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Rugby league-could some lessons be learned from cricket?


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2 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Adam Pearson on the BBC podcast has said that talks have started with people who have created events for other sports for Rugby League to create our own “The Hundred”. 

I despair. 

The game needs so much more from its leaders and those in positions of power. Its worrying that the answers to the issues facing the game always seem to consist of copying the latest gimmick from the NRL or other sports. Its nearly always fluff and the hard decisions are never made.

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I watched the Hundred tonight for the first time and found it ok watching. The,extremely mixed and quite numerous,crowd,seemed to be enjoying it immensely as well.

This form of cricket,although a team game,is presented as a gladiatorial battle between two individuals,namely the batsman and the bowler. (Sorry,can't stomach the word batter,except in a fish and chips context)

I really don't see how the Hundred could be translated into a rugby league game,but we sure could use the crowds,excitement and,most importantly,massive publicity.

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18 minutes ago, JF1 said:

I watched the Hundred tonight for the first time and found it ok watching. The,extremely mixed and quite numerous,crowd,seemed to be enjoying it immensely as well.

This form of cricket,although a team game,is presented as a gladiatorial battle between two individuals,namely the batsman and the bowler. (Sorry,can't stomach the word batter,except in a fish and chips context)

I really don't see how the Hundred could be translated into a rugby league game,but we sure could use the crowds,excitement and,most importantly,massive publicity.

I’m guessing that we’d end up with some gimmick ridden 9s tournament that would combine the worst bits of The Hundred and the Auckland 9s. 

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1 hour ago, Hela Wigmen said:

I’m guessing that we’d end up with some gimmick ridden 9s tournament that would combine the worst bits of The Hundred and the Auckland 9s. 

Doesn't matter what snazzy format they come up with - (a) they won't chuck anywhere near enough money and resources behind it to promote it like the ECB have done with The Hundred (they're apparently spending £39 million on it per year), and (b) unless it is international or involves new teams in new areas then it is going to be irrelevant to the vast majority of the wider public.

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7 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Doesn't matter what snazzy format they come up with - (a) they won't chuck anywhere near enough money and resources behind it to promote it like the ECB have done with The Hundred (they're apparently spending £39 million on it per year), and (b) unless it is international or involves new teams in new areas then it is going to be irrelevant to the vast majority of the wider public.

And the hundred isn't a proven success yet 

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The lesson from the Hundred is how you attract a different audience to a sport other than the core demographic.

This is absolutely nothing to do with the format of 2x100 trajections of a leather-ensconced cork ball towards an armoured person holding a piece of rubber-gripped willow. 

It’s about a fun day/evening out, an exciting event etc. You can take the kids. Or just have a few with the boys. Or even the girls…

In other words, the people who pay to go in having a good time and going home happy they went regardless of the result. 

Is attending rugby league matches a fun day/evening out regardless of the result? If not, why not?

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5 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

The lesson from the Hundred is how you attract a different audience to a sport other than the core demographic.

And yet the evidence, such as we have, is that it hasn't done this.

The vast majority, to an overwhelming degree, are people and families who already regularly play and watch cricket.

My favourite example, and I may have mentioned it before, was a BBC walkaround where every single person they found to talk about their new found love of the game had been to the ground before and, in one case, were coming as a reward for having won a junior cricket cup the day before.

But it is a good example of what to do right when you market the whole competition as the product (and unify the offer across all sites) *and* how to use free to air coverage well.

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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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10 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

The lesson from the Hundred is how you attract a different audience to a sport other than the core demographic.

This is absolutely nothing to do with the format of 2x100 trajections of a leather-ensconced cork ball towards an armoured person holding a piece of rubber-gripped willow. 

It’s about a fun day/evening out, an exciting event etc. You can take the kids. Or just have a few with the boys. Or even the girls…

In other words, the people who pay to go in having a good time and going home happy they went regardless of the result. 

Is attending rugby league matches a fun day/evening out regardless of the result? If not, why not?

A few things we have to look at is

1) Price point do you get value for money. 

2) Kick off times/ending times

3) Facilities are they up to standard

4) Coverage area (locations) 

5) Perception of the game why do the NFL have so many "fans" in the UK most haven't seen a game in the US or are American but will buy merchandise and watch on TV. 

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16 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

And yet the evidence, such as we have, is that it hasn't done this.

The vast majority, to an overwhelming degree, are people and families who already regularly play and watch cricket.

My favourite example, and I may have mentioned it before, was a BBC walkaround where every single person they found to talk about their new found love of the game had been to the ground before and, in one case, were coming as a reward for having won a junior cricket cup the day before.

But it is a good example of what to do right when you market the whole competition as the product (and unify the offer across all sites) *and* how to use free to air coverage well.

Cricket isn't an especially well ran sport, so its obviously going to have flaws.

This should be an exercise in learning what we can from this (having not invested a penny into it) and more importantly seeing what we could do better.

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Just now, Tommygilf said:

Cricket isn't an especially well ran sport, so its obviously going to have flaws.

This should be an exercise in learning what we can from this (having not invested a penny into it) and more importantly seeing what we could do better.

I've already given my opinion on that.

Broadly, a unified approach - the tournament is the thing - and each venue having an offer (in this case: Family Stand, No Alcohol Stand, Bronze/Silver/Gold areas, hospitality) that is the same in each and similar pricing, along with a guarantee that there will be a high standard of merchandise, catering and bars, family diversions.

All this backed up by decent (not perfect, it was really bad at the start) marketing.

Lastly, making sure that the presentation on free to air in particular is positive.

There's nothing there that we couldn't learn from and doing it would make a massive improvement to the game.

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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15 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

I've already given my opinion on that.

Broadly, a unified approach - the tournament is the thing - and each venue having an offer (in this case: Family Stand, No Alcohol Stand, Bronze/Silver/Gold areas, hospitality) that is the same in each and similar pricing, along with a guarantee that there will be a high standard of merchandise, catering and bars, family diversions.

All this backed up by decent (not perfect, it was really bad at the start) marketing.

Lastly, making sure that the presentation on free to air in particular is positive.

There's nothing there that we couldn't learn from and doing it would make a massive improvement to the game.

Ironically, this is exactly what the SL here and down under were trying to achieve in the 1990s. Remember the kit designs for the Aus SL teams but the UK wasn't interested in following with their clubs - just wanted the cash. Also, for a period of time there was one match day programme per week printed centrally for the whole of SL (think it lasted a season or maybe less).

SL in Australia failed because the whole game wouldn't get behind it. That is the story of RL and its stunted growth. 

Edited by Scubby
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52 minutes ago, BridBeachRL said:

A few things we have to look at is

1) Price point do you get value for money. 

2) Kick off times/ending times

3) Facilities are they up to standard

4) Coverage area (locations) 

5) Perception of the game why do the NFL have so many "fans" in the UK most haven't seen a game in the US or are American but will buy merchandise and watch on TV. 

1,2 and 3 are bare minimum stuff. Sadly there are too many RL clubs not doing the bare minimum stuff. 

There's also an X-factor in play with good matchday experiences that is less tangible. A vibrancy, a shared sense of 'a happening'.  

Things like Hull KR's Craven Streat tap into it. Barrow too. It's a communal thing. A tribe eating & drinking together. And it's not offering just pies and peas - it's more cosmopolitan, more worldly.

Not sure I'm making sense but hopefully it does!

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I haven't watched more than a few minutes of the hundred. But what I do know is that it's receiving 100x more publicity and FTA coverage than RL has had, well, ever.

To this end, it hardly matters if the crowd are newbies or life long fans. But RL fans see fit to look down their nose at it? Lol

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4 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

I haven't watched more than a few minutes of the hundred. But what I do know is that it's receiving 100x more publicity and FTA coverage than RL has had, well, ever.

To this end, it hardly matters if the crowd are newbies or life long fans. But RL fans see fit to look down their nose at it? Lol

The Hundred has painted itself as attracting new fans rather than engaging and attracting a decent portion of their existing fanbase. 

 

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22 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

I haven't watched more than a few minutes of the hundred. But what I do know is that it's receiving 100x more publicity and FTA coverage than RL has had, well, ever.

To this end, it hardly matters if the crowd are newbies or life long fans. But RL fans see fit to look down their nose at it? Lol

Cricket is more popular than rugby league by a factor of ... a lot. So there's a massive head start in terms of publicity and engagement. There's also a reality: away from the broadcast partners, coverage has dropped off a cliff from the opening day.

There's another reality: this one tournament has cost more than double the RFL's entire annual income.

Hence why our learning from it shouldn't be to copy it but to take what can be done well and transpose it.

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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3 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

In other words, the people who pay to go in having a good time and going home happy they went regardless of the result. 

Is attending rugby league matches a fun day/evening out regardless of the result? If not, why not?

I wouldn’t have thought so, certainly not with your run of the mill league game. The reason being most who attend games have a vested interest in the result. Same as football. 

There are exceptions. For instance going to see a final as a neutral, or going to a game to watch an individual. The Challenge Cup final would apply (or at least it did when bus loads of fans from other clubs attended). And on going to watch a player that goes back to the need for a star attraction. I will use this example again to sum up the pull of such an individual

I don’t think cricket has fans going there to see any individual, so that isn’t a factor here, and these are new teams so there isn’t the same vested interest that you get with fans of rugby league (or football) clubs. Cricket is able to generate a carnival type atmosphere which is quite unique. It’s very accessible to anyone. My dad has been watching these games and could barely name a team, but loves it.

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1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

Cricket is more popular than rugby league by a factor of ... a lot. So there's a massive head start in terms of publicity and engagement. There's also a reality: away from the broadcast partners, coverage has dropped off a cliff from the opening day.

There's another reality: this one tournament has cost more than double the RFL's entire annual income.

Hence why our learning from it shouldn't be to copy it but to take what can be done well and transpose it.

Cricket isn’t geographically locked either, plus it’s the most quintessentially English sport (quite rightly featured more prominently than any other sport at the London Olympics opening ceremony). It is able to have a wide appeal among the public. It’s one of those rare team sports where a player is loved by pretty much everyone (Beefy, Flintoff, etc). You don’t get much tribalism. 

 

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2 hours ago, Hela Wigmen said:

The Hundred has painted itself as attracting new fans rather than engaging and attracting a decent portion of their existing fanbase. 

 

It really doesn't matter what it has painted itself as, it's resulted in a massive amount of publicity for their game. 

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2 hours ago, gingerjon said:

Cricket is more popular than rugby league by a factor of ... a lot. So there's a massive head start in terms of publicity and engagement. There's also a reality: away from the broadcast partners, coverage has dropped off a cliff from the opening day.

There's another reality: this one tournament has cost more than double the RFL's entire annual income.

Hence why our learning from it shouldn't be to copy it but to take what can be done well and transpose it.

Cricket is more popular than RL, yes but it realises that this doesn't mean it will always be the case and takes steps to attract the next generation of fans. RL just says TGG as if that will somehow secure it's survival.

I absolutely don't think RL should just try and copy it. Rather, as you say, take anything from it that might be relevant to generating new punters/excitement and applying any applicable bits. 

Edited by Johnoco
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In my opinion what The Hundred has done is recognise that people don't always have time and don't always want to devote hours and hours to following a sport. Even if it's a sport they love, they still have other worldly considerations that restrict their availability to follow something. By putting on a smaller number of top level matches, in a short space of time, it has allowed people to really engage with the tournament. I've been a fan of Test cricket since the late 1980's, and Twenty20 since 2003, but in terms of following Hampshire, I've been fairly loose with it in recent years. One of the reasons is the sheer number of games and the time period that they are played over. What The Hundred has done is allow me to focus, for one month, on a smaller number of high profile matches. I've absolutely loved it and I've watched more cricket in this past month than I've done for many years. I've been to two of the Southern Brave matches, couldn't make a third, and couldn't get tickets for the fourth. Because it was only eight games, I felt able to follow the entire 'journey' (either at the ground or on tv). In the same way, perhaps, that someone might watch England football at the World Cup (because it's one month of important matches), but won't bother to follow the qualifiers that are spread over many months.

I'm not saying that a Hundred can work with rugby league. As others have pointed out, the geography, the general level of interest in cricket compared to RL, etc. are things that probably mean it can't work. What it does re-enforce though is the need to have top level and high profile events, as well as the 'regular season'. The RL WC is one such event. So is State of Origin. So is the Challenge Cup final and the Grand final. These are the events that people like me, who aren't hardcore fans, are more likely to bother with. I think RL has done well in some ways - the RLWC nowadays is far better than it used to be - now that it's (normally) every four years and played over a month. On the other hand, I don't think RL has done so well with its treatment of the Ashes and the Four Nations. It was the Ashes that got me interested in RL, and I feel that it shouldn't have been allowed to disappear - even if the Kangaroo tours of old were no longer possible. Consistency is one of the things that people like about major sporting events - it's nice to know when and where they are taking place. The Grand National is in April, it's Wimbledon tennis in June, etc. When you're a sports fan, you learn these things from a young age and the habit and desire to watch stays with you. In that sense, a sport doesn't even really need to do much marketing, because the audience is effectively there waiting for the event.

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6 minutes ago, 17 stone giant said:

In my opinion what The Hundred has done is recognise that people don't always have time and don't always want to devote hours and hours to following a sport.

Quite correct but this is where comparisons fall down for me with RL. The Hundred is fundamentally different to what people are trying to equate it to in Rugby League, which is generally a nines tournament. Time and devoting hours are not necessarily the issue when it comes to a RL match, a nines tournament lasts longer than a RL match.

Listening to club chairman propose 8s and 9s competitions thinking it is magically going to transform things is typical RL thinking and completely misses the issues and point. Its a very lazy attempt at a quick fix because it seems, and I stress seems at this stage, to be working in another sport that has spent a shed load of money on it and has blanket media coverage of it.

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8 hours ago, Scubby said:

Ironically, this is exactly what the SL here and down under were trying to achieve in the 1990s. Remember the kit designs for the Aus SL teams but the UK wasn't interested in following with their clubs - just wanted the cash. Also, for a period of time there was one match day programme per week printed centrally for the whole of SL (think it lasted a season or maybe less).

SL in Australia failed because the whole game wouldn't get behind it. That is the story of RL and its stunted growth. 

Stuff I tried to get the lower tier clubs look at when under licencing 

Not happen 

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1 hour ago, GUBRATS said:

For the hundred 

The hundred is cricket. Any gains or losses will be felt by the overall game. I know you think people will sit down and denigrate it or compare it with Viv Richards side of the 70’s but most people will just enjoy it or think it seems exciting. A positive image can help massively when it comes to sponsorships etc etc

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