Warrington isn't in greater Mancs but BBC Manchester does cover there games .

Then you'd still have mostly teams from smallish economically disadvantaged towns unable to attract the sort of money needed, and you'd blow up the existing leagues too so you'd accomplish nothing other than to make things worse.  How exactly is what you describe there going to be worth more to Sky (for example) than what the game can offer them now?

31 minutes ago, Eddie said:

A lot of top football teams are (and have been) in economically disadvantaged towns and cities too - it never harmed Liverpool in the 70s and 80s. 

I presume that soccer is the brand of football you mean there?  If so,  the presence of top teams in economically disadvantaged towns has been offset by the presence of other teams in big cities which enables their league to attract serious money from broadcasters and sponsors and those top teams also get to play in multinational continental competitions like the Champions League and EUFA League which boosts their stature further.  You're comparing apples to oranges there.

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7 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

Then you'd still have mostly teams from smallish economically disadvantaged towns unable to attract the sort of money needed, and you'd blow up the existing leagues too so you'd accomplish nothing other than to make things worse.  How exactly is what you describe there going to be worth more to Sky (for example) than what the game can offer them now?

I presume that soccer is the brand of football you mean there?  If so,  the presence of top teams in economically disadvantaged towns has been offset by the presence of other teams in big cities which enables their league to attract serious money from broadcasters and sponsors and those top teams also get to play in multinational continental competitions like the Champions League and EUFA League which boosts their stature further.  You're comparing apples to oranges there.

I’m talking about in previous times, when football was nowhere near as awash with money as it is now. It’s a reasonable comparison given the circumstances - economically wealthy areas do not necessarily produce the best sports teams. 

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Personally speaking I value EVERY club we have in this wonderful sport however the reality is Sean McGuire is spot on in what he says.

Which comes back to what my old friend in the NFL said expand or die.

 

Edited by ATLANTISMAN

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It is quite obvious to me that the game is in the heartlands for a reason. The reason being nobody else wants it otherwise after a 100 years plus it would be nation wide

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sometimes you have to take a step backwards to move forward

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53 minutes ago, ATLANTISMAN said:

Personally speaking I value EVERY club we have in this wonderful sport however the reality is Sean McGuire is spot on in what he says.

Which comes back to what my old friend in the NFL said expand to die.

 

And that expansion can only come about through a separate and distinct organization which disrupts the traditional clubs as little as possible.

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2 hours ago, RL does what Sky says said:

Fulham / London are 40 years old this year so have had plenty of time to become a part of the sporting life in an area where there is very little Rugby League for people to split their club affiliations between.  Many will say it has been bad management which has caused them not to be a bigger name in the sporting world yet surely someone in that 40 years should have been able to make them so .... yet that is if the people of London actually wanted such a team !

Similarly with Sheffield ... yes they had success for a few seasons but is that also just bad managment which has caused them not to have made a long-lasting impression on the people of that city ?

Yet, when Fulham came on the scene in 1980, there were 30 professional clubs, all in the heartland of Rugby League - and how many of those are no longer in the Rugby League ?    Three ... Blackpool, Bramley and Huyton.

So, after their 40 years of existance as a non-heartland club let's compare London with Oldham, a true heartland RL club. As I said earlier, some might say that London have been badly managed and that has stopped their progression ... yet do those same people think that Oldham have been managed any better ?  I again doubt it, so no reason there to differentiate between the two clubs.  This season both London and Oldham have both played three home games, two in the Championship and one in the Challenge Cup and while Oldham's average home attendance is exactly 1,200, the same figure for London is 771.

In response, Firstly the London nomads have back and forth across the capital for their existence unlike Heartland clubs .Secondly Sheffield a short time after winning the cup were merged with Huddersfield. Given all of the problems and the attitudes of people such as yourself, surely the point is how tenaciously the game has clung on in both locations. For if you were to be believed everyone else might as well just pack up and go.

You are also ignoring the fact that both clubs now develop their own players through the academy system.

And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, lots of heartland clubs average attendances are boosted by away followings. In fact many super league bids are predicated on away fans coming along not expanding their own fanvase as their next door neigbours have already tapped that market out..

Still you can aways stick with the heartland and its ageing and declining fan base. Your problem of course being you might not care about the rest of the Country but of course, this also applies in reverse, as you will find out with a M62 league with a French club and an artificial one tries to get a TV deal .

 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, DEANO said:

It is quite obvious to me that the game is in the heartlands for a reason. The reason being nobody else wants it otherwise after a 100 years plus it would be nation wide

Agreed.  And what do we want expansion for ?   Yes to make more people awre of the sport .... but of they still don't wan to know after all this time then how long do we kep pushing it at them ?

If we finish up with London, Toronoto, Toulouse, Catalan, Ottawa and New York in Super League then how do people in the heartlands watch it ?  Do we want a game that's a good marketing tool on tv but we can't go to watch live or do we want teams who we can still go out onto the terraces and support ?

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14 minutes ago, THE RED ROOSTER said:

In response, Firstly the London nomads have back and forth across the capital for their existence unlike Heartland clubs .Secondly Sheffield a short time after winning the cup were merged with Huddersfield. Given all of the problems and the attitudes of people such as yourself, surely the point is how tenaciously the game has clung on in both locations. For if you were to be believed everyone else might as well just pack up and go.

You are also ignoring the fact that both clubs now develop their own players through the academy system.

And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, lots of heartland clubs average attendances are boosted by away followings. In fact many super league bids are predicated on away fans coming along not expanding their own fanvase as their next door neigbours have already tapped that market out..

Still you can aways stick with the heartland and its ageing and declining fan base. Your problem of course being you might not care about the rest of the Country but of course, this also applies in reverse, as you will find out with a M62 league with a French club and an artificial one tries to get a TV deal .

So whose fault is it that the London clubs have gone back and forth .... and why has it been necessary to do so ?  Yes, Sheffield were merged with Huddersfield but again, why  and whose fault was that ?  Irrespective of those particular occurances, the fact is that both clubs have not attratced many more fans than have clubs in the heartland.

Since having to leave Watersheddings, Oldham have also gone from ground to ground to ground ... yet they are still this season getting a better average attendance than London ... so what's the difference in Oldham moving to London moving ?

Yes, lots of heartland clubs' attendances are boosted by an away following ... but aren't the likes of London's and Sheffield's attendances also ?  What's the difference ?

An ageing and decling fanbase in the heartlands ? Even if so then where is the increase in support for those not in that area (ie Sheffield and London) who have now been in the league for many years and still can't get the crowds through the turnstiles?

Edited by RL does what Sky says

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3 hours ago, RL does what Sky says said:

 

Yet, when Fulham came on the scene in 1980, there were 30 professional clubs, all in the heartland of Rugby League - and how many of those are no longer in the Rugby League ?    Three ... Blackpool, Bramley and Huyton.

You could argue (I would) that of those three only Bramley were a heartlands club. Despite being only 6 miles apart, Huyton and St Helens might as well be on different planets. 

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Just now, Eddie said:

You could argue (I would) that of those three only Bramley were a heartlands club. Despite being only 6 miles apart, Huyton and St Helens might as well be on different planets. 

I was going to add a point about that to my original post but forgot to do so.  Yes, Huyton was in a football stronghold and the resident population of Blackpool includes many of retirement age who maybe themselves didn't come from the RL heartlands and so were never really interested in the game. Bramley also had both Leeds and Hunslet to fight over for crowds.

Yet the remaining 27 are still there despite all the same problems - and maybe more - that many of the "here today, gone tomorrow" clubs also endured.

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27 minutes ago, RL does what Sky says said:

Agreed.  And what do we want expansion for ?   Yes to make more people awre of the sport .... but of they still don't wan to know after all this time then how long do we kep pushing it at them ?

If we finish up with London, Toronoto, Toulouse, Catalan, Ottawa and New York in Super League then how do people in the heartlands watch it ?  Do we want a game that's a good marketing tool on tv but we can't go to watch live or do we want teams who we can still go out onto the terraces and support ?

You could have both if the big city teams are in one league and the traditional clubs are in another.  Then you could watch the former on TV and the latter live where you live just like always.

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The reality is that the "big city clubs" would need millions and millions of ££ to get established, and would probably continue to lose money for up to a decade. I imagine a budget of £20m+ to cover losses over the first decade might be needed to get a top flight club up and running from scratch - Toronto is well on track for that level of loss.

That's not a reason to not do it - but people need to be realistic; if you invent a new top flight with say four current clubs and six expansion franchises there is every chance the expansion clubs run out of cash within a couple of years, the four heartlands clubs are left but the teams which have been excluded have been crippled and their fans disenfranchised and disillusioned.

Expansion is difficult nowadays because the sports market is so saturated and loyalties to both sports and to clubs so entrenched. It's not impossible but we need to be realistic about what can realistically be achieved - and remember that just jetissoning Rugby League clubs and strong Rugby League areas because they don't fit a vision is a dangerous game to play when there aren't that many strong Rugby League areas to begin with.

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