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The Future is League

USA sports fans in awe of Rugby League hits

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14 minutes ago, Copa said:

People who have been here a lot longer than me have told me that before the Raiders appeared Australian Rules football  was fairly dominant. The Raiders changed that. The Raiders are the main sports show in Canberra these days.

I think Canberra has a more equal mix of the main sports than most other parts of Australia. When the afl comes to town a large number of AFL fans attend even if their team isn’t playing. And then we have the Brumbies and a popular women’s basketball team.

 

Edited by Mister Ting

Learn to listen without distortion and learn to look without imagination.

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8 hours ago, TheReaper said:

 I can't find the graphic that shows it, but it's a lot closer than you think. I saw a regional break down, BC and Ontario were slightly higher interest in NFL, and the Prairies were higher CFL interest, but nationally it is very close. I'll try to dig it up.

Your perception seems to fit what I've heard about Lions crowds, but Hamilton and Ottawa have a large number of younger fans. The Ticats are vibrant as ever as the big team in town here, and when I went to an Ottawa game last year I got the same vibe - lot of young people having a very good time as families and the older crowd. Both teams, while having smaller stadiums, have been filling them up pretty well. 

Found it:

leagues2.thumb.PNG.fc40c2c1b5d0280151e3dbe2cea38df0.PNG

breakdown.PNG.b69d8600fcf2a13ee7df7f7b025b0330.PNG

preference.thumb.PNG.78630afeb770fe83cff3cd07aa68794d.PNG

So the CFL does skew older. The previous 2014 poll had CFL slightly higher than NFL, it's dead even now so it is sliding a bit. 

http://angusreid.org/cfl-or-nfl/

God I miss football

It’s interesting, I expected the prairies to be more CFL oriented, here in BC I would say it’s not even close, not a single person I work with, and very few customers, watch CFL. Obviously a lot has to do with the recent successes of the Seattle Seahawks, plus having the 49ers in the same time zone, but also because young people in BC just don’t identify with the Lions, which is a major reason the crowds are below 20,000, I understand that the Argos have the same problem, and that in itself is an issue for the league, when the teams in 2 of Canada’s largest cities are struggling so badly.

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On 09/07/2020 at 13:53, unapologetic pedant said:

Agree with all of this bar two points.

First, the use of footy or football for RL in the eastern states is purely colloquial. They can hardly be seen as "relinquishing the rugby tag" when their primary organisation is the National Rugby League, and the sport is branded and marketed as NRL.

Second, the failure on this thread (and multiple others) to come up with an apposite substitute name is not the consequence of a lack of verbal dexterity. Every option would be as likely to sow confusion as resolve it. We can only relentlessly, painstakingly, assert the terms "Rugby league" and "Rugby Union", never using only "Rugby" to describe either. If we want to abbreviate do so to "League" or "Union", never to "Rugby". RL fans should have a swear box for every time they say "Rugby" unaccompanied.

The problem with your last bit is that RU fans are not going to play ball because they have no need to. Theirs is a deliberate ploy to promote their game as "rugby" knowing that its wider geographical base and the larger profile of their international game means that the vast majority of neutrals think of RU when they hear the term "rugby" and in very many cases without even knowing that there are 2 versions of the sport. Said use of "rugby" thus basically neutralises us. It's very clever really. If I had a pound for every rugby-based conversation I've begun with someone that might take in things like the All Blacks, a RU World Cup where England did well etc. before trying to explain I watch rugby league not union and then getting a blank look I would be a rich man indeed.

So the point is that it's basically not beneficial in a wide international sense for rugby league to be called rugby league. That might be an uncomfortable truth for many but it is a truth nonetheless. It really doesn't matter what discipline we apply to our language as RL fans - we're basically a Betamax in a VHS world (quite literally as of course the less popular Betamax was the superior product). I don't have any problem with Aussie RL fans using the term "footy" as the branding problem is much greater than them and their colloquialism. In very many areas of the world it's about how we even try to get a foot in the door.

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1 hour ago, CanadianRugger said:

We are in awe with NRL.  We laugh at how poorly run the game in the NH is 😆

The size of a sport usually determines how successful it is more than the administration of said sport. Take soccer for example. FIFA is an organisation that at times beggars belief the way it is run. Holding a WC in Qatar, allegation of rigged voting etc. Yet it can be the most incompetently organised sport in the world and still be a winner because the game is so big.

The NRL is no shining light on how to run a sport but RL is so popular in certain areas of Australia it will succeed despite the administrators. RL isn’t a dominant sport anywhere in the UK except in some smaller towns straddling the M62. It has very little margin for error in the decisions it makes because it lives hand to mouth.

So you may joke about laughing at NH RL but I'm impressed that it exists at all. The sheer quality of the product keeps Sky throwing some crumbs it’s way and the only reason there is pro RL in the NH. The situation is even worse in France. 
 

I see the game moving into Canada/US as a way to break the stagnant position RL in the NH finds itself in. COVID-19 has been a serious issue for a sport was already struggling. Laugh if you wish but I don’t see it deserving of that. 

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My blog: https://rugbyl.blogspot.co.nz/

It takes wisdom to know when a discussion has run its course.

It takes reasonableness to end that discussion. 

 

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43 minutes ago, RayCee said:

The size of a sport usually determines how successful it is more than the administration of said sport. Take soccer for example. FIFA is an organisation that at times beggars belief the way it is run. Holding a WC in Qatar, allegation of rigged voting etc. Yet it can be the most incompetently organised sport in the world and still be a winner because the game is so big.

The NRL is no shining light on how to run a sport but RL is so popular in certain areas of Australia it will succeed despite the administrators. RL isn’t a dominant sport anywhere in the UK except in some smaller towns straddling the M62. It has very little margin for error in the decisions it makes because it lives hand to mouth.

So you may joke about laughing at NH RL but I'm impressed that it exists at all. The sheer quality of the product keeps Sky throwing some crumbs it’s way and the only reason there is pro RL in the NH. The situation is even worse in France. 
 

I see the game moving into Canada/US as a way to break the stagnant position RL in the NH finds itself in. COVID-19 has been a serious issue for a sport was already struggling. Laugh if you wish but I don’t see it deserving of that. 

Been a bit quiet of late Ray.Hope all is OK.Excellent post!

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On 10/07/2020 at 22:25, unapologetic pedant said:

Canberra seems to be an unusual case. I read somewhere that in the Raiders` early days, when they were playing at Queanbeyan, RL was the fourth most popular code behind Aussie Rules, Soccer, and Union, in the ACT.

@Copa @The Rocket, I could give a more comprehensive history of sport in Canberra, but I'm going to try to keep it detailed as necessary but as brief as possible.

The first major group, and one of the biggest, to relocate to Canberra once it became a city were public servants from Melbourne, and obviously being from Melbourne they brought their culture with them. Particularly in the early years (20s-50s ish) that almost made Canberra like a colony of Victoria in NSW, and part of that was Aussie Rules being very popular and easily biggest sport in Canberra, however as soon as you crossed the border RL was king, and still is to this day.

Aside from that you have a very strong private school culture in Canberra, and with that comes a strong RU culture, and after WWII a steady flow immigrants from Europe moved into the region, many of them to work on the Snowy Hydro dam, which gave soccer, which was already popular, a big boost.

Jumping ahead to the 1970s (i.e. just before the Raiders) Aussie Rules was easily the biggest sport in Canberra it's self, followed by RU, but RU was only really big because of the private schools, take them away and it still would have been popular but nowhere near as big as it was/is, and RL and Soccer were just behind them (which was bigger is splitting hairs). However if you take the whole region into account, and not just Canberra, then RL was far and away the most popular sport.

Basketball and the Canberra Cannons were the kings of Canberra in the 80s (I and many other people legitimately thought that it was going to takeover), but leaving that detour aside, the Raiders entered the NSWRL in 82, but that didn't really see an major change in the sporting landscape of Canberra until the late 80s and particularly through the 90s, starting in 87, when the Raiders made their first grand final, through to about 2000 when the golden era was over. RL exploded in Canberra through that time, it jumped straight to the most popular sport and peaked in popularity about 95-96, but since then it's always been one of the two most popular sports.

For the sake of brevity I'm going to skip over the Brumbies and RU's boom in the early 00s and the AFL's continued forays in Canberra , but you should know that like the Cannons in the 80s those were an important time in the formation of Canberra's current sporting culture.

So jumping to today; the suggestion that Rocket made that Aussie Rules had been driven out of Canberra is ridiculous, alongside RL Aussie Rules is one of the two biggest sports in Canberra by far. 

Which is the biggest of the two is hard to tell, I'd say that the perception that RL is bigger is only because it gets more exposure because of the Raiders, while Aussie Rules's fan base in Canberra is more split because they don't have a team to unify behind. Suffice it to say that if the AFL put a team in Canberra today it'd easily be as big as, if not bigger than, the Raiders, and the Raiders are going through a bit of a boom period because of their success in 2016 and last year. . .

RU and soccer continue to follow behind, but again, which is bigger is hard to tell with any accuracy, and again you get a situation where RU gets more exposure than soccer because of the Brumbies, but if the A-league put a team in Canberra it'd be of similar size to the Brumbies overnight. But on top of that you have a situation where the Brumbies are suffering because RU is struggling in Australia in general, and I have no doubt that if the ARU could get it's together that the Brumbies would bounce back alongside it.

Long story short, Canberra's is effectively on the front lines of a century old culture war between Melbourne and Sydney fighting to see which will inform the dominant culture of Australia, as such Canberra's sporting (and cultural) history is complicated compared to the rest of the country, and aside from in the early days of the city it's never been obvious which sport (or cultural influence) is dominant. Two things are for sure though, firstly currently Melbourne is winning that culture war, and secondly that RL should never get comfortable in their position in Canberra.

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2 hours ago, RayCee said:

The size of a sport usually determines how successful it is more than the administration of said sport. Take soccer for example. FIFA is an organisation that at times beggars belief the way it is run. Holding a WC in Qatar, allegation of rigged voting etc. Yet it can be the most incompetently organised sport in the world and still be a winner because the game is so big.

The NRL is no shining light on how to run a sport but RL is so popular in certain areas of Australia it will succeed despite the administrators. RL isn’t a dominant sport anywhere in the UK except in some smaller towns straddling the M62. It has very little margin for error in the decisions it makes because it lives hand to mouth.

So you may joke about laughing at NH RL but I'm impressed that it exists at all. The sheer quality of the product keeps Sky throwing some crumbs it’s way and the only reason there is pro RL in the NH. The situation is even worse in France. 
 

I see the game moving into Canada/US as a way to break the stagnant position RL in the NH finds itself in. COVID-19 has been a serious issue for a sport was already struggling. Laugh if you wish but I don’t see it deserving of that. 

I also see the future expansion and growth of the sport being in Canada/USA/France and Mainland Europe.

Rugby League has an incredibly good product that I enjoy watching.  The sport is run and administered in an absolute shambolic way though.

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2 hours ago, CanadianRugger said:

I also see the future expansion and growth of the sport being in Canada/USA/France and Mainland Europe.

Rugby League has an incredibly good product that I enjoy watching.  The sport is run and administered in an absolute shambolic way though.

RayCee makes some sound points in defence of the RFL. The highly centralised nature of politics and media in England means that anything concentrated in the North is always up against it. However, though I wouldn`t go as far as you, the administration leaves a lot to be desired.

The hope in new territories is that if they could grow to a sustainable level they would make the game their own. In particular I would love to see some of the more analytical approach of American Football/Canadian Football applied to RL.

Edited by unapologetic pedant

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4 hours ago, frank said:

Been a bit quiet of late Ray.Hope all is OK.Excellent post!

Hi Frank. Yes fine thanks. Been busy on my car blog and with little happening in RL haven’t come as much. Hope all is well with you. 


My blog: https://rugbyl.blogspot.co.nz/

It takes wisdom to know when a discussion has run its course.

It takes reasonableness to end that discussion. 

 

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10 hours ago, DeadShotKeen said:

The problem with your last bit is that RU fans are not going to play ball because they have no need to. Theirs is a deliberate ploy to promote their game as "rugby" knowing that its wider geographical base and the larger profile of their international game means that the vast majority of neutrals think of RU when they hear the term "rugby" and in very many cases without even knowing that there are 2 versions of the sport. Said use of "rugby" thus basically neutralises us. It's very clever really. If I had a pound for every rugby-based conversation I've begun with someone that might take in things like the All Blacks, a RU World Cup where England did well etc. before trying to explain I watch rugby league not union and then getting a blank look I would be a rich man indeed.

So the point is that it's basically not beneficial in a wide international sense for rugby league to be called rugby league. That might be an uncomfortable truth for many but it is a truth nonetheless. It really doesn't matter what discipline we apply to our language as RL fans - we're basically a Betamax in a VHS world (quite literally as of course the less popular Betamax was the superior product). I don't have any problem with Aussie RL fans using the term "footy" as the branding problem is much greater than them and their colloquialism. In very many areas of the world it's about how we even try to get a foot in the door.

What a great metaphor/analogy, Betamax in a VHS world.

There-in lies the solution.

We should change the name of the game to Alphamax! 

Edited by fighting irish
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Alphamax football, Alphamax league, or Alphamax treize, no danger of being confused with Ra Ra or netball or any other bl......dy sport on the planet. I love it! 

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3 hours ago, RayCee said:

Hi Frank. Yes fine thanks. Been busy on my car blog and with little happening in RL haven’t come as much. Hope all is well with you. 

Pleased to hear all is well Ray. I'm fine thanks.

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12 hours ago, CanadianRugger said:

We are in awe with NRL.  We laugh at how poorly run the game in the NH is 😆

Yep we should just give up in the NH..... shame as SL games are far more entertaining and have far better match day crowd atmosphere than the NRL but I guess North Americas always think bigger is better....

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19 hours ago, RayCee said:

The NRL is no shining light on how to run a sport but RL is so popular in certain areas of Australia it will succeed despite the administrators. 

This is a line that is used a lot (and generally to excuse the poor running of the game here) but I don't think is something that stands up to much scrutiny. Not saying that NRL has always been fabulously run (and there are certainly some clangers in recent times) but if you look at the brave decisions they took in the 80s and 90s to expand the game beyond its Sydney and Brisbane heartlands and then trace the game's increasing viewer and participation base since then it seems clear to me that the 2 things are inextricably linked. By your reckoning those decisions didn't matter in relation to the growth as the sport was huge so would have succeeded without them (ie growing at will). I personally doubt that. It's not that difficult to envisage strong resistance to expansion into Canberra, Melbourne, NZ etc. and towards contraction from 12 to 9 Sydney clubs leading to a more introverted, parochial leadership with a "No problems here - all good as we are" mentality and the sport now (relatively) struggling in much the same way as our M62 based version does.

I would say that the running of NRL in the 1980s and 1990s (post-"Super League wars") is pretty much the shining example of how any sport with a limited geographical imprint should look to both thrive in its heartlands and continue to grow.

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1 hour ago, DeadShotKeen said:

This is a line that is used a lot (and generally to excuse the poor running of the game here) but I don't think is something that stands up to much scrutiny. Not saying that NRL has always been fabulously run (and there are certainly some clangers in recent times) but if you look at the brave decisions they took in the 80s and 90s to expand the game beyond its Sydney and Brisbane heartlands and then trace the game's increasing viewer and participation base since then it seems clear to me that the 2 things are inextricably linked. By your reckoning those decisions didn't matter in relation to the growth as the sport was huge so would have succeeded without them (ie growing at will). I personally doubt that. It's not that difficult to envisage strong resistance to expansion into Canberra, Melbourne, NZ etc. and towards contraction from 12 to 9 Sydney clubs leading to a more introverted, parochial leadership with a "No problems here - all good as we are" mentality and the sport now (relatively) struggling in much the same way as our M62 based version does.

I would say that the running of NRL in the 1980s and 1990s (post-"Super League wars") is pretty much the shining example of how any sport with a limited geographical imprint should look to both thrive in its heartlands and continue to grow.

I would agree that the ARL back then we’re progressive and really did well in many areas. Sadly that’s not the way it is now.

Edited by RayCee

My blog: https://rugbyl.blogspot.co.nz/

It takes wisdom to know when a discussion has run its course.

It takes reasonableness to end that discussion. 

 

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1 hour ago, DeadShotKeen said:

This is a line that is used a lot (and generally to excuse the poor running of the game here) but I don't think is something that stands up to much scrutiny. Not saying that NRL has always been fabulously run (and there are certainly some clangers in recent times) but if you look at the brave decisions they took in the 80s and 90s to expand the game beyond its Sydney and Brisbane heartlands and then trace the game's increasing viewer and participation base since then it seems clear to me that the 2 things are inextricably linked. By your reckoning those decisions didn't matter in relation to the growth as the sport was huge so would have succeeded without them (ie growing at will). I personally doubt that. It's not that difficult to envisage strong resistance to expansion into Canberra, Melbourne, NZ etc. and towards contraction from 12 to 9 Sydney clubs leading to a more introverted, parochial leadership with a "No problems here - all good as we are" mentality and the sport now (relatively) struggling in much the same way as our M62 based version does.

I would say that the running of NRL in the 1980s and 1990s (post-"Super League wars") is pretty much the shining example of how any sport with a limited geographical imprint should look to both thrive in its heartlands and continue to grow.

You're overlooking the fact that Sydney is Australia's biggest city and Brisbane its third biggest, so the Aussie RL heartland is a lot bigger and richer than the British RL heartland and by some distance too.  That would allow the sport down there to do well even without expansion which the British game can not do.

The ARL was shortsighted even as it was expanding, e.g. by making the team in Perth pay for visiting teams' flights and accomodation.

Edited by Big Picture
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2 hours ago, Big Picture said:

You're overlooking the fact that Sydney is Australia's biggest city and Brisbane its third biggest, so the Aussie RL heartland is a lot bigger and richer than the British RL heartland and by some distance too.  That would allow the sport down there to do well even without expansion which the British game can not do.

The ARL was shortsighted even as it was expanding, e.g. by making the team in Perth pay for visiting teams' flights and accomodation.

Describing Sydney and Brisbane as the heartlands of Aus RL, can neglect the fact that pro rata the game is at least as strong in most areas of NSW outside of Sydney and most areas of QLD outside of Brisbane. All this heartland support provides a backdrop for NRL franchises that we don`t have. You can go just a few miles out of an English RL town and find hardly any awareness of the game.

North Queensland was as strong an RL area as anywhere before the Cowboys, likewise Newcastle before the Knights. There was enough of an existing base in ACT and Auckland to make new franchises viable.

The really big success story, built from next to nothing, and against the odds, is the Storm. I gave them no chance of still being around in 10 years when they were founded. How much their prospering is due to central administration is open to question.

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On 08/07/2020 at 07:36, DeadShotKeen said:

Great stuff but part of the problem with these things - as even evidenced by 1 of the comments by a US observer - is that the sport is inevitably referred to as "rugby" by those watching. I think that's problematic as any of these enthusiastic bystanders could be forgiven for following up their initial excitement/amazement with taking in a rugby union game, being naturally disappointed and then dismissing these amazing RL clips as a fluke or whatever. It isn't reasonable for us to expect them to know that they are different sports. Why would they? They just see "rugby" and fair play to them.

I've long said that I think RL could really do with a new name to wholeheartedly distinguish it from union. The other lot don't have need to change theirs and in fact probably benefit from the overlap but as the smaller sport worldwide RL undoubtedly suffers from the duplication. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to explain to work colleagues even here in the North of England (Manchester) that "no, you're talking about rugby union, that's a different sport". I know a renaming would upset many traditionalists but in terms of kicking on worldwide it could be hugely beneficial. At the very least the sport's administrators should consider a dual name that could run concurrently and be used in areas such as North America.

The one flaw to my suggestion is that despite racking my brains for several years I can't think what this new name should be. But that isn't a conclusive rejection of my theory. Get some sharper and more creative brains than me onto it.

Truer words never spoken

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On 07/07/2020 at 22:36, DeadShotKeen said:

Great stuff but part of the problem with these things - as even evidenced by 1 of the comments by a US observer - is that the sport is inevitably referred to as "rugby" by those watching. I think that's problematic as any of these enthusiastic bystanders could be forgiven for following up their initial excitement/amazement with taking in a rugby union game, being naturally disappointed and then dismissing these amazing RL clips as a fluke or whatever. It isn't reasonable for us to expect them to know that they are different sports. Why would they? They just see "rugby" and fair play to them.

I've long said that I think RL could really do with a new name to wholeheartedly distinguish it from union. The other lot don't have need to change theirs and in fact probably benefit from the overlap but as the smaller sport worldwide RL undoubtedly suffers from the duplication. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to explain to work colleagues even here in the North of England (Manchester) that "no, you're talking about rugby union, that's a different sport". I know a renaming would upset many traditionalists but in terms of kicking on worldwide it could be hugely beneficial. At the very least the sport's administrators should consider a dual name that could run concurrently and be used in areas such as North America.

The one flaw to my suggestion is that despite racking my brains for several years I can't think what this new name should be. But that isn't a conclusive rejection of my theory. Get some sharper and more creative brains than me onto it.

You inadvertently hit on it in your last post, (we can't call it betamax so lets have) Alphamax !!!!!

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11 hours ago, fighting irish said:

You inadvertently hit on it in your last post, (we can't call it betamax so lets have) Alphamax !!!!!

Ha ha ha it's not bad. It would be funny as well when people ask where the name came from and the answer was given that league was Betamax to union's VHS (better but less popular) and was then just tweaked appropriately. That would properly rile the union lot, wouldn't it?

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