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Which Two Clubs to Take SL to 14?


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If it was left to the same ‘independent’ panel and their 8 hours of talks we’d get Swinton and Hunslet. 

idiot.  Why are Fev too small?  what is actually Super about SL?  Prior to it’s inception Wakefield, Salford, Hull, Wigan had their own grounds and facilities.  Now they are teams in name only.  Hudde

Toulouse would probably be one, London if the move to Plough Lane is sorted would probably be the other and I would imagine that they would look at York and Newcastle or even South Wales. The dif

15 minutes ago, Celt said:

Delighted.

I will happily pay up if they are.

(In fact I am hoping you know something.... Because I reckon there is no chance).

I hope I lose this bet!

Hey I'd love nothing else but I'm convinced the only way we will get the Pack back is if someone loaded takes a punt on establishing an Americas Rugby League or if the NRL rescues SLE from itself and reorganizes the entire shebang. The current leadership couldn't run a ten house paper route.

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3 minutes ago, Gav Wilson said:

If you get Newcastle, York, London Broncos (at New Plough Lane) and Toulouse in by the next TV deal then the league will certainly look more attractive to potential broadcasters and sponsors in my humble opinion.

How attractive actually are teams like London though? The name obviously lends a lot of weight to the competition, but surely even a passing glance from potential sponsors will see a team that averaged 2k in the elite competition. Is that really going to be changing our fortunes commercially? I feel at times people are making these observations based on our own insecurities about being a northern sport rather than any real evidence. 

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2 minutes ago, LeytherRob said:

How attractive actually are teams like London though? The name obviously lends a lot of weight to the competition, but surely even a passing glance from potential sponsors will see a team that averaged 2k in the elite competition. Is that really going to be changing our fortunes commercially? I feel at times people are making these observations based on our own insecurities about being a northern sport rather than any real evidence. 

I think alongside this is the assumption that there would be some investment in say, London, rather than just picking them up and plonking them in SL. As they are yeah they'll get small crowds and are mostly unknown in London.

But historically they've had bigger crowds than this, at a glance in 96 & 97 over 5k average, near 5k again in 2006. 2k crowds is not their definite level it's possible to improve. People are looking at them in terms of potential rather than their actual state now that's the attraction. 

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I was born to run a club like this. Number 1, I do not spook easily, and those who think I do, are wasting their time, with their surprise attacks.

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14 minutes ago, DI Keith Fowler said:

I think alongside this is the assumption that there would be some investment in say, London, rather than just picking them up and plonking them in SL. As they are yeah they'll get small crowds and are mostly unknown in London.

But historically they've had bigger crowds than this, at a glance in 96 & 97 over 5k average, near 5k again in 2006. 2k crowds is not their definite level it's possible to improve. People are looking at them in terms of potential rather than their actual state now that's the attraction. 

They averaged 2021 in the Super League last season, obviously boosted by away support, highest gate of over £3k against Leeds. In the season they were promoted they averaged less than a thousand. You have to wonder how long the Owner can keep propping them up when they still can't get their support up even with a decent side.

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Ultimately we have 5 English teams that have built themselves to be of major value commercially and as academy centres, as well as in terms of silverware to Super League - Leeds, Hull, Wigan, Saints, Warrington. I'll put Catalans to one side for a moment.

Then we have heartland clubs that for a range of reasons are interchangeable essentially. Relatively similar crowd levels in times of relative success and equally propensity to drop to much lower levels. The classic "only a super league club because they get sky money" types: KR, Cas, Leigh, Wakefield, Huddersfield (debatably moving upwards), Widnes, Halifax, Salford, York, Fev, Doncaster, Sheffield etc.

Then you have clubs that are smaller than the above group for whom professional RL will never happen unless a fan wins the EuroMillions or the local authority builds them a ground - though they are probably happy with that arrangement as they won't go bust chasing the impossible: Dewsbury, Batley, Swinton, Oldham, Rochdale, Keighley, Hunslet, the Cumbrian teams, Skolars etc.

Aside from that we have a number of heartland and "outpost clubs" whose value is based on potential growth and/or recaptured audience and/or academy production. Bradford, London, Newcastle, Coventry. Then you have the 2 current French teams and the Welsh teams too.

We should be aiming to build an environment where we can have more clubs aspiring and able to be in that top group. Catalans and Bradford (stadium permitting) already takes that up to 7. Huddersfield are pushing that too and Toulouse really should compliment Catalans.

The question therefore is what to do with that second group. "Fairness" would say let on field decide it, but also comes with the caveat that fearing relegation allows the top to pull away more and more whilst the "interchangable teams" stay in the same position not growing. Equally, selecting a chosen few comes with significant issues to say the least, but at least would allow those clubs to build towards the big teams and allow strategic clubs to be placed in.

Perhaps a mixture of the two is needed?

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30 minutes ago, LeytherRob said:

How attractive actually are teams like London though? The name obviously lends a lot of weight to the competition, but surely even a passing glance from potential sponsors will see a team that averaged 2k in the elite competition. Is that really going to be changing our fortunes commercially? I feel at times people are making these observations based on our own insecurities about being a northern sport rather than any real evidence. 

A winning London Broncos team in a brand new perfectly sized stadium would easily bring in regular crowds of 5-6k. Corporate capacity at NPL would be vastly improved too compared to Trailfinders, which sponsors would obviously prefer.

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Too far in the future, too many variables. It depends who is doing the choosing. Also who wins promotion.

Any league structure change will have to tie in with the next sale of broadcast rights. So 2023?

If it's the same old/same old SLE choosing then it will be 2 out of the current 5 who missed out, assuming no-one has already been promoted.

If NRL or a VC firm then it depends on how much control has been given to them. Because then it could be franchise again. Or the bottom 4 SL teams get thrown into the mix with the 5 Championship sides - 6 get chosen. Or any number of variations. Who knows?

 

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9 minutes ago, DI Keith Fowler said:

I think alongside this is the assumption that there would be some investment in say, London, rather than just picking them up and plonking them in SL. As they are yeah they'll get small crowds and are mostly unknown in London.

But historically they've had bigger crowds than this, at a glance in 96 & 97 over 5k average, near 5k again in 2006. 2k crowds is not their definite level it's possible to improve. People are looking at them in terms of potential rather than their actual state now that's the attraction. 

Even 5k would put them into the bottom 2 for attendances based on 2019, is that really that impressive? Their last 2 seasons in SL brought averages of 1,294 and 2,021. With London it's seems like some are hanging on to the notion that 'next time it will be different'. 

I see a lot of cases made for London and other big city teams, but they all seem to be on the assumption that a major sponsor will see the name London and open their wallets without digging any deeper into what sort of exposure they are actually getting in the city. If that were the case, why aren't the other smaller sports with big city names booming commercially?

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3 hours ago, binosh said:

Tell me how it costs more money.

Because the TV deal isn't increasing, so the pot will have to be divided more ways.

unless your suggesting that they add 6 extra teams and all those 6 extra teams don't receive a share of the TV money ?

Adios EU - Global Britain here we come !!!

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35 minutes ago, LeytherRob said:

How attractive actually are teams like London though? The name obviously lends a lot of weight to the competition, but surely even a passing glance from potential sponsors will see a team that averaged 2k in the elite competition. Is that really going to be changing our fortunes commercially? I feel at times people are making these observations based on our own insecurities about being a northern sport rather than any real evidence. 

Commercially far more at a glance than having most teams in smaller towns all within spitting distance of eachother. Its shallow, but a lot of sports marketing and sponsorship is, that is if we're going for national/international brands and/or serious money.

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8 minutes ago, LeytherRob said:

Even 5k would put them into the bottom 2 for attendances based on 2019, is that really that impressive? Their last 2 seasons in SL brought averages of 1,294 and 2,021. With London it's seems like some are hanging on to the notion that 'next time it will be different'. 

I see a lot of cases made for London and other big city teams, but they all seem to be on the assumption that a major sponsor will see the name London and open their wallets without digging any deeper into what sort of exposure they are actually getting in the city. If that were the case, why aren't the other smaller sports with big city names booming commercially?

It's not meant to be impressive I'm just saying you're putting a London team down as 2k gate team when they've recorded bigger gates than that in recent history. 

As a sport we keep coming back to London because if we want the media to take us seriously we need a presence in London. You're asking why smaller sports with big city names aren't booming commercially I'd be asking where they'd be without their big city names. 

Edited by DI Keith Fowler

I was born to run a club like this. Number 1, I do not spook easily, and those who think I do, are wasting their time, with their surprise attacks.

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Just now, Tommygilf said:

Commercially far more at a glance than having most teams in smaller towns all within spitting distance of eachother. Its shallow, but a lot of sports marketing and sponsorship is, that is if we're going for national/international brands and/or serious money.

I'm going to hold my hands up first and say I've never ran a club or been involved in what discussions take place between sponsors, but I can't imagine a situation where one of the first questions they ask isn't about the numbers attending/watching on tv so they can understand what reach the sponsorship will buy them. Will 2k at London really be more attractive than 6k at a heartland club? If it is just a case of big names leading to big money, why don't other smaller sports like the BBL do massive numbers?

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14 minutes ago, Gav Wilson said:

A winning London Broncos team in a brand new perfectly sized stadium would easily bring in regular crowds of 5-6k. Corporate capacity at NPL would be vastly improved too compared to Trailfinders, which sponsors would obviously prefer.

Would they though? They've only topped 5k once since 1997 and they've not all been terrible seasons. They've had the lowest attendence in 13 or so of the years they were in and set the record for the lowest average in the year they went down. It's great that they might have found a solution to playing at a sub standard ground at Ealing, but it's yet another move across London of around 20 miles and every time they do it they seem to shed more fans than they collect at the new ground. 

I'm an expansionist and there is nothing I would love more than to see a London team competing for trophies in front of 5 figure crowds but it seems further away now than it did 20 years ago.

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11 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Ultimately we have 5 English teams that have built themselves to be of major value commercially and as academy centres, as well as in terms of silverware to Super League - Leeds, Hull, Wigan, Saints, Warrington. I'll put Catalans to one side for a moment.

Then we have heartland clubs that for a range of reasons are interchangeable essentially. Relatively similar crowd levels in times of relative success and equally propensity to drop to much lower levels. The classic "only a super league club because they get sky money" types: KR, Cas, Leigh, Wakefield, Huddersfield (debatably moving upwards), Widnes, Halifax, Salford, York, Fev, Doncaster, Sheffield etc.

Then you have clubs that are smaller than the above group for whom professional RL will never happen unless a fan wins the EuroMillions or the local authority builds them a ground - though they are probably happy with that arrangement as they won't go bust chasing the impossible: Dewsbury, Batley, Swinton, Oldham, Rochdale, Keighley, Hunslet, the Cumbrian teams, Skolars etc.

Aside from that we have a number of heartland and "outpost clubs" whose value is based on potential growth and/or recaptured audience and/or academy production. Bradford, London, Newcastle, Coventry. Then you have the 2 current French teams and the Welsh teams too.

We should be aiming to build an environment where we can have more clubs aspiring and able to be in that top group. Catalans and Bradford (stadium permitting) already takes that up to 7. Huddersfield are pushing that too and Toulouse really should compliment Catalans.

The question therefore is what to do with that second group. "Fairness" would say let on field decide it, but also comes with the caveat that fearing relegation allows the top to pull away more and more whilst the "interchangable teams" stay in the same position not growing. Equally, selecting a chosen few comes with significant issues to say the least, but at least would allow those clubs to build towards the big teams and allow strategic clubs to be placed in.

Perhaps a mixture of the two is needed?

I think I’m roughly of the same opinion. 

There’s six that are absolute givens in Super League - Wigan, Warrington, Saints, Leeds, Hull FC and Catalans. 

I think you then have Castleford and Huddersfield who tick a lot of boxes you’d want teams to be ticking, though there’s probably a couple each that they’re not, most namely the stadium at Cas and the average attendance at Huddersfield. I don’t think they’re particularly things you can penalise them for in the short-term, though it’s something that does need monitoring over the mid-to-long term. I think you could possibly put Toulouse in this category as well, really. They have the facilities, the pathway for players with Toulouse having an Elite 1 side, an added commercial value and the stadium, it’s probably just their average attendance that needs monitoring, though it’s obviously going to increase swapping the well-supported Championship clubs for the well-supported Super League clubs. 

It’s the next batch of clubs that I have the most issue with. You’ve said before that there are a number of clubs who are “interchangeable” and that’s largely correct. In terms of if there was licensing, these clubs would tick a fair few boxes but probably not the majority. Leigh, Salford, Wakefield, Hull KR, Featherstone, London and probably even Widnes and Bradford could be swapped around with ease, though if you’re letting some in, you then risk upsetting, alienating etc those that don’t get in for pretty much being similar clubs but their face seemingly not fitting.

You then have your York’s, Newcastle’s, Halifax’s and probably another one or two that are your slow burners, they’re not ready to be competing on or off the pitch with the teams in the paragraph above but could be in time. 

That’s before you hope The RFL and Super League decide on what their policy is on expansion. Do we go for the Northern Powerhouse cities in Sheffield and Bradford? Do we go for France, strengthening the heartlands there? Do we dare plan for North America?

Essentially, what I think we need to do is to work out how we help teams at each step of the “ladder”. 

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1 minute ago, LeytherRob said:

Would they though? They've only topped 5k once since 1997 and they've not all been terrible seasons. They've had the lowest attendence in 13 or so of the years they were in and set the record for the lowest average in the year they went down. It's great that they might have found a solution to playing at a sub standard ground at Ealing, but it's yet another move across London of around 20 miles and every time they do it they seem to shed more fans than they collect at the new ground. 

I'm an expansionist and there is nothing I would love more than to see a London team competing for trophies in front of 5 figure crowds but it seems further away now than it did 20 years ago.

TBF, its only 8 miles from Trailfinders to NPL, and NPL has far superior transport links. It's a good move for them and I hope the reported ten year lease gives them a solid base to grow from.

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3 minutes ago, LeytherRob said:

Would they though? They've only topped 5k once since 1997 and they've not all been terrible seasons. They've had the lowest attendence in 13 or so of the years they were in and set the record for the lowest average in the year they went down. It's great that they might have found a solution to playing at a sub standard ground at Ealing, but it's yet another move across London of around 20 miles and every time they do it they seem to shed more fans than they collect at the new ground. 

I'm an expansionist and there is nothing I would love more than to see a London team competing for trophies in front of 5 figure crowds but it seems further away now than it did 20 years ago.

I think this is a fair assessment on London. Each time we’re told they could be a couple of steps away from greatness but invariably, they’re a couple of steps closer to the abyss. 

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13 minutes ago, LeytherRob said:

I'm going to hold my hands up first and say I've never ran a club or been involved in what discussions take place between sponsors, but I can't imagine a situation where one of the first questions they ask isn't about the numbers attending/watching on tv so they can understand what reach the sponsorship will buy them. Will 2k at London really be more attractive than 6k at a heartland club? If it is just a case of big names leading to big money, why don't other smaller sports like the BBL do massive numbers?

As I said before it's more a question how small BBL would be if they hadn't gone for big cities. 

I was born to run a club like this. Number 1, I do not spook easily, and those who think I do, are wasting their time, with their surprise attacks.

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Just now, LeytherRob said:

I'm going to hold my hands up first and say I've never ran a club or been involved in what discussions take place between sponsors, but I can't imagine a situation where one of the first questions they ask isn't about the numbers attending/watching on tv so they can understand what reach the sponsorship will buy them. Will 2k at London really be more attractive than 6k at a heartland club? If it is just a case of big names leading to big money, why don't other smaller sports like the BBL do massive numbers?

Look at it this way, RU never has particularly high attendances, but attracts blue chip sponsors because they see its customers as valuable. I'm sure @whatmichaelsays can put it better, but reaching the stereotypical audience for an RL game can be far easier and cheaper than buying a shirt sponsorship these days.

The BBL comparison is slightly different. Basketball suffers from being a small scale sport in this country with little star power, but at least tries to have a broad national stretch so it is accessible to a wide audience. Netball is another interesting comparison. RL at the highest level factually (and perceptionally) is regional - and not even in the major regional cities bar 2, that image will impact the commercial potential. We have failed to grow our audience either in terms of diversity or geographically.

I'm not suggesting London is an easy fix all, far from it, but its part of the image changing process.

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23 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Ultimately we have 5 English teams that have built themselves to be of major value commercially and as academy centres, as well as in terms of silverware to Super League - Leeds, Hull, Wigan, Saints, Warrington. I'll put Catalans to one side for a moment.

Then we have heartland clubs that for a range of reasons are interchangeable essentially. Relatively similar crowd levels in times of relative success and equally propensity to drop to much lower levels. The classic "only a super league club because they get sky money" types: KR, Cas, Leigh, Wakefield, Huddersfield (debatably moving upwards), Widnes, Halifax, Salford, York, Fev, Doncaster, Sheffield etc.

Then you have clubs that are smaller than the above group for whom professional RL will never happen unless a fan wins the EuroMillions or the local authority builds them a ground - though they are probably happy with that arrangement as they won't go bust chasing the impossible: Dewsbury, Batley, Swinton, Oldham, Rochdale, Keighley, Hunslet, the Cumbrian teams, Skolars etc.

Aside from that we have a number of heartland and "outpost clubs" whose value is based on potential growth and/or recaptured audience and/or academy production. Bradford, London, Newcastle, Coventry. Then you have the 2 current French teams and the Welsh teams too.

We should be aiming to build an environment where we can have more clubs aspiring and able to be in that top group. Catalans and Bradford (stadium permitting) already takes that up to 7. Huddersfield are pushing that too and Toulouse really should compliment Catalans.

The question therefore is what to do with that second group. "Fairness" would say let on field decide it, but also comes with the caveat that fearing relegation allows the top to pull away more and more whilst the "interchangable teams" stay in the same position not growing. Equally, selecting a chosen few comes with significant issues to say the least, but at least would allow those clubs to build towards the big teams and allow strategic clubs to be placed in.

Perhaps a mixture of the two is needed?

One of the things that annoys me about this board is the 'received wisdom' that the bottom half of SL and top half of championship are interchangeable. They clearly aren't  

There is a massive difference between them in terms of reach, visibility, on the field and in youth development and infrastructure.

If you swapped say Fev and Wakefield, the Fev clubs which comes up aren't where Wakefield are. Nobody seriously could pretend they are.

It would take maybe 5 years to get from where Fev are to where Wakefield are.

The simple evidence of that is, if they were. Then we would see it. They have have 5/6k, an academy, the same revenues and incomes etc.

They don't and would need to build it. Whether you think they could do so easily or not at all, they would still need to do it.

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17 minutes ago, LeytherRob said:

I'm going to hold my hands up first and say I've never ran a club or been involved in what discussions take place between sponsors, but I can't imagine a situation where one of the first questions they ask isn't about the numbers attending/watching on tv so they can understand what reach the sponsorship will buy them. Will 2k at London really be more attractive than 6k at a heartland club? If it is just a case of big names leading to big money, why don't other smaller sports like the BBL do massive numbers?

A substantial number of SL fans are in the South. They watch on TV.

TV wins its figures are many times that of attendances. 

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3 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

I think I’m roughly of the same opinion. 

There’s six that are absolute givens in Super League - Wigan, Warrington, Saints, Leeds, Hull FC and Catalans. 

I think you then have Castleford and Huddersfield who tick a lot of boxes you’d want teams to be ticking, though there’s probably a couple each that they’re not, most namely the stadium at Cas and the average attendance at Huddersfield. I don’t think they’re particularly things you can penalise them for in the short-term, though it’s something that does need monitoring over the mid-to-long term. I think you could possibly put Toulouse in this category as well, really. They have the facilities, the pathway for players with Toulouse having an Elite 1 side, an added commercial value and the stadium, it’s probably just their average attendance that needs monitoring, though it’s obviously going to increase swapping the well-supported Championship clubs for the well-supported Super League clubs. 

It’s the next batch of clubs that I have the most issue with. You’ve said before that there are a number of clubs who are “interchangeable” and that’s largely correct. In terms of if there was licensing, these clubs would tick a fair few boxes but probably not the majority. Leigh, Salford, Wakefield, Hull KR, Featherstone, London and probably even Widnes and Bradford could be swapped around with ease, though if you’re letting some in, you then risk upsetting, alienating etc those that don’t get in for pretty much being similar clubs but their face seemingly not fitting.

You then have your York’s, Newcastle’s, Halifax’s and probably another one or two that are your slow burners, they’re not ready to be competing on or off the pitch with the teams in the paragraph above but could be in time. 

That’s before you hope The RFL and Super League decide on what their policy is on expansion. Do we go for the Northern Powerhouse cities in Sheffield and Bradford? Do we go for France, strengthening the heartlands there? Do we dare plan for North America?

Essentially, what I think we need to do is to work out how we help teams at each step of the “ladder”. 

Quite. I'm coming closer to the opinion of having a hybrid system for English teams at least (I think French teams should be treated differently). There is part of me thinking we should lock the middle group of clubs in a league of their own 😂

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3 minutes ago, Gav Wilson said:

TBF, its only 8 miles from Trailfinders to NPL, and NPL has far superior transport links. It's a good move for them and I hope the reported ten year lease gives them a solid base to grow from.

Me too, I absolutely would love to see London doing great, I want every club to build. But whilst I do firmly believe in expansion, I'm also a realist. Tommy's summation of the state of affairs with club groupings was bang on and for me, it will be strong clubs getting big gates that will lend legitimacy to our sport(wherever that may be), not names for the sake of it.

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3 minutes ago, Scotchy1 said:

A substantial number of SL fans are in the South. They watch on TV.

TV wins its figures are many times that of attendances. 

I get that, but how much fluctuation in TV viewing figures actually is there between seasons where London are in or out, does it go up or down or even just stay about the same? I understand that image in sport matters, but does it actually improve out image having London in SL if a sponsor turns on the TV and sees 1.5k rattling round a poor stadium? 

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