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Elstone talks TV deal, Private Equity and next season (ish)


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54 minutes ago, Scotchy1 said:

This is true. The SC creates a glass ceiling for all but the traditional big clubs. Even clubs who have spent big like Hudds and Wire havent been able to make that next step, in a big part because of salary cap pressures. 

Its endemic too. Say you're a junior now and you've got Leeds, Cas and Wakefield looking to sign you.

You might discount Wakefield due to lack of success. Then Cas might if you're good enough offer you £150 more PA than Leeds offer, but you train in a porta-cabin, the other facilities aren't great, and £150 is nothing in the grand scheme of things. The likelihood is that you would get even less.

Leeds have barely had to do anything and they've got the cream of the crop.

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The first 10 minutes of this weeks 5 Live podcast is dedicated to Dave Woods interviewing Super League "Executive Chairman" Robert Elstone. Not a long chat but covers a lot of ground (including Toront

Company I worked for sold to PE in 2015. We were family owned and were punching the air when we got that deal over the line after putting years of work into it. We were a decent sized company wit

The problem I have with that is the current proposal is for the 12th team to be handicapped, not just in terms of lower central funding, but in the short timescale they will have available to put toge

30 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

OK, how would Scotchy reform the system if he had free reign to run the league. 

In a P+R world, no cap. If the chips are going to fall where they may. Let them fall. A salary cap has no place in a P+R world. 

In a franchised world. Points system. To measure the quality of a player by his wage is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Only the sledgehammer frequently misses the nut completely. 

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29 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I'm not so sure, without a cap there would be a huge difference in quality in a £2m squad and a £10m squad. 

Like I always say, I'm not a champion of the cap, I'm pretty split on it. 

There is a relatively huge difference now. 

And we also have to ask ourselves. How much could we sell games between squads of £10m for? 

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6 minutes ago, Dave T said:

No, it's exactly the point. We are all spending similar amounts now rather than having a £2m vs £10m.

I don't see why we wouldn't end up with those kind of differences, we see it in football, and look at what TWP were prepared to spend this year as an example of how rich people can get excited. 

Now in a free market the hope is that the clubs struggling to spend £1.8m would find ambitious bakers who are enticed by this system, but I worry that wouldn't be the case and we would still have those struggling, and others with backers happy to spend a few million a year to get a visit to OT and Wembley. We see the overspends wherever they are allowed. 

It wasn't the point I replied to. I'm not sure we you keep completely disregarding the difference TV funding made to push your point. You are conflating various events that happened and attributing them all purely to the salary cap. That is very selective and wrong.

In Football because of the TV funding all clubs get a substantial baseline of TV funding which still allows most clubs to be competitive despite the wealth differences. We still can get clubs like Leicester winning the league despite those differences. We also get clubs like Chelsea and Man City rising to the top because the system encourages owners to plough money in. For all the faults you cite in Football RL has far more of a status quo winning the majority of competitions than Football, and because of the salary cap it makes it practically impossible for clubs to smash into that status quo as happens in other sports.

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2 minutes ago, Scotchy1 said:

Nor do many people want to watch low quality RL. 

There is also an argument that P+R in conjunction with an SC makes SL less competitive as the bottom clubs are forced to focus on short-term survival.

The SC is around 50% of Salfords Turnover and around 15% of Leeds turnover. That it is individually financially prudent for them to be spending the same amount on players is obviously preposterous. 

Not really preposterous is it? for two reasons, as competitive balance in the sport is a core issue, and as it allows Leeds to spend significant amounts on important areas, on improving the ground, a quality coaching budget across the Club, player development systems and pathways, scolarship, acedemy & reserves with better incentives and better coaching for players not in the 1st team, even, dare I say, profits.....

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2 minutes ago, Scotchy1 said:

There is a relatively huge difference now. 

And we also have to ask ourselves. How much could we sell games between squads of £10m for? 

Yes, that's the million dollar question. 

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19 minutes ago, Damien said:

That's changing the argument from what you had said Dave, where you were attributing the cap with clubs competing with Wigan and Leeds whilst completely ignoring what was the biggest factor in TV money allowing full time squads across the board. Without a cap we are not talking about difference between a £2 million squad and £10 million squad. I think that is a little disingenuous. There are plenty of ways we can have no cap and stop clubs hoarding players, which would offer the best of both worlds.

How?

Perhaps a catagory of Tiers for players ranging from T1 to T6 just for arguments sake,  and no club could have more than 5 players from any Tier, each Tier would also carry a value.

Yes a stupid suggestion but I am just wiling away the hours.

But it would be good fun arguing which player should belong in each Tier.

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2 minutes ago, Smudger06 said:

Not really preposterous is it? for two reasons, as competitive balance in the sport is a core issue, and as it allows Leeds to spend significant amounts on important areas, on improving the ground, a quality coaching budget across the Club, player development systems and pathways, scolarship, acedemy & reserves with better incentives and better coaching for players not in the 1st team, even, dare I say, profits.....

Competitive Balance and financial prudence are two different things. The 1.8m cap is an arbitrary figure in relation to both Leeds and Salford's finances. 

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2 minutes ago, Damien said:

It wasn't the point I replied to. I'm not sure we you keep completely disregarding the difference TV funding made to push your point. You are conflating various events that happened and attributing them all purely to the salary cap. That is very selective and wrong.

In Football because of the TV funding all clubs get a substantial baseline of TV funding which still allows most clubs to be competitive despite the wealth differences. We still can get clubs like Leicester winning the league despite those differences. We also get clubs like Chelsea and Man City rising to the top because the system encourages owners to plough money in. For all the faults you cite in Football RL has far more of a status quo winning the majority of competitions than Football, and because of the salary cap it makes it practically impossible for clubs to smash into that status quo as happens in other sports.

Let me be clearer with my point then. We can't say that the central funding was the leveller because we also introduced the cap. Now that was maybe linked to the level of central funding, and the increased funding improved standards, but isn't linked to the levelling. 

Central funding led to professionalism, but we could be professional and still have huge disparity is my point. For example of one club spent 5 times more than another then they would be far stronger, irrespective of central funding. 

So IMHO central funding increases improved standards through professionalism, but that hasn't helped in any kind of levelling, that is the cap. 

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4 minutes ago, Dave T said:

The central funding clearly moved the game from a to b in terms of full-time squads etc. but without a cap, the top clubs would simply have continued to massively outspend the lower ones, even with this funding. 

The main reason I am OK with caps is because of what then happens:

The poor clubs overspend because they otherwise fall miles behind. 

The rich clubs get into bidding wars and egos lead to unsustainable signings. 

This leads to financial difficulties across the division, at the top and the bottom. Now I get the hypothesis that this leads to increased viewers, attendances, sponsors etc. and I think there is something in that, but we have seen that this isn't guaranteed.

There are too many examples of crazy spending to mention, and that makes me nervous. 

But there is also a part of me that is bored of the word sustainability and these debates and would be interested to see what the sport can do if these shackles were removed. 

I think a form of cap is reasonable for the points you make, but not how it is implemented currently.

I also think there's a fundamental lack of creativity though too. If you're a Wakefield or a Salford and you can't afford the best players, then the absolute number 1 priority should be youth development. Its in FIFA video game manager mode ffs its not rocket science. Spending what little money you do have on players that realistically aren't going to either win you a title or guarantee you're not in a relegation scrap isn't using resources best.

The clubs perennially at the bottom end (in the absence of a proper feedback loop breaker), should be metaphorically screaming from the rooftops about how they can offer the best opportunities for young players to progress to Super League. 

I agree on the sustainability point. It speaks to the accountants running the show comments others have made.

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27 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Now in a free market the hope is that the clubs struggling to spend £1.8m would find ambitious bakers who are enticed by this system

Well we have tried Batchelor's Mushy Peas, so Mr Kipling or Aunt Bessies could prove worthwhile.

Sorry Dave, couldn't resist no harm meant.

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4 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I think a form of cap is reasonable for the points you make, but not how it is implemented currently.

I also think there's a fundamental lack of creativity though too. If you're a Wakefield or a Salford and you can't afford the best players, then the absolute number 1 priority should be youth development. Its in FIFA video game manager mode ffs its not rocket science. Spending what little money you do have on players that realistically aren't going to either win you a title or guarantee you're not in a relegation scrap isn't using resources best.

The clubs perennially at the bottom end (in the absence of a proper feedback loop breaker), should be metaphorically screaming from the rooftops about how they can offer the best opportunities for young players to progress to Super League. 

I agree on the sustainability point. It speaks to the accountants running the show comments others have made.

This links with the other point you made about portakabins and training facilities. And this so where the cap has been successful in my eyes, that clubs have had to improve the other areas to make themselves attractive. However there may be an argument that we now have great facilities across the vast majority of SL and some of the shackles could be loosened and those who haven't strengthened will find their place. 

I do think any loosening needs to be done carefully though, and we have seen decent increases in the cap over the last 3 years or so. It'll be interesting to see what the next moves are. 

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34 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Not at all, the best players of the past 15 years in this country have played for Leeds, Wigan and Saints, because the other clubs can't spend more to compensate. I've mentioned breaking feedback loops before, that is the only way out.

Wouldn't Leeds, Wigan and Saints also spend more?

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I'm not a massive fan of the cap but outside of Football, the best leagues in the world have caps. If the NRL......NFL, MLS, NHL, MLB all have caps then that really tells us all we need to know. 

All these leagues state the purpose of the cap quite clearly, first and foremost its a tool to assist in maintaining competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome and secondarily its to ensure financial stability and financial sustainability.   

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2 minutes ago, Smudger06 said:

Match ups between 2 x £10m teams will be few and far between, mostly would be games between 2 x £1.5m teams and loads of walk overs between £10m teams v £1.5m teams......

you see im not sure that is true, or that it makes so much of a difference. 

Scrap the cap and we see some clubs spending loads more, some a bit more, some can't afford to spend more anyway. 

Wages will be driven by market forces, there isnt much of a market force in SL because there arent a huge number of club nor a huge amount of money. 

Because of that there is an ever decreasing return in spending more money. Scrap the cap today and how many players are Leeds or Saints or Wigan et al really going to go an pinch from other SL clubs? And even if they do, how much is it really going to cost them given that, by and large, the big clubs are more attractive to play for anyway?

There is also the external market. If im going to be spending big money, why would i go and spend it on getting someone from Salford or Wakefield? I can go to RU or the NRL. 

Also, where really is my motivation to spend £10m on beating Wakefield by 60pts if i can spend £5m and beat them by 30?

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11 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I think a form of cap is reasonable for the points you make, but not how it is implemented currently.

I also think there's a fundamental lack of creativity though too. If you're a Wakefield or a Salford and you can't afford the best players, then the absolute number 1 priority should be youth development. Its in FIFA video game manager mode ffs its not rocket science. Spending what little money you do have on players that realistically aren't going to either win you a title or guarantee you're not in a relegation scrap isn't using resources best.

The clubs perennially at the bottom end (in the absence of a proper feedback loop breaker), should be metaphorically screaming from the rooftops about how they can offer the best opportunities for young players to progress to Super League. 

I agree on the sustainability point. It speaks to the accountants running the show comments others have made.

They can't do that because, chances are, in that 'development phase' they will be at a pretty high risk of relegation. 

And the big clubs will just pick off the best of those young players. 

The question of competitiveness goes much wider than wages, to the structure of the game, to how we develop players, it touches an pretty much all aspects and the game has chosen in pretty much all aspects to not answer those questions. 

The only reason an SC could ever be agreed is because the players are the ones generally hit with the consequences. 

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7 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Let me be clearer with my point then. We can't say that the central funding was the leveller because we also introduced the cap. Now that was maybe linked to the level of central funding, and the increased funding improved standards, but isn't linked to the levelling. 

Central funding led to professionalism, but we could be professional and still have huge disparity is my point. For example of one club spent 5 times more than another then they would be far stronger, irrespective of central funding. 

So IMHO central funding increases improved standards through professionalism, but that hasn't helped in any kind of levelling, that is the cap. 

I think talk of spending 5 times more is exaggerating somewhat to paint an extreme picture. I highly doubt that was the case even when Wigan were dominant and clubs were getting a few thousand each in TV funding. I don't think Wigan or Leeds are suddenly going to start paying players £1 million plus which is 5 times what their top players are getting now.

Now I am on the fence about a salary cap and if it stays. I am completely against the salary cap in its current form and think that major reform is overdue. A race to the bottom is not levelling, it is making the competition worse. No new winners of SL is not levelling.

We can still have a salary cap that allows for players to be paid fairly, increases the quality of player in Super League, stops clubs hoarding players and allows for rich owners to plough money into the game so they desire. The current implementation is an unimaginative crude instrument that achieves nothing.

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4 minutes ago, Scotchy1 said:

you see im not sure that is true, or that it makes so much of a difference. 

Scrap the cap and we see some clubs spending loads more, some a bit more, some can't afford to spend more anyway. 

Wages will be driven by market forces, there isnt much of a market force in SL because there arent a huge number of club nor a huge amount of money. 

Because of that there is an ever decreasing return in spending more money. Scrap the cap today and how many players are Leeds or Saints or Wigan et al really going to go an pinch from other SL clubs? And even if they do, how much is it really going to cost them given that, by and large, the big clubs are more attractive to play for anyway?

There is also the external market. If im going to be spending big money, why would i go and spend it on getting someone from Salford or Wakefield? I can go to RU or the NRL. 

Also, where really is my motivation to spend £10m on beating Wakefield by 60pts if i can spend £5m and beat them by 30?

They don't want to spend £5m to ensure they hammer Wakey, they want to spend £10m to hammer everyone and win trophies at OT & Wembley. Which would leave even the richest RL Clubs vastly underspending in other vital areas after the 25+ 1st team players have been paid.  

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4 minutes ago, Damien said:

I think talk of spending 5 times more is exaggerating somewhat to paint an extreme picture. I highly doubt that was the case even when Wigan were dominant and clubs were getting a few thousand each in TV funding. I don't think Wigan or Leeds are suddenly going to start paying players £1 million plus which is 5 times what their top players are getting now.

Now I am on the fence about a salary cap and if it stays. I am completely against the salary cap in its current form and think that major reform is overdue. A race to the bottom is not levelling, it is making the competition worse. No new winners of SL is not levelling.

We can still have a salary cap that allows for players to be paid fairly, increases the quality of player in Super League, stops clubs hoarding players and allows for rich owners to plough money into the game so they desire. The current implementation is an unimaginative crude instrument that achieves nothing.

Surely if we want to achieve some kind of parity then the SC needs to be combined with some kind of draft system, where the bottom clubs get first pick of the players becoming available.

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