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League Restructure Thread (Merged Threads)


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11 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

The issue with Magic is that it doesn't really resonate with anyone outside the typical RL bubble. 

It's a great event - one we should keep and build - but it simply sells to the same people who already buy the 20-odd other rounds on sale (nd throws in the hassle of getting to Newcastle in the process). As a mechanism for appealing to a new audience it's ineffective because it doesn't offer anything that the other 20-odd rounds don't offer. It's another round of loop fixtures - something which the clubs know aren't popular - wrapped in a bow. It could be so much more than that. 

And that, to me, applies to any conversation about any structure changes you care to come up with. 

  • How does a 14 team league appeal to people who don't already watch RL?
  • How does a 16-team league appeal to anyone who doesn't watch RL? 
  • How does 2x10 appeal to anyone who doesn't watch RL?
  • How do more loop fixtures appeal to anyone who doesn't watch RL? 

Unless you can come up with a positive answer to any of those or similar questions, the sport is wasting it's time (at least as far as growth is concerned). 

That’s the thing. There’s pretty minor details  to be fiddled with to make Magic a different spectacle from just some teams playing fixtures in a different stadium than their ordinary one that comes down to marketing, PR and advertising rather than much else. It’s quite lazily arranged. The 2020 Magic seemed to have a bit more thought put into it, with a fan park as a trail through the city centre rather than in a small car park by a Metro station, as done previously. 

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2 minutes ago, redjonn said:

I tend to agree with you but have doubts about the semi double header. I always see that as admittance of failure to attract a large enough gate for each game.

Funnily enough that is what non RL fans have said to me when seeing Magic too.

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2 minutes ago, redjonn said:

I tend to agree with you but have doubts about the semi double header. I always see that as admittance of failure to attract a large enough gate for each game.  Far better for me if we had two semi's, packed out and on different weekend days on the BBC/FTA and hence potential of different audiences too.

Having the joint semi is pragmatic to the issue of being unable to attract large number of fans to each CC semi's. That in itself says a lot.

That’s true. It’s worked alright, I’d rather two back-to-back games shown on TV at different grounds with decent crowds but given what we have and what we had prior, it’s not a terrible alternative. 

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2 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

I'd change Magic to the Challenge Cup quarter finals instead. You could also have the 1895 quarters included.

Who would be left by the final game? What would be the most fans in the ground at any one point?

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33 minutes ago, Derwent said:

So it seems Sky are behind the proposal for a 10 team SL based on the fact that they are disgruntled by the quality of the games recently. If that's the case then you can forget about decent funding for the second league of 10 as Sky will insist that the funding goes to the top tier to improve the quality of teams in it.

It reminds me of speedway in this country, at one time Sky were all over it and pumping money in to attract the world's leading riders to the British Elite League. There were 12 teams in the league. Then Sky decided there should be 8 teams and changes were made. A couple of years later Sky walked away and left the sport in disarray to the point that there are only 6 teams in the top tier now.

I don't think that is entirely an accurate assessment of Sky's position with Super League tbh.

I see it more that Sky have said "justify why we should pay you this figure when we see x-problem". I don't think Sky have a grand plan or anything, that's all a bit old school for them. This is about Sky saying that the value of Super League to them is under review and that Super League (and Rugby League as a whole) needs to justify why it gets upwards of £30 Million a season when compared with other sports on Sky's roster.

I whole heartedly believe the reduction to 10 is a suggestion that has now reared its head as Ken Davy, the current Super League chairman, is on of its biggest proponent. Its what he will have believed and publicly supported for nearly 10 years by the time the new TV deal comes into play.

This is how he believes he can match Sky's demands to make Super League worth the investment to them. This isn't Sky saying "you must go to 10", it is Super League, under the current administration, saying "going to 10 is how we're going to make ourselves most worthy of your investment".

Sky will naturally ask "how?" And be involved in the subsequent discussions, but the initial idea for 10 is Super Leagues.

Sky just want an entertaining product that provides them with an audience and wider interest to sell to. 

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1 minute ago, Scubby said:

Who would be left by the final game? What would be the most fans in the ground at any one point?

I expect it would be the same as Magic currently is - the fans of the last 2 teams playing and some neutrals.

Personally, I'm not overly convinced by Magic as a concept, but if it has to stay in the calendar then I'd much rather it was a CC round. The lopsided SL fixture list it creates is problematic for the integrity of the comp in my opinion. But Magic is a big event in RL's calendar (and we don't have many) and a lot of fans seem to rave about it.

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6 minutes ago, Scubby said:

Who would be left by the final game? What would be the most fans in the ground at any one point?

Yes that is the trouble with multiple matches on the same day. Many RL fans have no interest in sitting through two games never mind more. It's not a slight on RL, fans of most sports are the same.

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6 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I don't think that is entirely an accurate assessment of Sky's position with Super League tbh.

I see it more that Sky have said "justify why we should pay you this figure when we see x-problem". I don't think Sky have a grand plan or anything, that's all a bit old school for them. This is about Sky saying that the value of Super League to them is under review and that Super League (and Rugby League as a whole) needs to justify why it gets upwards of £30 Million a season when compared with other sports on Sky's roster.

I whole heartedly believe the reduction to 10 is a suggestion that has now reared its head as Ken Davy, the current Super League chairman, is on of its biggest proponent. Its what he will have believed and publicly supported for nearly 10 years by the time the new TV deal comes into play.

This is how he believes he can match Sky's demands to make Super League worth the investment to them. This isn't Sky saying "you must go to 10", it is Super League, under the current administration, saying "going to 10 is how we're going to make ourselves most worthy of your investment".

Sky will naturally ask "how?" And be involved in the subsequent discussions, but the initial idea for 10 is Super Leagues.

Sky just want an entertaining product that provides them with an audience and wider interest to sell to. 

Sky are driving the dilution to 10 teams according to Martyn Sadler.

I’m not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally

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24 minutes ago, redjonn said:

Don't disagree except to say that if one of the options leads to a better product on the pitch that in itself can help with growing a new audience... note I say help as in of itself what's on the pitch is only a  part of the overall equation to having an offering that appeals beyond its current fanbase.

"A better product" can be a bit intangible and nebulous though and, fundamentally, a better standard of 'original flavour' rugby league is still 'original flavour' rugby league. Unless we know the reason why people aren't watching. we're just guessing at answers. 

If people aren't seeing the appeal of 'original flavour rugby league' then improving the quality isn't necessarily going to change that. The game therefore needs to decide whether those audiences are ones that it wants to win, ones that it can win and, if so, what it needs to do to win them. 

18 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

That’s the thing. There’s pretty minor details  to be fiddled with to make Magic a different spectacle from just some teams playing fixtures in a different stadium than their ordinary one that comes down to marketing, PR and advertising rather than much else. It’s quite lazily arranged. The 2020 Magic seemed to have a bit more thought put into it, with a fan park as a trail through the city centre rather than in a small car park by a Metro station, as done previously. 

The issue just seems to be that the sport doesn't really seem to know what it wants or needs Magic to be. 

  • Is it just another round of games that we ask existing fans to attend? 
  • Is it a travelling circus that we take from town to town and sell to the locals?
  • Is it supposed to support an upcoming expansion team?
  • Is it supposed to be a 'Glastonbury of RL' that fans make a pilgrimage to every year?
  • Is it just something the sport forgot to cancel?

All of those purposes have their own pros and cons and at the moment, it just feels like it is the first one. That's fine, as long as the sport is honest with itself and accepts that it is always going to be an under-utilised opportunity. 

To me, every and any change that the sport wants to propose needs to meet a pretty simple test - does it appeal to someone who doesn't currently watch rugby league? If it doesn't, either don't do it, or accept that it's simply rearranging the deckchairs. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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2 minutes ago, Damien said:

Yes that is the trouble with multiple matches on the same day. Many RL fans have no interest in sitting through two games never mind more. It's not a slight on RL, fans of most sports are the same.

Yes it's funny that on the one hand, Magic is lauded as a brilliant concept that will appeal to the neutral, and it involves 3-4 full length games in a day. And on the other, people are talking about cricket's Hundred, and how to shorten things to make the game more accessible to a neutral.

I think @whatmichaelsays is on the money with his question about what any changes to the format will do to attract a new audience.

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10 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

I expect it would be the same as Magic currently is - the fans of the last 2 teams playing and some neutrals.

Personally, I'm not overly convinced by Magic as a concept, but if it has to stay in the calendar then I'd much rather it was a CC round. The lopsided SL fixture list it creates is problematic for the integrity of the comp in my opinion. But Magic is a big event in RL's calendar (and we don't have many) and a lot of fans seem to rave about it.

Magic should be something like double headers (maybe even including Champ/L1 locals) taken to developing territories as multiple standalone 1-day events

Catalans v Castleford, Warrington v Hull, Toulouse v [Opponents] - 20-30k ground in France

Wigan v Huddersfield, Leeds v Wakefield, Coventry v [Opponents] - Ricoh Arena

Saints v Hull KR, Salford v Leigh, Newcastle v [Opponents] - St James Park/Sunderland/Middlesbrough

The aim to get 30-50k locals to attend over the 3 games instead of going to the same well of travelling fans, again and again (pssing off home after their game) and 5k locals tops turning up.

Edited by Scubby
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1 minute ago, Derwent said:

Sky are driving the dilution to 10 teams according to Martyn Sadler.

It's quite easy for clubs to spin it that way. I personally don't think that is the case based on what we have seen from Sky's involvement with the sport for 30 odd years.

I can well believe Sky have said they want something far better. I certainly don't think they said 10 and I think this is the clubs lazy, unimaginative solution. 

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1 minute ago, Derwent said:

Sky are driving the dilution to 10 teams according to Martyn Sadler.

It was Chris Jones, for the paper Martyn is editor of. And the headline is misleading, the article supports my view that the 10 team proposal is from the sport in response to Sky's position.

 

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5 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

"A better product" can be a bit intangible and nebulous though and, fundamentally, a better standard of 'original flavour' rugby league is still 'original flavour' rugby league. Unless we know the reason why people aren't watching. we're just guessing at answers. 

If people aren't seeing the appeal of 'original flavour rugby league' then improving the quality isn't necessarily going to change that. The game therefore needs to decide whether those audiences are ones that it wants to win, ones that it can win and, if so, what it needs to do to win them. 

The issue just seems to be that the sport doesn't really seem to know what it wants or needs Magic to be. 

  • Is it just another round of games that we ask existing fans to attend? 
  • Is it a travelling circus that we take from town to town and sell to the locals?
  • Is it supposed to support an upcoming expansion team?
  • Is it supposed to be a 'Glastonbury of RL' that fans make a pilgrimage to every year?
  • Is it just something the sport forgot to cancel?

All of those purposes have their own pros and cons and at the moment, it just feels like it is the first one. That's fine, as long as the sport is honest with itself and accepts that it is always going to be an under-utilised opportunity. 

To me, every and any change that the sport wants to propose needs to meet a pretty simple test - does it appeal to someone who doesn't currently watch rugby league? If it doesn't, either don't do it, or accept that it's simply rearranging the deckchairs. 

That’s the thing, it doesn’t know what it is. I recognise though that, as you suggest, it could be any of those points you suggest with the right leadership and people behind it. Currently, it’s the first but I don’t think that alone is enough to right it off completely. 

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52 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

So, to use the phrase that someone smartly did earlier in this thread, Sky put speedway on probation. Just like they've done with us. But the alternative is that they walk away today, and the game would most surely be in disarray if that happened, and we can't blame Sky. 

It's not Sky's job to sort out all the problems our sport has. They do have some obligations as media partner which we should make sure they meet, but they certainly aren't the root cause of our issues. 

Seems to me 2x10 is the best shot at maintaining a quality competition that Sky (or anyone else) will want to televise after 2023, but there's lots of work to do alongside that if it's going to work. 

Use to enjoy speedway as an aside, amazing then went to bt instead of getting out of the paywall on channel 5. 

Edited by ShropshireBull
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2 minutes ago, Damien said:

It's quite easy for clubs to spin it that way. I personally don't think that is the case based on what we have seen from Sky's involvement with the sport for 30 odd years.

I can well believe Sky have said they want something far better. I certainly don't think they said 10 and I think this is the clubs lazy, unimaginative solution. 

Yes it's almost like they've thought "If we don't have enough quality for 12 teams, then we must reduce to 10 teams", instead of working out how to raise the quality.

I would be tempted to tell the clubs that their TV income distribution will be X, and we want a league containing teams that will guarantee a minimum spend of X+Y on the team, plus Z on infrastructure, development systems etc. And then see how many teams can commit to a minimum spend to work out what the top division should look like. As we know, this will be turkeys voting for Christmas in the case of some clubs, so it'll never happen. Until they change the governance, the game is stuffed.

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55 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

Seem to remember Scotchy posting a similar strategy.

I think it´s the end of loop fixtures so tick, it´s not the death of smaller clubs that get in (your Widnes, Leigh get a boost if they get in), gives expansion clubs exposure to big teams on tv so they can fulfill their potential and crucially, gives us space for the real growth area that we have never exploited, internationals. 

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2 hours ago, Toby Chopra said:

I don't see why Magic is dead under 2 Tens. People always seem keen to do away with one of the most successful events we have. Sky love it and will want to see it continue.

We've had Championship games added before, so just have - for instance - Fev vs Bradford open up day one, job done. 

Because we could still do an event but instead of club teams with no wider audience we can have internation teams for a 9´s weekend instead. Sky still get an event at a full ground and we can appeal to a new market. 

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2 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Yes it's almost like they've thought "If we don't have enough quality for 12 teams, then we must reduce to 10 teams", instead of working out how to raise the quality.

I would be tempted to tell the clubs that their TV income distribution will be X, and we want a league containing teams that will guarantee a minimum spend of X+Y on the team, plus Z on infrastructure, development systems etc. And then see how many teams can commit to a minimum spend to work out what the top division should look like. As we know, this will be turkeys voting for Christmas in the case of some clubs, so it'll never happen. Until they change the governance, the game is stuffed.

They thought the same thing about quality going from 14 to 12. 

Its nonsense!

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10 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

It was Chris Jones, for the paper Martyn is editor of. And the headline is misleading, the article supports my view that the 10 team proposal is from the sport in response to Sky's position.

 

https://www.totalrl.com/get-ready-for-another-reorganisation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=get-ready-for-another-reorganisation

I’m not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally

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7 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

It was Chris Jones, for the paper Martyn is editor of. And the headline is misleading, the article supports my view that the 10 team proposal is from the sport in response to Sky's position.

 

Indeed. Sky are only driving he move to 10 in the sense that they've *already* cut the amount that they're paying for Superleague, and have told the RFL to improve the product or it could be even less/nothing in just 2 years time. 

RFL/SL are on the clock to preserve the English professional game, and with fewer resources to do it. This, it appears, is its response. Longer term issues remain, but in terms of signing a new contract in just 2 years or less, this makes sense to me. 

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If this new structure comes to pass there's going to be some squeaky bums in the 2022 season. You'd think the 2 newly promoted teams (likely Featherstone & Toulouse) will end up in the bottom 4, along side Leigh, leaving 1 drop spot left. HKR seem to be building just at the right time so Wakey & Salford look most in danger.

For me Toulouse are the big unknown so it could be that 3 current SL teams end up going down ?

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15 minutes ago, Saint Toppy said:

If this new structure comes to pass there's going to be some squeaky bums in the 2022 season. You'd think the 2 newly promoted teams (likely Featherstone & Toulouse) will end up in the bottom 4, along side Leigh, leaving 1 drop spot left. HKR seem to be building just at the right time so Wakey & Salford look most in danger.

For me Toulouse are the big unknown so it could be that 3 current SL teams end up going down ?

And they'll all be desperate to get back so they'll overspend. Only one goes up so two stay down, having stretched themselves to the limit. Maybe beyond the limit.

"We'll sell you a seat .... but you'll only need the edge of it!"

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1 hour ago, Tommygilf said:

They thought the same thing about quality going from 14 to 12. 

Its nonsense!

Too be honest I never understand that their isn't enough quality.... unless the SL academies are not doing a good enough job. Every year their is X new players coming through, so every year times that X is a number of players that can be further coached... that's a fair number after so many years... 

Seems to me the less SL clubs we have must mean more academy SL players are discarded from SL... or are just fillers in a large squad not getting paid much nor coached extensively until they can be swapped out with more low paid academy players...

Its all nuts to me...

 

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  • John Drake changed the title to League Restructure Thread (Merged Threads)

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