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1 minute ago, Hela Wigmen said:

It appears to be doing the old Rugby League adage of merging a few structures together and spitting it out as some sort of new, exciting structure when it actually isn’t. It looks like moving deckchairs on the Titanic rather than actually sorting any issues the game has. 

Not sure about that. After 126 years, British rugby league has found itself in a place where roughly half the professional clubs are never going to be viable top division clubs. This would effectively be a hard split between FT and PT. And that IS new.

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I hope not, a ten team SL (or championship) would be woeful. 

2x10 just smacks of trying to please everyone, whilst at the same time not really pleasing anyone.  For starters, calling it "SL2" just cheapens the Super League brand. You may as well call it "S

This. I want 14 and a bit of variety. 10 just doesnt do it for me.

2x10 just smacks of trying to please everyone, whilst at the same time not really pleasing anyone. 

For starters, calling it "SL2" just cheapens the Super League brand. You may as well call it "Super League" and "Slightly Less Than Super League" and it would have just as much marketability. 

And then we're back to the main question - how does any of this get people who don't currently watch rugby league watching rugby league? Who is the audience for it? Who are the target markets? Why is a promotion and relegation battle between SL1 and SL2 any more marketable than the promotion and relegation battles that we have now and, for the most part, fail to pull in the punters? How does this structure make the title race any more appealing than it currently is? How does it get more people watching the Grand Final? 

The fundamental problem here is not the structure. The fundamental issue here is the sport doesn't seem know the audiences it wants to reach, it doesn't seem to know how to take the sport to market and it doesn't seem know how to improve it's relevance and appeal (and if it does know, it seems incapable of doing it). 

So what does throwing £10m a year of TV funding at the second tier of the sport, given a cheap title of "SL2",  do to address that? How does it deliver a return on investment? 

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2 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

2x10 just smacks of trying to please everyone, whilst at the same time not really pleasing anyone. 

For starters, calling it "SL2" just cheapens the Super League brand. You may as well call it "Super League" and "Slightly Less Than Super League" and it would have just as much marketability. 

And then we're back to the main question - how does any of this get people who don't currently watch rugby league watching rugby league? Who is the audience for it? Who are the target markets? Why is a promotion and relegation battle between SL1 and SL2 any more marketable than the promotion and relegation battles that we have now and, for the most part, fail to pull in the punters? How does this structure make the title race any more appealing than it currently is? How does it get more people watching the Grand Final? 

The fundamental problem here is not the structure. The fundamental issue here is the sport doesn't seem know the audiences it wants to reach, it doesn't seem to know how to take the sport to market and it doesn't seem know how to improve it's relevance and appeal (and if it does know, it seems incapable of doing it). 

So what does throwing £10m a year of TV funding at the second tier of the sport, given a cheap title of "SL2",  do to address that? How does it deliver a return on investment? 

As I see it, SL2 would be in a separate TV package from the existing Sky Super League deal, and at the very least would have games shown regularly on a free to air terrestrial TV network - BBC, Channel 4, Five, maybe one of the ITV channels. That should be a fundamental element of any 2x10 split, to attract a new audience.

That being the case, I'd avoid inter-division fixtures. I’ll leave the format to others, but I was thinking 25 rounds. 18 (9 home & 9 away) plus 6 loopies (3 home, 3 away, giving a guaranteed 12 home games a year) + Magic. Then playoffs. Ditto for SL2. 

I totally get the repetition argument but SL1 in particular would be a high quality comp and the TV scheduling should be far-sighted enough to minimise sameness. 

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Realistically, this would just be rationalising the divide we currently see between the professional and semi professional clubs. I think its now becoming clearer that the two are oil and water in commercial and indeed a sporting sense.

If you take the fully professional and hybrid clubs from Super League and the Championship you have the basis to grow the "professional" game from across 2 leagues. This would then be the entry point for new fully professional teams, not League 1, meaning you don't get full time pros stampeding over teams in League 1 with only 5 figure budgets on their march to Super League for no real reason or benefit for either side. Mid term you'd want hybrid clubs to transition to full time professional outfits. As notably London and Salford have shown, it is possible to run a relatively successful fully pro team on a budget not much more than £1 million, so its not entirely impossible.

Likewise, for League 1, a purely semi pro environment would give clubs the opportunity to thrive at that level and encourage new teams to join them at that level too - expansion clubs don't have to be all at the fully pro level. I would caveat that though with the view that League 1 would be restricted to an entirely British (and potentially Irish) affair - though cross channel tours and games with Elite 1 teams would be encouraged. 

There would definitely be teething pains for the pro leagues and it would 100% only be able to happen if there was a plan to encourage and allow growth from the outset. Nobody wants to watch loop fixtures on end. I'd advocate several things alongside it, including total root and stem reform of the salary cap, League entry fees and enshrined international windows - as whilst restructures seem major, without these other changes they're just tinkering with what is already there.

There has to be an open and clear way for new teams to enter, either from scratch or from League 1, that everyone can see and be aware of. 

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23 minutes ago, Smudger06 said:

Pretty sick, it's not like they are killing random strangers by throwing them outta the lifeboats either.....its their brother and sister (clubs)......

I think its backstabbing on some levels particularly from the likes of perennial championship clubs with, shall we say, "inflated" impressions of their stature. 

Equally though I understand the argument that giving millions to the second tier to play at semi-pro/professional RL doesn't really make sense.

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2 hours ago, Damien said:

League 1 clubs currently get £75k. If cuts need to be made across the board then this could be cut to £50k or even £25k. I refuse to believe that every Super League club couldn't do without £50k to fund a League 1 club, its not even the average wage of one Super League player.

Spot on. Splitting to a League One North and League One South would reduce travel costs for clubs and see more away fans with shorter distances to travel. This will help make the clubs viable at that level and see more clubs step up to that level in the midlands and south. 

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Just now, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Spot on. Splitting to a League One North and League One South would reduce travel costs for clubs and see more away fans with shorter distances to travel. This will help make the clubs viable at that level and see more clubs step up to that level in the midlands and south. 

Theres not enough interest at that level as is........although there is potential to grow that tier, however with any reduction of funding and removal of promotion this tier is totally dead. 

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I've just mentioned exclusivity is damaging. 

Another thing that is damaging what we all know about is any type of loop fixtures, you don't see many people going to see a film at the cinema twice do you? The only ppl going to these repeat fixtures are some of the ones forced to through their season tickets, trying to get their monies worth. Also on a minor point compared to above, they skew fairness.......

So there's two things that are definitely very detrimental to the sport. 

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2 minutes ago, Smudger06 said:

I've just mentioned exclusivity is damaging. 

Another thing that is damaging what we all know about is any type of loop fixtures, you don't see many people going to see a film at the cinema twice do you? The only ppl going to these repeat fixtures are some of the ones forced to through their season tickets, trying to get their monies worth. Also on a minor point compared to above, they skew fairness.......

So there's two things that are definitely very detrimental to the sport. 

Sky; top 2 picks, get the 3rd pick of the round onto a FTA channel. Then the rest of the games the clubs can sell at £2.50 a pop on ourleague. 

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47 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

2x10 just smacks of trying to please everyone, whilst at the same time not really pleasing anyone. 

For starters, calling it "SL2" just cheapens the Super League brand. You may as well call it "Super League" and "Slightly Less Than Super League" and it would have just as much marketability. 

And then we're back to the main question - how does any of this get people who don't currently watch rugby league watching rugby league? Who is the audience for it? Who are the target markets? Why is a promotion and relegation battle between SL1 and SL2 any more marketable than the promotion and relegation battles that we have now and, for the most part, fail to pull in the punters? How does this structure make the title race any more appealing than it currently is? How does it get more people watching the Grand Final? 

The fundamental problem here is not the structure. The fundamental issue here is the sport doesn't seem know the audiences it wants to reach, it doesn't seem to know how to take the sport to market and it doesn't seem know how to improve it's relevance and appeal (and if it does know, it seems incapable of doing it). 

So what does throwing £10m a year of TV funding at the second tier of the sport, given a cheap title of "SL2",  do to address that? How does it deliver a return on investment? 

Excellent post. 

Sweaty talks about a vision... but I agree with you; 2 x 10s is not a vision. It’s simply a restructure and divides the pot into 20 rather than 30+. Nothing more; nothing less. 

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29 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

So what does throwing £10m a year of TV funding at the second tier of the sport, given a cheap title of "SL2",  do to address that? How does it deliver a return on investment? 

Since we started throwing around £6m a year at the Championship, crowds have grown substantially. The competition is much more cosmopolitan than Super League. Its Grand Final in 2019 was the second most watched game of rugby league on Sky that year. 

I would say that increasing our investment in the Championship to £10m would be likely to deliver even more new eyes.

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There is also the issue of brain injury research necessitating a reduction in fixtures. Divisions of 10/11 teams playing 18-20 league matches a season may be forced on the game (I hope). Having two high quality competitions will allow us to reduce the impact on players whilst still being able to supply TV with 30+ weekends of rugby a year.

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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

2x10 just smacks of trying to please everyone, whilst at the same time not really pleasing anyone. 

For starters, calling it "SL2" just cheapens the Super League brand. You may as well call it "Super League" and "Slightly Less Than Super League" and it would have just as much marketability. 

And then we're back to the main question - how does any of this get people who don't currently watch rugby league watching rugby league? Who is the audience for it? Who are the target markets? Why is a promotion and relegation battle between SL1 and SL2 any more marketable than the promotion and relegation battles that we have now and, for the most part, fail to pull in the punters? How does this structure make the title race any more appealing than it currently is? How does it get more people watching the Grand Final? 

The fundamental problem here is not the structure. The fundamental issue here is the sport doesn't seem know the audiences it wants to reach, it doesn't seem to know how to take the sport to market and it doesn't seem know how to improve it's relevance and appeal (and if it does know, it seems incapable of doing it). 

So what does throwing £10m a year of TV funding at the second tier of the sport, given a cheap title of "SL2",  do to address that? How does it deliver a return on investment? 

Come on mate, I'd dying to hear your solution?

Just to be clear, (I'm not out to contradict you) I agree wholeheartedly, with your definition of the problem.

This isn't the first time, you've made your point.

How can SL/RFL turn it around?

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29 minutes ago, Archie Gordon said:

Since we started throwing around £6m a year at the Championship, crowds have grown substantially. The competition is much more cosmopolitan than Super League. Its Grand Final in 2019 was the second most watched game of rugby league on Sky that year. 

I would say that increasing our investment in the Championship to £10m would be likely to deliver even more new eyes.

I'd argue that much of that is luck rather than judgement. Bradford's collapse brought several thousand new fans into the Championship who would otherwise have been watching Super League, whilst the "cosmopolitan" aspect is simply down to which clubs have/haven't earned Super League status yet. 

Neither of those points you can realistically attribute to "we started putting money into the championship". 

I'm not necessarily arguing against funding the lower reaches of the competition, but I do think it's fair to question what the return on investment is. The main beneficiaries of that £6m appear to have been the likes of Ryan Brierley, Craig Hall, Dane Chisholm, Jack Bussey, Steve Tyer and Scott Murrell and, with respect, the game doesn't owe any of those guys a full-time living. 

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7 minutes ago, fighting irish said:

Come on mate, I'd dying to hear your solution?

Just to be clear, (I'm not out to contradict you) I agree wholeheartedly, with your definition of the problem.

This isn't the first time, you've made your point.

How can SL/RFL turn it around?

It decides what it actually wants to achieve as a professional sports competition. 

It identifies which audiences it needs to attract in order to achieve that aim. 

It works out where those audiences are. 

It works out what those audiences want. 

It works out how to offer what those audiences want with what it has, and get it to them. 

Instead, we see the sport going around and around in circles, arguing about how to carve up a pretty small cake and messing around with league structures, fixture schedules and expansion discussions that fundamentally miss the core problem. 

The sport needs to start thinking much more like a media property - not just a collection of individual businesses each trying to sell tickets every weekend to the same people. As a sport, RL has the power to produce huge amounts of content and it does just that, but it seems that nobody is thinking about how to use it and who, if anyone, wants to buy it. 

Just this weekend there were thousands of RL fans getting their knickers in a twist about a tweet from the England v Italy Six Nations match. Amongst all of the comments of "you see that every week" in rugby league was a group of people completely missing the point - people don't "see" it every week in rugby league. It might "happen" every week, but hardly anyone sees it (that tweet has more than 20x more views than the entire subsciption base of the Super League YouTube channel). Now, to their credit, Super League put out a "respost" later that day but the damage had already been done by that point - RU gets to "own" the narrative about those acrobatic finishes. The army of RL fans moaning about it in the replies? They just look like bitter chippy northerners. 

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39 minutes ago, Archie Gordon said:

There is also the issue of brain injury research necessitating a reduction in fixtures. Divisions of 10/11 teams playing 18-20 league matches a season may be forced on the game (I hope). Having two high quality competitions will allow us to reduce the impact on players whilst still being able to supply TV with 30+ weekends of rugby a year.

Do you suggest large gaps in the start and Finnish of each season with an overlap in the middle? If so I think you are onto something, if Championship started a lot earlier, the promoted team would have much more time to plan and prepare, as well as delivering a decent amount of tv weekends. 

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39 minutes ago, Archie Gordon said:

Since we started throwing around £6m a year at the Championship, crowds have grown substantially. The competition is much more cosmopolitan than Super League. Its Grand Final in 2019 was the second most watched game of rugby league on Sky that year. 

I would say that increasing our investment in the Championship to £10m would be likely to deliver even more new eyes.

I totally agree with all of this. The Championship is an underrated competition that has the attraction of teams in large population centres outside of traditional areas with plenty of potential growth in attracting new fans to the game.

So much more interesting to see a competition with the likes of York, Newcastle, Sheffield, real cities rather than just the same old heartland teams all from within a stones throw of each other.

The jump in average crowds from ~1900 to ~2500 between 2018 and 2019 plus those Grand Final viewing figures is telling.

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3 hours ago, Rupert Prince said:

SL gave away millions from the TV deal to lower leagues and its been wasted.  The proposed SL deal is solely for SL, and at approx reported 30 million it's an increase.  This is why the Championship are so anxious to get back control of SL

The vast majority of none SL teams cannot be even part time.  If such clubs can make payments they should.  So should St Pats etc.  But there really should be no level of formal contracts.  It should be amateur or more accurately Open.

Given available money its pie in the sky to even suggest 20 teams in a 2 division system.  12 is barely credible.  But plausible compromise might justify 14.   

Overwhelmingly it surely right in the medium term to limit professional Rugby League in England and France to a maximum 14 teams.  All below, in regional divisions and amateur.

The day when a low pay, part time, low admission price, 30 team competition which aspired to the Challenge Cup, has long since gone.  Thay boat sailed when RU went professional.  It's a boat that's trailing in our wake and by the looks of it the clubs are (maybe they already have) determined to burn its lifeboat.

You’ve ducked the question as you clearly cannot admit the massive differences between St Pats & the clubs I named. 
 

BTW any evidence of the millions “given away” and then apparently “wasted”?

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Problem is Rugby League can never settle on a happy format. I still remember the early 00's when the National Leagues came in. I was pleased to see Hemel, Oxford, All Golds and Coventry make the step up and Toronto also.

 

If the RFL wanted they could easy when covid is over hand out spot to European cities which appeal more but sadly unlike Football there isnt a massive pool of players.

This is now highlighted within the heartland clubs and Outside the Super League with so many semi pro clubs eager to push on but not having the finances.

I hope Promotin and Relegation stays Catalans and Toulouse have shown there is growth and expansion can work.

 

I think 14 team Super League can work i always have thought the RFL needs to establish a team in Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow or Edinburgh if given time and helped developed properly these areas can help grow the game. Add to younger players already familiar with Union and Galic football and the summer months these sides could work.

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3 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

You would hope so yes, but given the current "save yourselves" attitude of kicking people out of the life boats currently, I can't honestly say I'm confident about it.

Is it kicking them out or allowing others in, eg clubs in the NC may want a go as a PT club with 25k funding and most have a bigger income than the clubs they would be joining outside central funding

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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

... the likes of Ryan Brierley, Craig Hall, Dane Chisholm, Jack Bussey, Steve Tyer and Scott Murrell and, with respect, the game doesn't owe any of those guys a full-time living. 

Really? I absolutely love watching the likes of Murrell. If the choice for these guys is retirement at 32 or knocking around in the Championship until they are 35, I choose the latter. I am genuinely excited to see what BJB, Cuthbertson, Sammut, Casty, Peyroux, Brough, Moors, etc. can still do. Just as I am excited to see these same players get put on their ***** by a kid fresh out of the academy. I think this is one of the joys of the Championship.

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2 hours ago, sweaty craiq said:

You are half wrong, but cash is needed to expand/grow and at present we manage by keeping the cap low which is not the signal to attract cash - therefore owners/fans will have to tip more in.

Many Millions of pounds have been thrown at clubs ever since the inception of SL, the only thing that has changed is, the amount of money being paid to the players that would have been playing in this country anyway.

Given the historical evidence of what happens when cash is injected directly into the clubs via a TV deal. What makes you think that the same thing will not just happen again? The same players, doing the same job, but for more money.

You could throw twice the amount of TV money at the SL clubs, they would still not be able to tempt the best players from the NRL or indeed RU. 

In terms of the salary cap, how is having a massive gap between the top and bottom clubs good for the game?

How would watching Wigan, Leeds, Warrington and Saints spending 4 or 5 times the amount on there squads, playing Leigh or Wakefield for example who can only really afford to spend £2M. I'm sure the global sponsors will be bursting to break out the cash to watch those 4 thrash all of the other teams in the division by 80 points most weeks. 

Just how does your suggestion make the game more likely to gain a global footprint, grow the game in this country, or increase its chances of being able to attract new money, or international sponsors?

 

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4 minutes ago, Archie Gordon said:

Really? I absolutely love watching the likes of Murrell. If the choice for these guys is retirement at 32 or knocking around in the Championship until they are 35, I choose the latter. I am genuinely excited to see what BJB, Cuthbertson, Sammut, Casty, Peyroux, Brough, Moors, etc. can still do. Just as I am excited to see these same players get put on their ***** by a kid fresh out of the academy. I think this is one of the joys of the Championship.

Also an argument for having a place for these players to eek out a bit of money for their last few years while they transition to normal life. I think if I was a young player debating whether to turn pro or go a different path that might factor into my decision. 

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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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11 minutes ago, sweaty craiq said:

Is it kicking them out or allowing others in, eg clubs in the NC may want a go as a PT club with 25k funding and most have a bigger income than the clubs they would be joining outside central funding

Well obviously it depends on the side of the fence you are (literally) on. If you're Batley or Dewsbury you'll probably think to some extent that you're birthright is being cut off from you, likewise obviously opportunities open up elsewhere for others.

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