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League Restructure Thread (Merged Threads)


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The idea that Rugby League can be re-packaged like darts is a nonsense. Darts isn't a sport it's a TV show, a drinking event night out which is televised. Has there been a big increase in local darts leagues?

We need the game to be more exciting to watch. I watched 1994 Leeds v Wigan and it was fast , exciting, end to end stuff. Our game has mostly turned into a predictable, arm wrestle based on completion rates and avoiding errors.

Re-structure as a solution is just re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

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6 hours ago, Barley Mow said:

I don't disagree with much of what you say in your first few paragraphs, and I certainly don't think the sport is dead in west Leeds because Bramley folded. The community game there is still pretty strong and it isn't exactly inconvenient to go to Headingley if that's what you want.

Other semi-pro clubs who've folded and not reformed have tended to be in areas where the game isn't as strong (outside the heartlands) so that may be a different story.

I do however think that losing semi-pro clubs from an area can have a significant impact on the strength of the game (especially if it is the loss of a number of such clubs as is currently feared). Beyond the emotional/historical value of the clubs to their supporters (which I give a lot of weight to in itself) the semi-pro level is valuable in giving a stage and (part time) wage to those players who don't make it part time in a way that neither reserve grade rugby nor recreational sport do.

However great or small the impact of any individual club folding may be, we really don't want to lose any players, fans or volunteers from the game and so having as much spread/variety in types of club as possible gives as many different outlets as possible for people's passion for RL.

As I have posted, my own experience is that I haven't been able to find an outlet for that passion in either the local full time club (Leeds) or in community clubs in west Leeds in the same way I did at Bramley. The sport has had less of the benefits of my time and money for the last 20 years as a result.

I do think the game needs points of entry for as many people as possible. As other posters have pointed out its quite difficult to engage with and buy RL unless you live in spitting distance from the M62. And even then there's little variation for people with different tastes.

I do think there is a discernible difference between RL clubs in the immediate environs of other RL clubs and outpost clubs as you say. Losing a pro club in Bramley doesn't mean RL in West Leeds collapses, but losing Coventry or Newcastle would have a significant impact on the progress of the game in those areas. As I put previously, a lot of this is because some of the mergers proposed historically have happened de facto. 

Your inability to find something to replace Bramley is sad on a personal level but we must also recognise that its ultimately because there weren't enough people like you that Bramley ceased as a pro outfit. Sentiment vs finances and all that do clearly have an impact. This is one of the flaws of our cut and dry system between pro and amateur as Bramley in say football or RU would have just gone down the leagues to an appropriate level for their finances and could have come back up if they were able. We in RL insist that the lowest that level can be as a pro club is just 2 divisions away from Super League. 

You can see why the attitude for licensing was/is so prevalent, its hardwired into the sport.

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23 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

its quite difficult to engage with and buy RL unless you live in spitting distance from the M62. 

This is the reason we (the sport) needs Broncos in SL - and not constantly near or on the bottom of the ladder (never mind 'success'). Anyone in the south Midlands or below who stumbles on SL (via SKY or being a curious union fan or other means) needs a team they can get to and get behind

 

Edited by Bedfordshire Bronco
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2 minutes ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

This is the reason it is so important that Broncos are in SL and are not constantly near or on bottom of the ladder (never mind 'success'. Anyone in the south Midlands or below who stumbles on SL (via SKY or being a curious union fan other means) needs a team they can get to and get behind

On a very basic level that is absolutely right.

I don't see the problem as purely geographic that said. Take football, most kids introduction won't be a premier league match, but FIFA. Some might take up football manager, others might just watch youtube reaction videos. All of these might never sit down and watch a full game in person or on TV, yet they are still consuming football.

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RL has many problems , but the London question is fairly easy to explain . Most people in London pre RL are attached to some football team or other sporting side which they have been born into , they might watch RL for a change but their real allegiances lie elsewhere , initially Fulham had good crowds which dwindled with time ,even when the Broncos got to the Challenge Cup Final there was barely a thousand people sporting their colours , ....in short if a person like Richard Branson couldn`t make a go of it , it`s a tough job . Cardiff likewise , drew good crowds to start with , then they turned their backs .

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18 minutes ago, ivans82 said:

RL has many problems , but the London question is fairly easy to explain . Most people in London pre RL are attached to some football team or other sporting side which they have been born into , they might watch RL for a change but their real allegiances lie elsewhere , initially Fulham had good crowds which dwindled with time ,even when the Broncos got to the Challenge Cup Final there was barely a thousand people sporting their colours , ....in short if a person like Richard Branson couldn`t make a go of it , it`s a tough job . Cardiff likewise , drew good crowds to start with , then they turned their backs .

You couldn't be more wrong if you tried.

The Broncos sold over 10,000 tickets to the Challenge Cup Final but you know what - the club didn't follow up on it. On the field the team fell apart with a couple of disastrous coaching appointments and expensive signings, and off it Branson just assumed (like every other owner of the club before and since) that people knew they existed and would magically make their way to the ground to watch them play.

If you look at Branson's career closely he did the same thing at the Broncos as with many many of his other businesses - he got involved because he was launching an airline in Australia (there's always a bigger picture with him) and wanted to piggy back off the WCC. He turned up for a few publicity shots, attended a handful of games, got Jono Coleman from his radio station to attend a couple of times, and that was about it. When his Aussie airline was up and running, and it became obvious 10,000 people weren't going to attend every week simply because his name was attached to the club, he packed up and left. He's done the same with scores of other businesses - although these days he mainly leeches off taxpayer handouts for his railway and healthcare businesses.

The many, many failings of the club are not because people aren't interested in RL but because the club is an absolute disaster zone of a sports team (and business). One that has seen its current owner turn a 4,000 average attendance into one currently hovering around 200, and in the process drive away fans of 25/30/40 years standing.

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On 29/08/2021 at 18:48, Padge said:

Hang on, I think this is about clubs finding their level and not about killing off clubs. In the modern era Hunslet are never going to overtake Leeds, Hunslet's biggest ambition should be to survive and then to be the best at their level and not try and progress beyond what they are truly capable of.

Some clubs (and supporters) need a serious reality check.

Going back to the point I replied to, which was the idea the loss of any "professional"  club was a "disaster", I just could not see that given the number of so called "professional" clubs that have come and gone over the years, many if any of these created a "disaster".   

I can count the best of fifty clubs who have tried to join the pro game over many years, and they have come and gone with little effect on the core M62 game. Losing established clubs may be different. The loss of Belle Vue Rangers may have been "disasterous" but I would bow to your superior historical knowledge on this.

Current "losses" may include Bramley, albeit they are still around as you say "surviving at their best level". They have of course lost their "semi-professional" status, but I cannot find the actual disaster the OP indicated happened once west Leeds was shorn of their professional club. I suggested the loss was completely offset by the growth of the Stanningley club whom I would suggest is a much greater asset to RL in Leeds, and whose closure really would be a disaster.

As for the other declining Leeds club, Hunslet may now be close to closure if no TV money is forthcoming as I understand the club had an offer of purchase but the buyer pulled out. I am not sure there will be a "level" for them to find as Hunslet Warriors and Hunslet Parkside appear to rule the Rugby League Roost in south Leeds. With no "level"  to accommodate them they may actually bring the club's long history to an end.

But this won't for me blow a "disasterous" hole in the rugby League map of Leeds. IIRC there was an "expansion" of clubs in Wigan? Was it Springfield Borough? was their departure a "disaster"........??

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On 29/08/2021 at 12:27, M j M said:

And stupid and lazy and selfish and ignorant. In my opinion of course.

Rugby League fans casually wishing for the death of Rugby League clubs 

Nobody but nobody casually "wished for the death of Rugby League clubs".  You should read what was said rather than make stuff up. Please have another read and revise your opinion?

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1 hour ago, Tommygilf said:

I do think there is a discernible difference between RL clubs in the immediate environs of other RL clubs and outpost clubs as you say. Losing a pro club in Bramley doesn't mean RL in West Leeds collapses, but losing Coventry or Newcastle would have a significant impact on the progress of the game in those areas.

Thank you for a considered post. You actually thought about it rather than making a gross incorrect assumption and then going off on one.

Historically we did gain clubs in Coventry and Newcastle, and we lost them both pretty quickly. What we have now is built on better foundations. BTW we haven't lost Bramley, they play at amateur level now......

 

https://bramleybuffs.com

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20 minutes ago, steve oates said:

I can count the best of fifty clubs who have tried to join the pro game over many years, and they have come and gone with little effect on the core M62 game.

The fact that the core of the game remains small clubs in the M62 corridor does rather show what the impact has been.

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On 29/08/2021 at 14:12, Dave T said:

I also didn't really get what Beaumont's idea actually was. He said he would have it like darts. What does that mean? 

I understood two x 10's but what would actually be different that would be revolutionary. It was a terrible article. 

That's  journalists for you. 

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1 hour ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

This is the reason we (the sport) needs Broncos in SL - and not constantly near or on the bottom of the ladder (never mind 'success'). Anyone in the south Midlands or below who stumbles on SL (via SKY or being a curious union fan or other means) needs a team they can get to and get behind

 

But the main problem with that argument is not enough people want to get to or get behind a team south of the Midlands, the evidence is there BB 40 years of it as a matter of fact, yes there has been the occasional 'purple patch' but for whatever reason is has not stuck, and a hell of a lot is the ethnicity of the population,  there are very few not brought up with the sport who transfer to it, or indeed those from other backgrounds look at West Yorkshire or East Lancashire where we have pro clubs with lots of people from other backgrounds born here and who have lived in the shadow of RL all their lives, they just do not in any countable numbers take to the sport, this also happens in the South Midlands and further down the Country i.e. the Greater London area. I honestly admire your stance, so how other than putting clubs in locations do you get them supported, and if they are struggling financially do you think the sport should fund them to keep them basically on life support?

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9 hours ago, Barley Mow said:

 I certainly don't think the sport is dead in west Leeds because Bramley folded. The community game there is still pretty strong and it isn't exactly inconvenient to go to Headingley if that's what you want.

Other semi-pro clubs who've folded and not reformed have tended to be in areas where the game isn't as strong (outside the heartlands) so that may be a different story. I do however think that losing semi-pro clubs from an area can have a significant impact on the strength of the game (especially if it is the loss of a number of such clubs as is currently feared). 

I have just read Beaumont's proposal for the game of 2 leagues of ten taking all the SKY funding. The clubs are asked to "apply" for places.  This then leaves a whopping 16 clubs adrift.

This includes clubs who at times have dominated the game like Hunslet Widnes, Swinton and Workington.......

It leaves clubs with deep rooted history nowhere to go such as Rochdale Swinton Oldham and Dewsbury......

It leaves what little expansion we have had like "Cumberland", "South Yorkshire" "Wales" and Coventry to die....

Hunslet's possible demise is nothing compared to that execution list......

But Bramley will live on in Rodley.......😉

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8 minutes ago, steve oates said:

I have just read Beaumont's proposal for the game of 2 leagues of ten taking all the SKY funding. The clubs are asked to "apply" for places.  This then leaves a whopping 16 clubs adrift.

This includes clubs who at times have dominated the game like Hunslet Widnes, Swinton and Workington.......

It leaves clubs with deep rooted history nowhere to go such as Rochdale Swinton Oldham and Dewsbury......

It leaves what little expansion we have had like "Cumberland", "South Yorkshire" "Wales" and Coventry to die....

Hunslet's possible demise is nothing compared to that execution list......

But Bramley will live on in Rodley.......😉

Yes it's remarkable, a "re-structure" which ignores 45% of professional clubs such is the desperation to get their hands on the shrinking TV income. 

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31 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

But the main problem with that argument is not enough people want to get to or get behind a team south of the Midlands, the evidence is there BB 40 years of it as a matter of fact, yes there has been the occasional 'purple patch' but for whatever reason is has not stuck, and a hell of a lot is the ethnicity of the population,  there are very few not brought up with the sport who transfer to it, or indeed those from other backgrounds look at West Yorkshire or East Lancashire where we have pro clubs with lots of people from other backgrounds born here and who have lived in the shadow of RL all their lives, they just do not in any countable numbers take to the sport, this also happens in the South Midlands and further down the Country i.e. the Greater London area. I honestly admire your stance, so how other than putting clubs in locations do you get them supported, and if they are struggling financially do you think the sport should fund them to keep them basically on life support?

Did I read that correctly? What a weird take, seriously did you just bring ethnicity into this thread? 

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2 minutes ago, DI Keith Fowler said:

Did I read on a previous page there's supposed to be some announcement today?

I believe so. As I understand clubs mostly already aware of what is happening re: funding. Very bad news for clubs in league 1 and bottom half of the championship as they will basically have to fund themselves from now on in. There'll be some small financial support which I would expect will cover some of medical and travel costs up to a point. 

I don't think anyone knows what the structure will be. I suspect they'll keep it the same or check how many clubs intend to continue before deciding on the final structure 

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3 hours ago, Wakefield Ram said:

The idea that Rugby League can be re-packaged like darts is a nonsense. Darts isn't a sport it's a TV show, a drinking event night out which is televised. Has there been a big increase in local darts leagues?

We need the game to be more exciting to watch. I watched 1994 Leeds v Wigan and it was fast , exciting, end to end stuff. Our game has mostly turned into a predictable, arm wrestle based on completion rates and avoiding errors.

Re-structure as a solution is just re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

I think this is a bit of a reductive argument. Nobody (with any sense) is saying "make RL like darts" and I think it's simplistic to respond to any suggestion of "what other sports do" with a dismissive "we can't be like [insert sport here]".

The aim should not be to be like [insert sport here] but to instead, look at what lots of different sports do to address lots of different challenges - all of which they have in common with rugby league. We're not a unique sport and we don't have unique problems.

  • So look at what we can learn from cricket - a sport which identified a problem with aging audiences, and made changes to appeal to new, younger audiences. Is that something RL wants - diverse, younger audiences? 
  • Look at what we can learn from darts about making our events much more of a spectacle for TV and occasions that sell-out well in advance (and often without going on general sale). Is that not something RL wants? Demand for tickets?
  • Look at what we can learn from the NBA, which used social media to arrest a decline in TV viewership - particularly amongst younger demographics. Is that what RL wants - improved TV viewership and digital engagement?
  • Look at what we can learn from American football about going to new markets and geographical expansion (the NFL started as a very regional competition). Is that something RL wants? 
  • Look at how British Triathlon and British Cycling took advantage of the profile of well-known athletes who were thrust into the spotlight to reverse falling participation, increase sponsorship and increase funding. Does RL want its stars to be more visible, inspiring participation and attracting commercial and government funding? 
  • Look at how football has used digital media to engage young audiences that have likely been priced-out of matchday attendance. Also look at how football has heavily promoted 5/7-a-side as a more accessible way to play the game. 
  • Look at what we can learn from "second clubs" in other sports, such as Everton, who have managed to address a problem of filling empty seats when they're competing against more successful competitors who offer better facilities and are, for the most part, competing for the same audiences in an area with higher-than-average levels of deprivation.   

Can we copy and mimic everything that each of those sports did to address those issues? No. Some of them aren't workable and some of them aren't affordable, and no one thing is going to be a solution in itself. But the point is that we can still learn from them, find our own solutions to the problems that RL very much has/had in common with each of those sports and do as many of them as possible as well as the sport can. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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8 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I think this is a bit of a reductive argument. Nobody (with any sense) is saying "make RL like darts" and I think it's simplistic to respond to any suggestion of "what other sports do" with a dismissive "we can't be like [insert sport here]".

The aim should not be to be like [insert sport here] but to instead, look at what lots of different sports do to address lots of different challenges - all of which they have in common with rugby league. We're not a unique sport and we don't have unique problems.

  • So look at what we can learn from cricket - a sport which identified a problem with aging audiences, and made changes to appeal to new, younger audiences. Is that something RL wants - diverse, younger audiences? 
  • Look at what we can learn from darts about making our events much more of a spectacle for TV and occasions that sell-out well in advance (and often without going on general sale). Is that not something RL wants? Demand for tickets?
  • Look at what we can learn from the NBA, which used social media to arrest a decline in TV viewership - particularly amongst younger demographics. Is that what RL wants - improved TV viewership and digital engagement?
  • Look at what we can learn from American football about going to new markets and geographical expansion (the NFL started as a very regional competition). Is that something RL wants? 
  • Look at how British Triathlon and British Cycling took advantage of the profile of well-known athletes who were thrust into the spotlight to reverse falling participation, increase sponsorship and increase funding. Does RL want its stars to be more visible, inspiring participation and attracting commercial and government funding? 
  • Look at how football has used digital media to engage young audiences that have likely been priced-out of matchday attendance. Also look at how football has heavily promoted 5/7-a-side as a more accessible way to play the game. 
  • Look at what we can learn from "second clubs" in other sports, such as Everton, who have managed to address a problem of filling empty seats when they're competing against more successful competitors who offer better facilities and are, for the most part, competing for the same audiences in an area with higher-than-average levels of deprivation.   

Can we copy and mimic everything that each of those sports did to address those issues? No. Some of them aren't workable and some of them aren't affordable, and no one thing is going to be a solution in itself. But the point is that we can still learn from them, find our own solutions to the problems that RL very much has/had in common with each of those sports and do as many of them as possible as well as the sport can. 

The problem is mate, and I agree with what you are saying, but what is the outcome here? What is the proposal of that thought process? 

Because nobody ever suggests anything that appears attractive. 

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16 minutes ago, OriginalMrC said:

Did I read that correctly? What a weird take, seriously did you just bring ethnicity into this thread? 

Yes, tell me what I have said is not true, I wasn't being discriminatory about race.

I can go back a few years when Ikram Butt said exactly the same thing and he was on a personal crusade to try to influence people from his own background to participate/spectate and to get involved with the sport, has far as I know he gave up after a while.

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2 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Yes, tell me what I have said is not true, I wasn't being discriminatory about race.

I can go back a few years when Ikram Butt said exactly the same thing and he was on a personal crusade to try to influence people from his own background to participate/spectate and to get involved with the sport, has far as I know he gave up after a while.

I didn't say it was discriminatory but its a very strange take on why clubs might/might not be successful. Ethnicity has absolutely nothing to do with it. 

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51 minutes ago, Dave T said:

The problem is mate, and I agree with what you are saying, but what is the outcome here? What is the proposal of that thought process? 

Because nobody ever suggests anything that appears attractive. 

I've commented further up the thread on some of the things I think the sport should focus on, but it's hard to have the outcome without understanding the audience that RL wants to attract. Is it going for a younger audience? A more premium/upmarket audience? A more ethnically diverse audience? A more geographically spread audience? Because different target audiences will respond to different tactics in different ways and I think the key part of all of this is understanding and researching those key audience groups that RL thinks that it can turn into followers of the sport. It's important to remember that whilst RL can't be all things to all people, it can be something to more people. 

I don't think any of those issues are insurmountable, because we've seen other sports address them in different ways. Some of those ways could be replicated in RL I'm sure, but some might need more creative thinking.

Any specific suggestions are going to split the room in terms of their effectiveness. I personally think that there is a lot of merit in a short-form 'growth' event in terms of making the sport more accessible and making better use of digital content channels, but I equally accept that there are plenty of people with valid views that RL doesn't need something like that. I think there's no reason why we can't build up key individuals as a 'face' of the sport in the same way that the Brownlee Brothers, the Kennys and the Team Sky boys have in triathlon and cycling - but I don't think nearly enough is being done in terms of media relations. 

But the idea that "we have nothing to learn from other sports" is an idea that really needs to die. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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3 minutes ago, OriginalMrC said:

I didn't say it was discriminatory but its a very strange take on why clubs might/might not be successful. Ethnicity has absolutely nothing to do with it. 

In the locallity of any club there is a population that all could be classed as the target market, I am saying that in area's of high ethnic populations those people will have very little interest in the sport of Rugby League, I am not saying that is the reason clubs might be/ might not be successful, but considering the topic was about the South Midlands/London I should imagine maybe I am wrong that if the siting of a club was in such an area I believe they would find it more difficult to attract an audience, that's all.

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5 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

In the locallity of any club there is a population that all could be classed as the target market, I am saying that in area's of high ethnic populations those people will have very little interest in the sport of Rugby League, I am not saying that is the reason clubs might be/ might not be successful, but considering the topic was about the South Midlands/London I should imagine maybe I am wrong that if the siting of a club was in such an area I believe they would find it more difficult to attract an audience, that's all.

Judging by the crowds we don't do well amongst white folks either, are they similarly predisposed to not liking the game?

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

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