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5 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

Sorry, I meant advertisers.

Yes, fair enough. 

I did read that the advertising  revenue for Sky fell considerably at the start of the pandemic which coincided with sports pausing and Sky losing subscribers.  Will be interesting to see what happens to the revenue now that Sky Sports have more viewers than ever.

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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12 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

Sorry, I meant advertisers.

You know I have often wondered these days how effective advertising during sports broadcasts actually is. With the exception of the Super Bowl, where the special release ads are almost as looked forward to as the game itself, in most households the half time break is often used for those necessities like bathroom breaks, refill of beer or grabbing snacks, so I do wonder how much attention is actually paid to those ads, in fact I often PVR NFL games and start watching 30 mins after the scheduled kick off so that I can fast forward through as many ads as possible. Of course NA sports are known for the ridiculous number of ad breaks and forced TV time outs (I actually asked my eldest son what he does on the field during a TV time out in his games, he told me they shared a few jokes with the opposition), but even in sports like RL with a traditional half time break and no other I wonder how many TV viewers actually skip the ads to do other things.

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5 hours ago, Kayakman said:

AND SO NOW WE COME FULL CIRCLE YET AGAIN!

I HAVEN'T POSTED FOR A WHILE BUT I KNEW THIS THREAD WOULD COME ALONG EVENTUALLY.

Elstone is a fool....any top man worth their salt would have done a proper cost benefit analysis on having the Wolfpack in or not....this could have all been avoided....but what did Elstone do?; a sloppy hatchet job instead).  

To save a pittance SL has now lost a big share of the pot.   Once all this Covid is over SL needs Toronto back ASAP!

Thats how we see it over here in the Land of The Free and Home Of The Maple Syrup!

 

Exactly this ^^
 

Rugby League for decades has been focused on how to share out the small cake it has, making decisions looking at the annual impact (at most), when professionally-run sports have an equal focus on investing in things today that make the whole cake bigger tomorrow, even if that means a smaller slice for now. 

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3 hours ago, Oldbear said:

Correct, the Leeds v Bradford derbies offered the intensity, both on and off the field, with packed houses. Likewise Wigan v Saints and Hull v Hull KR do the same. It doesn’t matter about the geography of those teams, they are events. Games from Perpignan also come over well on TV, on the other hand, without picking on those clubs, games broadcast from Salford, or Huddersfield, with row upon row of empty seats, or Wakefield’s crumbling slum, do not come across well. This could very well mean that Sky might start to intervene when it comes to the make up of the league, which could be a major issue as we all know there’s insufficient teams that can offer the combination of competitive team (avoids blow outs, which are bad for TV), playing in modern facilities whilst at the same time attracting enough fans to those stadia so as not to make them look empty in front of the cameras. In defence of Leigh, at least they will be playing out of a modern, appropriately sized stadium, and I’m sure they will be able to make games against Wigan and Saints feel like big occasions, just as long as they don’t get blown out.

Well said- the highlight of Leigh’s Superleague  season in 2017, was a 24-16 win over Saints in front of a massive crowd of 9,012 which included around 3,500 Saints fans, and was the first and only time the South Stand has been sold out for a visiting team. Has Salford ever approached such a figure in their Superleague history?

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3 hours ago, Oldbear said:

Correct, the Leeds v Bradford derbies offered the intensity, both on and off the field, with packed houses. Likewise Wigan v Saints and Hull v Hull KR do the same. It doesn’t matter about the geography of those teams, they are events. Games from Perpignan also come over well on TV, on the other hand, without picking on those clubs, games broadcast from Salford, or Huddersfield, with row upon row of empty seats, or Wakefield’s crumbling slum, do not come across well. This could very well mean that Sky might start to intervene when it comes to the make up of the league, which could be a major issue as we all know there’s insufficient teams that can offer the combination of competitive team (avoids blow outs, which are bad for TV), playing in modern facilities whilst at the same time attracting enough fans to those stadia so as not to make them look empty in front of the cameras. In defence of Leigh, at least they will be playing out of a modern, appropriately sized stadium, and I’m sure they will be able to make games against Wigan and Saints feel like big occasions, just as long as they don’t get blown out.

Are you suggesting that your fellow Geordies who (as you said before) looked down on RL as small time and down-market saw matches like Leeds vs Bradford, Wigan vs St Helens and Hull vs Hull KR as "events" not to be missed then?  What about the rest of the audience Sky wants to reach?

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52 minutes ago, Cheadle Leyther said:

Well said- the highlight of Leigh’s Superleague  season in 2017, was a 24-16 win over Saints in front of a massive crowd of 9,012 which included around 3,500 Saints fans, and was the first and only time the South Stand has been sold out for a visiting team. Has Salford ever approached such a figure in their Superleague history?

Salford's record Super League crowd is 10,146.

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1 hour ago, Hull Kingston Bronco said:

Exactly this ^^
 

Rugby League for decades has been focused on how to share out the small cake it has, making decisions looking at the annual impact (at most), when professionally-run sports have an equal focus on investing in things today that make the whole cake bigger tomorrow, even if that means a smaller slice for now. 

RL needs something new and sexy to attract NEW fans...they had it, then they casually flipped it away but it is still there....its called the Toronto Wolfpack.   Once this Covid is over and the dust has settled Ottawa will be ready and Toronto is like a strong ember on an old fire....once the Covid is over it can be easily coaxed into a fire once again....and they need to blow it this time, Elstone should be the lead blower.  

My God the answer is right infront of everyone.  RL has the potential to go really big in Toronto and now Ontario....why can't people just see that? The stagnation and slow death has got to stop....take the medicine Oldtimers.

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1 hour ago, Kayakman said:

RL needs something new and sexy to attract NEW fans...they had it, then they casually flipped it away but it is still there....its called the Toronto Wolfpack.   Once this Covid is over and the dust has settled Ottawa will be ready and Toronto is like a strong ember on an old fire....once the Covid is over it can be easily coaxed into a fire once again....and they need to blow it this time, Elstone should be the lead blower.  

My God the answer is right infront of everyone.  RL has the potential to go really big in Toronto and now Ontario....why can't people just see that? The stagnation and slow death has got to stop....take the medicine Oldtimers.

Shiny new big time franchises like those don't fit in the same league as the small time traditional old clubs with their quaint dependence on "away fans", hasn't the experience of the last four years proven that?

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3 hours ago, Big Picture said:

Are you suggesting that your fellow Geordies who (as you said before) looked down on RL as small time and down-market saw matches like Leeds vs Bradford, Wigan vs St Helens and Hull vs Hull KR as "events" not to be missed then?  What about the rest of the audience Sky wants to reach?

Please don’t twist my words, what I said was that a casual viewer tuning in to Wigan v Saints or an old Leeds v Bradford derby would immediately see the following 

1. a pretty full stadium

2. passionate atmosphere in the ground

3. committed players and hopefully a close game

All of these imply it’s an important game so worth bothering with

On the other hand a game broadcast from Huddersfield gives the impression that’s totally the opposite, rows and rows of empty seats and a poor crowd atmosphere will do that, even if the players are playing at high intensity that gets overlooked as the casual viewer has probably already changed channel. I don’t agree that for the league to be credible it needs to have big city teams, but the clubs do have to create energy and atmosphere, the stadia need to be clean, well maintained and well lit (but not too big please), and the presentation has to be professional. The problem is that there’s probably only 6-7 clubs maximum who look like achieving that on a regular basis, and you can’t have a credible major league with that few clubs these days.

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3 hours ago, Big Picture said:

Are you suggesting that your fellow Geordies who (as you said before) looked down on RL as small time and down-market saw matches like Leeds vs Bradford, Wigan vs St Helens and Hull vs Hull KR as "events" not to be missed then?  What about the rest of the audience Sky wants to reach?

Oh and my fellow Geordies looked down on RL primarily because unlike RU, internationals were not the pinnacle of the game, there was no or little planned internationals and after all how can you take a sport seriously when you don’t even know when the national team is going to play again. That’s why I honestly believe that a successful World Cup is by far and away the most important thing for RL this year, and maybe that’s why Sky are not looking at a long term TV deal yet, because they want to see what impact the tournament is going to have.

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21 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

"Prove itself" is an interesting concept. Would logically indicate targets and KPIs Elstone is suggesting to Sky?

Isn't it time SKY proved itself?

But without some investment SL can offer no more than it can it can now.

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4 minutes ago, Rupert Prince said:

And an Irishman captaining England one day cricket team.

The winning super over was bowled by a Barbadian after an Irishman handed him the ball, and he was only able to do that because he was defending a total set by a New Zealander.

But that has always been the way with cricket. It may not be fair that it plays by different rules in the media but it absolutely does. If our World Cup winning Captain sounded like he belonged in the team he'd just defeated and had been in the country for only a couple of years (or even less) then the laughter from the doubters would drown out any positives.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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14 hours ago, Exiled Wiganer said:

We have no vision, no ambition and no chance of proving ourselves. It isn’t for Sky to put that in place, and they are being very kind (and doing us a favour) by effectively saying “show us something...”. They were able to sell Toronto as an exciting statement of intent, they could have sold Toulouse as making us more European, they could at a pinch have done something with a decently run London. But what we have is Leigh, suggesting that even the whole M62 might have been too ambitious. 

We get pretty much no front line overseas players coming over here. Every year the crowds slide, and the grounds (aside from Leeds I suppose) look more and more rundown. 

Can anyone look at SL, and this is SL who spent hard earned money on their own new management (and Elstone and his team are not just a waste of money but they waste time that somebody, anybody could be using to come up with something), and conclude that they are doing anything other than killing TGG at pro level over here? 

I think thats, well... rubbish. As far as Toronto were concerned they shot themselves in the foot, not SL.  Half the SL chairmen have turned their back on investment and yet you complain that SL has no vision.  We are not going to expand the game, improve it, create more new players, without investment.

Right now we cannot afford 12 teams.  So producing 14 is highly unlikely without the quality players and investment.

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9 hours ago, Kayakman said:

RL needs something new and sexy to attract NEW fans...they had it, then they casually flipped it away but it is still there....its called the Toronto Wolfpack.   Once this Covid is over and the dust has settled Ottawa will be ready and Toronto is like a strong ember on an old fire....once the Covid is over it can be easily coaxed into a fire once again....and they need to blow it this time, Elstone should be the lead blower.  

My God the answer is right infront of everyone.  RL has the potential to go really big in Toronto and now Ontario....why can't people just see that? The stagnation and slow death has got to stop....take the medicine Oldtimers.

How may Canadians played for Toronto?

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18 minutes ago, Rupert Prince said:

Isn't it time SKY proved itself?

But without some investment SL can offer no more than it can it can now.

Possibly, though that's a slightly different argument - ask not what my country can do for you etc after all.

Tbf to Sky they've increased their share of the SL wage funding. As part of the last tv deal sky agreed to cover the salary cap through funding yet some clubs still came nowhere near as direct club owner investment in players wages fell as a percentage. To some extent that has changed at the top with Marquees however.

Equally there is also the issue of Toronto's funding slice meaning every club effectively got more (for no obvious reason) yet didn't seem to do much with it. Perhaps Harold Macmillan's "you've never had it so good" is apt here?

Once again the concept of vision and audience comes into play. If Super League wants to be a regional competition with limited external interest like the Scottish Premiership then that's ok but obviously limits how Sky will value it. If it wants to be ambitious on the other hand, having every game broadcast, an aggressive post World Cup plan, a dramatic shift in cultural perception etc, then Sky might back that vision too.

I do think Sky need to offer more to Super League on a basic level, but likewise Super League needs to recognise where it sits and why. I've repeatedly stated that I think we need at least 1 game a week on FTA, purely for the regular exposure, alongside Sky, as I think that is fair compromise for Sky's recent sentiments towards the game.

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1 hour ago, Rupert Prince said:

But without some investment SL can offer no more than it can it can now.

Sorry, but I disagree with this. 

There's a lot of people bringing up Toronto, but it's an unhealthy distraction from the real issue. 

The truth is that the sport hasn't done enough to broaden its appeal to people outside of the 'core' supporter demographic, hasn't done enough to modify itself for modern TV viewing and hasn't done enough to engage the media and enhance it's relevance with the wider public. You can try and argue that this is all stuff that the sport can't afford to do but the reality is that this is the cost of doing business and the cost of not doing it will be reflected in future TV contracts, sponsorships and ticket sales. 

We know for instance that loop fixtures are unpopular, yet the clubs persist with them because they argue that they "need them". Yet the reason they "need them" is because there has been so little research and effort in providing an alternative that people actually want to buy - something that might actually be more popular and more profitable. So what loop fixtures are is essentially a product people buy through compulsion - they're bundled in to artificially uphold the value of the season ticket. But the world has moved on. The reason why TV streaming services are so popular is because they allow people to buy what they actually want - not to be forced into paying for bloated bundles of ###### from Sky or Virgin because it's the only way to buy the one thing they want. Sport needs a similar mindset. The real value is in increasing the percieved value of the sport and what people are willing to pay for it - not bundling in more ###### that we know they don't want. 

This work should have started on this the moment the ink dried on the last TV deal but what has happened since then is, frankly, a lot of faffing around with concepts and arguments that distract from the real problems. Now the sport is trying frantically to get it's homework finished before the due date. Unsuprisingly, the teacher marking that homework (in this case, Sky) thinks it's ill-thought out and sloppy and is saying "C- Must try harder". 

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19 hours ago, The Rocket said:

You would think that this will funnel more viewers into OurLeague which is exactly what the RFL would want as they grow the digital side of the business and the potential advertising and sponsorship benefits that would flow from that..

It appears also if they can arrange it, Sky is giving them the opportunity to sub-contract the production if a better deal can be found that meets minimum standards. This could work in the RFL`s favour as well. Especially given all the complaints I hear about the current coverage.

This would appear a better deal for the RFL as they try to grow OurLeague and increase the amount of Rugby League content available to the public. 

Where is the money to pay for all this coming from?

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19 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

Sorry, but I disagree with this. 

There's a lot of people bringing up Toronto, but it's an unhealthy distraction from the real issue. 

The truth is that the sport hasn't done enough to broaden its appeal to people outside of the 'core' supporter demographic, hasn't done enough to modify itself for modern TV viewing and hasn't done enough to engage the media and enhance it's relevance with the wider public. You can try and argue that this is all stuff that the sport can't afford to do but the reality is that this is the cost of doing business and the cost of not doing it will be reflected in future TV contracts, sponsorships and ticket sales. 

We know for instance that loop fixtures are unpopular, yet the clubs persist with them because they argue that they "need them". Yet the reason they "need them" is because there has been so little research and effort in providing an alternative that people actually want to buy - something that might actually be more popular and more profitable. So what loop fixtures are is essentially a product people buy through compulsion - they're bundled in to artificially uphold the value of the season ticket. But the world has moved on. The reason why TV streaming services are so popular is because they allow people to buy what they actually want - not to be forced into paying for bloated bundles of ###### from Sky or Virgin because it's the only way to buy the one thing they want. Sport needs a similar mindset. The real value is in increasing the percieved value of the sport and what people are willing to pay for it - not bundling in more ###### that we know they don't want. 

This work should have started on this the moment the ink dried on the last TV deal but what has happened since then is, frankly, a lot of faffing around with concepts and arguments that distract from the real problems. Now the sport is try frantically to get it's homework finished before the due date. Unsuprisingly, the teacher marking that homework (in this case, Sky) thinks it's ill-thought out and sloppy and is saying "C- Must try harder". 

Once again, I do not fundamentally disagree with anything you say here about the responsibility of the sport to evolve and position itself as vibrant and relevant.

But tv sport is about two things. One is the quality of the product on offer and the other is the way that it is packaged and sold to the audience.  This is a symbiotic relationship.

If Sky give Rugby League a C- (not something I disagree with), what mark would you give Sky based on its production, presentation and marketing of the product that it is showing?

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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10 hours ago, Cheadle Leyther said:

Has Salford ever approached such a figure in their Superleague history?

It's funny how often people feel the need to put down other clubs, I know this isn't a special example nor am I attacking the post itself.

As to Sky, I only have it because of TGG and if RL goes so do I. For me it's not TGG that has to prove itself it's Sky to their RL customer base.

 

 

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2 warning points:kolobok_dirol:

#CorbynwasrightandFordesaidso!

 

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1 minute ago, Dunbar said:

Once again, I do not fundamentally disagree with anything you say here about the responsibility of the sport to evolve and position itself as vibrant and relevant.

But tv sport is about two things. One is the quality of the product on offer and the other is the way that it is packaged and sold to the audience.  This is a symbiotic relationship.

If Sky give Rugby League a C- (not something I disagree with), what mark would you give Sky based on its production, presentation and marketing of the product that it is showing?

I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong with Sky's production. Yes, you might find "Baz and Tez" something of a dated double-act and I think Phil Clarke is a clown, but I can point to commentators and pundits I don't like in any sport. 

But I maintain that the onus has to be on the sport to drive what it wants, not to rely on Sky to act on its behalf. It's certainly not Sky's job to do RL's marketing and some of the production issues are beyond Sky's control as well (I've mentioned this before, but the Premier League makes a big deal of using colour schemes and lighting to make the TV image look much brigher - to the point where Elland Road had to upgrade its floodlight system this year - compare that with the dingy lighting at many SL grounds). 

For the most part, Sky is just a reporter. Complaining that Sky doesn't show us in the best light is like arguing that a journalist has reported a story in a way you don't agree with. Rugby League needs to shape the narrative in a way that makes it easier for Sky to sell it in the best possible light. 

We know for instance that RL has a chequered history when it comes to engaging with the media. The BBC spent five years asking for the Challenge Cup to be moved from the August Bank Holiday slot. If that's reflective of how we work with the media, is it any wonder that Sky is losing patience? We also know, from comments from the likes of Brian Carney, that there is a sense that the clubs see the media as something of a nuisance or a threat, that Sky find it difficult to get access to players, and we've had instances where clubs have refused to allow games to be streamed online because they believe it will impact the match attendance. These are all signposts that suggest that RL doesn't really "get" how to work with the media and to use it to its advantage. 

Shifting the blame to the broadcaster doesn't address the fundamental problem - that RL is starting to look tired against a see of competition that understands how to make TV work. There's a reason why it's the Darts Premier League holding the Main Event slot on Thursday nights ahead of RL, and it's because the darts knows how to scrub up for TV. 

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Just now, whatmichaelsays said:

For the most part, Sky is just a reporter. Complaining that Sky doesn't show us in the best light is like arguing that a journalist has reported a story in a way you don't agree with.

I cannot agree with this analogy at all.  Of course the relationship between a sport and a broadcaster it has sold its tv rights to is different to a journalist reporting a story.  The former has bought the rights in order to secure more viewers and/or advertising during broadcast.  They have a vested interest in how that sport is delivered to the public.

I am not shifting any blame at all.  I agree with you that Rugby League needs to do more to market itself.  My point is that Sky can also do a better job in presenting and marketing the sport that it has bought.  In each case, both parties will benefit from improvements.

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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9 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I cannot agree with this analogy at all.  Of course the relationship between a sport and a broadcaster it has sold its tv rights to is different to a journalist reporting a story.  The former has bought the rights in order to secure more viewers and/or advertising during broadcast.  They have a vested interest in how that sport is delivered to the public.

I am not shifting any blame at all.  I agree with you that Rugby League needs to do more to market itself.  My point is that Sky can also do a better job in presenting and marketing the sport that it has bought.  In each case, both parties will benefit from improvements.

It's probably a clumsy analogy in hindsight, but I think you get the sentiment. Rugby League is there to put on the show, Sky is there to give it the platform. If the show we're putting on looks like it has been put together on the cheap with no real thought as to how it comes across to the audience, that's not Sky's problem to fix. And even if Sky did want to try and fix it (as the BBC did with the Challenge Cup final), history says that RL would probably ignore such advances. 

On the marketing front, I'll go back to my earlier post. Those "coming up in 2021" ads are there to get fans excited about Sky's content and, from a commercial perspective, discourage people from ditching their subscriptions in a month that tends to be high for cancellations. If RL isn't on those ads, what does that tell you? Either it's not exciting enough or it doesn't 'make-or-break' enough subscriptions. 

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12 hours ago, Oldbear said:

You know I have often wondered these days how effective advertising during sports broadcasts actually is.   

I have not watched a TV ad for decades. Record all programmes, sport or otherwise, and fast forward through the ads. 

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