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League Restructure Thread (Merged Threads)


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1 hour ago, NW10LDN said:
1 hour ago, Les Tonks Sidestep said:

After 34 pages I'm even more convinced that too many folk on here believe the sport is bigger and more popular in the UK (England) than it actually is. 

On Twitter as well. I've seen so many tweets from folks wondering why the Lions tour is getting more promotion on Sky. Well, that tends to happen when a sport has a much bigger geographical footprint.

They should all listen to the latest 5 Live RL Podcast, where Tony Smith says that RL is its least healthy in his 21 years here in England.

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4 hours ago, NW10LDN said:

Difference is that union has history in Italy and 2 clubs competing in pro competition. Italy's League side are all NRL players.

The better example then would be  France in RL.

Also they get a good crowd for internationals vs England which would further help the french game.

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5 hours ago, Chris Taylor said:

A suggestion to the re-structure might be that we don't need to re-structure at all. 

We have had many changes to the structure of the game since 2008? The question is then asked why fans, commercial & tv revenue is down - well it's staring them in the face. 

If RL wants to see more money,  headlines, facilities, players the answer lies in the international game.

 

That suggests that Sky would just be broadcasting the Internationals as there'd be no improvement in the quality of the club game.

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

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8 hours ago, Griff said:

No - I'm not advocating any plan.  I'm just pointing out that Sky don't want to pay for the scenario you suggest.  They don't want a few big clubs getting bigger and leaving smaller clubs behind.   As the game relies very much on the Sky money, it's foolish to suggest a solution that exacerbates something they've already complained about.

As a wise man once said, coming up with a plan is easy.  Getting enough self-interested clubs to vote for the plan is much more difficult.

Griff, can you point out where SKY have made such a comment as I have followed the discussions on here and in the media and not come across this.

I agree with your final paragraph.

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7 hours ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

Griff, can you point out where SKY have made such a comment as I have followed the discussions on here and in the media and not come across this.

I agree with your final paragraph.

What other interpretation can we put on Sky's apparent dissatisfaction with the product, given that the solution is, apparently, to cut two clubs adrift? 

I'm open to an alternative view but I haven't seen one proposed yet.

I see you emphasise the word Sky by showing it in capital letters but I'm not sure why.

Edited by Griff

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

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5 hours ago, Griff said:

What other interpretation can we put on Sky's apparent dissatisfaction with the product, given that the solution is, apparently, to cut two clubs adrift? 

I'm open to an alternative view but I haven't seen one proposed yet.

I see you emphasise the word Sky by showing it in capital letters but I'm not sure why.

So your previous response was based on an assumption.  I acknowledge that your assumption may be correct but it is still an assumption until SKY - and I always type SKY rather than sky - make a statement confirming what you assume.

But after reading your comment it made me have another think about what I proposed so I have tweaked my suggestion.  Let’s assume that the 10 team SL1 takes place in 2022.  All the teams will still receive TV money plus other income giving them a base similar to now to build a competitive squad. But my proposal would allow for teams to spend up to an increased limit of say £3 million providing the spend stays below an agreed percentage of income.  IMHO this makes investment into a SL team a more attractive proposition to investors as the investor can see that their investment might make a difference.

Also it is important to point out that any club might be able to attract an investor not just the big 5 or 6 so it might shake up the league.

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1 minute ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

So your previous response was based on an assumption.  I acknowledge that your assumption may be correct but it is still an assumption until SKY - and I always type SKY rather than sky - make a statement confirming what you assume.

 

<sigh> It's just a forum.  Not a court of law.

Even Sky's logo doesn't have their name in capitals.  It's not an acronym.

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

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44 minutes ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

So your previous response was based on an assumption.  I acknowledge that your assumption may be correct but it is still an assumption until SKY - and I always type SKY rather than sky - make a statement confirming what you assume.

But after reading your comment it made me have another think about what I proposed so I have tweaked my suggestion.  Let’s assume that the 10 team SL1 takes place in 2022.  All the teams will still receive TV money plus other income giving them a base similar to now to build a competitive squad. But my proposal would allow for teams to spend up to an increased limit of say £3 million providing the spend stays below an agreed percentage of income.  IMHO this makes investment into a SL team a more attractive proposition to investors as the investor can see that their investment might make a difference.

Also it is important to point out that any club might be able to attract an investor not just the big 5 or 6 so it might shake up the league.

I think SKY are embarrassed by the inclusion of Leigh into super league and it's made super league look a poor competition. Leigh should have never been gifted a super league place as clearly they were not ready to go to the next level on and off the pitch

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39 minutes ago, lucky 7 said:

I think SKY are embarrassed by the inclusion of Leigh into super league and it's made super league look a poor competition. Leigh should have never been gifted a super league place as clearly they were not ready to go to the next level on and off the pitch

Thought it would our fault 😉

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53 minutes ago, lucky 7 said:

I think SKY are embarrassed by the inclusion of Leigh into super league and it's made super league look a poor competition. Leigh should have never been gifted a super league place as clearly they were not ready to go to the next level on and off the pitch

They may very well be embarrassed at Leigh’s inclusion but I’d bet they are even more embarrassed by the decision to give them a huge shortfall in funding and denying them the chance of building an adequate squad.

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1 hour ago, Griff said:

<sigh> It's just a forum.  Not a court of law.

Even Sky's logo doesn't have their name in capitals.  It's not an acronym.

Griff, you are right it is not a court of law but don’t get so defensive when somebody points out that you have taken a completely differing position in 2 posts.  On page 33 your response to my proposal states quite clearly that ‘SKY don’t want to pay for the scenario you suggest’ and that the proposal I put forward ‘exacerbates something they’ve - meaning SKY - have already complained about’.  The words you use explicitly suggest that SKY have made such comments.  Then in a later post you state that actually you are making an assumption meaning that SKY have never publicly stated anything of the kind.

So please don’t be childish and put up a <sigh> when someone points out that your original position wasn’t based on any factual information.

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1 minute ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

Griff, you are right it is not a court of law but don’t get so defensive when somebody points out that you have taken a completely differing position in 2 posts.  On page 33 your response to my proposal states quite clearly that ‘SKY don’t want to pay for the scenario you suggest’ and that the proposal I put forward ‘exacerbates something they’ve - meaning SKY - have already complained about’.  The words you use explicitly suggest that SKY have made such comments.  Then in a later post you state that actually you are making an assumption meaning that SKY have never publicly stated anything of the kind.

So please don’t be childish and put up a <sigh> when someone points out that your original position wasn’t based on any factual information.

I'll bear your views in mind.

Thanks for your thoughts.

So why do you think that Sky are dissatisfied ?

 

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

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I think there's a lot of over-thinking about what Sky do and don't want to be honest. 

Sky just want bums on sofas. It really is that simple. They want content that gets people sitting on their backside on a Friday night, watching something that will convince them to watch the next one, and the next one, and the next one, and keep doing that so that they're motivated to keep their subscription. It really isn't much more complicated like that. 

All the discussion about whether Sky wants 10 teams, 12 teams, 5 teams, 30 teams, teams in Leigh, teams in Liverpool or teams in Los Angeles is all kind of missing the point. They just want good content that people are happy to pay - and keep paying - to watch because the second that Sky feels that not enough subscriptions rely on RL, it's game over. 

The suggestion that we can do that by reducing the league to ten teams may well be correct, but it strikes me as a classic RL move to consolidate what we have, rather than to actually invest in the product to add value. 

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the bind that the pandemic has put almost all of our clubs in, but if the sport thinks that it can "penny pinch" it's way out of this problem and preserve the TV deal, I fear that the sport is about to start playing with a big box of matches.

The real question(s) to answer here is whether the presence of two clubs (and you can name whichever two clubs you like) is the reason why Sky (presumably) feels that the quality of the content is not where it expects it to be? Or is the presence of two additional clubs the reason why Sky (presumably) doesn't think that we're delivering them a large and/or diverse enough audience? And I don't think it is. 

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59 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I think there's a lot of over-thinking about what Sky do and don't want to be honest. 

Sky just want bums on sofas. It really is that simple. They want content that gets people sitting on their backside on a Friday night, watching something that will convince them to watch the next one, and the next one, and the next one, and keep doing that so that they're motivated to keep their subscription. It really isn't much more complicated like that. 

All the discussion about whether Sky wants 10 teams, 12 teams, 5 teams, 30 teams, teams in Leigh, teams in Liverpool or teams in Los Angeles is all kind of missing the point. They just want good content that people are happy to pay - and keep paying - to watch because the second that Sky feels that not enough subscriptions rely on RL, it's game over. 

The suggestion that we can do that by reducing the league to ten teams may well be correct, but it strikes me as a classic RL move to consolidate what we have, rather than to actually invest in the product to add value. 

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the bind that the pandemic has put almost all of our clubs in, but if the sport thinks that it can "penny pinch" it's way out of this problem and preserve the TV deal, I fear that the sport is about to start playing with a big box of matches.

The real question(s) to answer here is whether the presence of two clubs (and you can name whichever two clubs you like) is the reason why Sky (presumably) feels that the quality of the content is not where it expects it to be? Or is the presence of two additional clubs the reason why Sky (presumably) doesn't think that we're delivering them a large and/or diverse enough audience? And I don't think it is. 

You make an interesting point.

The problem is that by moving down to 10 clubs from 12, it's logical to assume that many of the Sky subscribers who support the two banished clubs will pull their subscriptions.

Additionally, if, say, two of the ten clubs are Catalans and Toulouse, that leaves only eight GB clubs driving Sky Rugby League subscriptions.

Some people may believe that the quality will be so high that it will drive more neutral subscriptions, but I find that a very optimistic viewpoint. The opposite point of view is that subscribers could get bored from seeing so little variation in the teams covered by Sky.

I would be very worried about that if I ran Super League and I certainly wouldn't be rushing to reduce the competition to 10 clubs.

I would be far more inclined to go in the opposite direction.

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29 minutes ago, Griff said:

I'll bear your views in mind.

Thanks for your thoughts.

So why do you think that Sky are dissatisfied ?

 

Griff, couldn’t you have responded 10 minutes later as I was just ready to turn the telly off and go to bed.

The views above about bums on seats watching SKY are correct but there are structural failures in the game that I think need addressing to turn the game around.

My view is that over that last 10 years RL/SL as a sport has stagnated through:-

- the lack of a coherent rolling strategy

- displayed an alarming level of parochialism

- having club Chairmen making decisions that are based on self interest

- a total lack of ‘whole of game’ focus

- creating change that IMHO is based on the short term survival of SL teams

- a salary cap that rewards mediocrity

- falling attendances over the last 5 years

- a lack of creative joined up thinking to attract new supporters to attending games

- the inability to bring more investment - outside of the TV contract - into the game

- lack of visibility in the international game

- lack of strong independent leadership to drive change across all levels of the game

I am of the firm belief that no matter how successful a business is - and sport is a business - you have to continually look for improvement.  As Einstein said ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting differing results.

Right, bedtime.

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16 hours ago, Griff said:

That suggests that Sky would just be broadcasting the Internationals as there'd be no improvement in the quality of the club game.

Int go fta and you use the viewing figures to generate long term commercial partners for all teams involved.

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48 minutes ago, Martyn Sadler said:

You make an interesting point.

The problem is that by moving down to 10 clubs from 12, it's logical to assume that many of the Sky subscribers who support the two banished clubs will pull their subscriptions.

I'm not sure that's such a big risk in fairness. The teams most at risk of being 'dropped' are probably the least televised anyway and you can't assume that subscriptions in those areas rely heavily on RL content - people may still continue to subscribe for other content. Whilst I'm sure that there will be anecdotal evidence that some would cancel, I don't think it would register with Sky any more than any other customer churn would look. 

Quote

 

Additionally, if, say, two of the ten clubs are Catalans and Toulouse, that leaves only eight GB clubs driving Sky Rugby League subscriptions.

Some people may believe that the quality will be so high that it will drive more neutral subscriptions, but I find that a very optimistic viewpoint. The opposite point of view is that subscribers could get bored from seeing so little variation in the teams covered by Sky.

Similar to above. I think that's a somewhat outdated view and if we're limiting our potential TV audience to where are clubs are based, then we're looking at much bigger problems.

The sport should really be trying to make geography as irrelevant as possible when it comes to where our audience comes from (certainly when it comes to our media reach) and it is possible to do that by making the product and content that we produce something that transcends different audiences irrespective of where they are. 

I've said it before, but as someone who has lived in the heartlands, outside of the heartlands and even outside of the UK at various points, the sport makes it incredibly difficult to support it when you're not in earshot of the M62. Even tonight, I can't go to the Leeds game due to childcare commitments, but I also can't watch it online or on TV. Why do we make it so difficult, in an age of high-speed internet, where other sports are posting video highlights to social media within a matter of seconds, and hundreds of TV channels, for people who want to watch RL to watch RL? So I'll have to watch Bournemouth v West Brom instead. 

Quote

I would be very worried about that if I ran Super League and I certainly wouldn't be rushing to reduce the competition to 12 clubs.

I would be far more inclined to go in the opposite direction.

Whatever direction the sport goes in, the objective needs to keep that simple objective - putting more bums on seats. Not just in the stadiums, but the length and breadth of this country and further afield. It should be about getting more people watching RL across any medium, be it TV, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and any other medium - building an audience that the sport can monetise. 

I stand by what I've said for a long time - geography, and the fact that we're clustered in the north of England, doesn't prevent the sport doing any of that and maximising the many many hours of incredible content that it does produce on the field - nor should that geography be allowed to be an excuse not to.

Tommy Makinson bending around a corner flag for a one-handed diving finish looks just as spectacular in St Helens as it does in any major city that you care to name and the more time we spend talking about structures, where teams are based and how many teams should be in a league, the more we forget that point. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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41 minutes ago, Martyn Sadler said:

You make an interesting point.

The problem is that by moving down to 10 clubs from 12, it's logical to assume that many of the Sky subscribers who support the two banished clubs will pull their subscriptions.

Additionally, if, say, two of the ten clubs are Catalans and Toulouse, that leaves only eight GB clubs driving Sky Rugby League subscriptions.

Some people may believe that the quality will be so high that it will drive more neutral subscriptions, but I find that a very optimistic viewpoint. The opposite point of view is that subscribers could get bored from seeing so little variation in the teams covered by Sky.

I would be very worried about that if I ran Super League and I certainly wouldn't be rushing to reduce the competition to 12 clubs.

I would be far more inclined to go in the opposite direction.

If we're reduced to keeping/adding teams to superleague as it's our only way to drive a handful of new subscriptions then the gig is up already. 

I'm from the South and don't support any of the teams in superleague, but I watch it because I enjoy it and am invested in many of the stories it contains. 

I also love watching NFL, and although I do support a team, they're rarely shown on Sky (cos they're rubbish!) , but I still watch the NFL show on Sunday nights. 

These two sports are why I keep a Sky subscription, not becasue it's the only way to watch "my team". 

All successful televised sports build a broader fanbase like this by putting on a competition worth watching, as the supporters of the clubs alone won't be enough. 

That's what we should be aspiring to, and 10, 12, 14 or whatever teams isn't really that important. It's the attractiveness of the competition and its ability to conjour up "appointment viewing" that will determine our fate. 

Where I do agree with you is we need more clubs genuinely competing for the title. But from where we are today, even getting to 6 or 7 evenly matched teams through a whole season would be a transformation of how superleague comes across to viewers. For me, how we get to that situation is the big challenge. 

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32 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I'm not sure that's such a big risk in fairness. The teams most at risk of being 'dropped' are probably the least televised anyway and whilst I'm sure that there will be anecdotal evidence that some would cancel, I don't think it would register with Sky any more than any other customer churn would look. 

Similar to above. I think that's a somewhat outdated view and if we're limiting our potential TV audience to where are clubs are based, then we're looking at much bigger problems.

The sport should really be trying to make geography as irrelevant as possible when it comes to where our audience comes from (certainly when it comes to our media reach) and it is possible to do that by making the product and content that we produce something that transcends different audiences irrespective of where they are. 

I've said it before, but as someone who has lived in the heartlands, outside of the heartlands and even outside of the UK at various points, the sport makes it incredibly difficult to support it when you're not in earshot of the M62. Even tonight, I can't go to the Leeds game due to childcare commitments, but I also can't watch it online or on TV. Why do we make it so difficult, in an age of high-speed internet and hundreds of TV channels, for people who want to watch RL to watch RL? So I'll have to watch Bournemouth v West Brom instead. 

Whatever direction the sport goes in, the objective needs to keep that simple objective - putting more bums on seats. Not just in the stadiums, but the length and breadth of this country and further afield. It should be about getting more people watching RL across any medium, be it TV, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and any other medium - building an audience that the sport can monetise. 

I stand by what I've said for a long time - geography, and the fact that we're clustered in the north of England, doesn't prevent the sport doing any of that and maximising the many many hours of incredible content that it does produce on the field - nor should that geography be allowed to be an excuse not to.

Tommy Makinson bending around a corner flag for a one-handed diving finish looks just as spectacular in St Helens as it does in any major city that you care to name and the more time we spend talking about structures and how many teams should be in a league, the more we forget that point. 

Spot on. In my view, done right, Superleague could still be the most watched club rugby competition in the northern hemispehere, and it's geographical spread isn't that important. In fact it can even be an attractive part of its identity. So there's no reason it can't appeal to a general sports fan across a much wider area. 

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25 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

If we're reduced to keeping/adding teams to superleague as it's our only way to drive a handful of new subscriptions then the gig is up already. 

I'm from the South and don't support any of the teams in superleague, but I watch it because I enjoy it and am invested in many of the stories it contains. 

I also love watching NFL, and although I do support a team, they're rarely shown on Sky (cos they're rubbish!) , but I still watch the NFL show on Sunday nights. 

These two sports are why I keep a Sky subscription, not becasue it's the only way to watch "my team". 

All successful televised sports build a broader fanbase like this by putting on a competition worth watching, as the supporters of the clubs alone won't be enough. 

That's what we should be aspiring to, and 10, 12, 14 or whatever teams isn't really that important. It's the attractiveness of the competition and its ability to conjour up "appointment viewing" that will determine our fate. 

Where I do agree with you is we need more clubs genuinely competing for the title. But from where we are today, even getting to 6 or 7 evenly matched teams through a whole season would be a transformation of how superleague comes across to viewers. For me, how we get to that situation is the big challenge. 

I agree with the thrust of your argument, particularly your last point.

But economists deal with marginal propensities.

In other words, even if only a proportion of supporters decide to end their subscriptions when their team is no longer in the competition, that loss of subscribers will register.

Will it be compensated for by others who will come to realise that they are watching a great competition?

Ideally yes, but I remain to be convinced.

The world of people who are interested in sport has become much more compartmentalised in the last 26 years, since Super League launched.

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3 hours ago, lucky 7 said:

I think SKY are embarrassed by the inclusion of Leigh into super league and it's made super league look a poor competition. Leigh should have never been gifted a super league place as clearly they were not ready to go to the next level on and off the pitch

They aren’t, Sky would want LSV in super league due to facilities to broadcast from and atmosphere.

they also want characters and Derek is certainly one of those as his the new multi millionaire new guy. They want Leigh to do a Leicester which without salary restrictions may well be possible before 2025.

Listening to a cow bell in an empty stadium is not what Sky want, no matter how brilliant for the game  Ken Davy is

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1 hour ago, Toby Chopra said:

If we're reduced to keeping/adding teams to superleague as it's our only way to drive a handful of new subscriptions then the gig is up already. 

I'm from the South and don't support any of the teams in superleague, but I watch it because I enjoy it and am invested in many of the stories it contains. 

I also love watching NFL, and although I do support a team, they're rarely shown on Sky (cos they're rubbish!) , but I still watch the NFL show on Sunday nights. 

These two sports are why I keep a Sky subscription, not becasue it's the only way to watch "my team". 

All successful televised sports build a broader fanbase like this by putting on a competition worth watching, as the supporters of the clubs alone won't be enough. 

That's what we should be aspiring to, and 10, 12, 14 or whatever teams isn't really that important. It's the attractiveness of the competition and its ability to conjour up "appointment viewing" that will determine our fate. 

Where I do agree with you is we need more clubs genuinely competing for the title. But from where we are today, even getting to 6 or 7 evenly matched teams through a whole season would be a transformation of how superleague comes across to viewers. For me, how we get to that situation is the big challenge. 

It's interesting and encouraging that you as a southerner have such a positive view of the sport.

The question is, how can the sport attract (and then retain) more non-heartlanders like you and I?

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3 hours ago, Davo5 said:

They may very well be embarrassed at Leigh’s inclusion but I’d bet they are even more embarrassed by the decision to give them a huge shortfall in funding and denying them the chance of building an adequate squad.

Dexy should have never accepted the terms he did for Leigh to be gifted a super league

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1 hour ago, Martyn Sadler said:

I agree with the thrust of your argument, particularly your last point.

But economists deal with marginal propensities.

In other words, even if only a proportion of supporters decide to end their subscriptions when their team is no longer in the competition, that loss of subscribers will register.

Will it be compensated for by others who will come to realise that they are watching a great competition?

Ideally yes, but I remain to be convinced.

The world of people who are interested in sport has become much more compartmentalised in the last 26 years, since Super League launched.

If we're basing decisions around how we add value to broadcasters on projections of how many people in Leigh or Salford might, maybe, possibly cancel their Sky subscriptions, then not only are the game's stakeholders showing a massive lack of confidence in the product itself, but also in their own ability to actually enhance the product so that it adds value to broadcasters. 

The world has moved on. Geography is not the game's handicap here. 

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