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The former Super League Rugby executive chairman has been unveiled as National League (fifth tier) Stockport County FC's non-executive chair.

A few weeks ago, Elstone joined PwC as a part-time senior adviser in the accountancy firm's sports business advisory team.

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6 minutes ago, Hopping Mad said:

The former Super League Rugby executive chairman has been unveiled as National League (fifth tier) Stockport County FC's non-executive chair.

A few weeks ago, Elstone joined PwC as a part-time senior adviser in the accountancy firm's sports business advisory team.

Finding his level 

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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

History will probably be harsher on Elstone's time in SL than it probably should be. 

I think he understood what needed to be done, but too few people with influence wanted to let him do it. 

The Toronto debacle aside, I think he tried to do the right things. 

He was earning £400,000 a year! He was a complete and utter disaster. If anything he got off lightly 

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4 hours ago, OriginalMrC said:

Finding his level 

His level is a lot lower than this.

I would suggest North West counties North or South leagues

1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

History will probably be harsher on Elstone's time in SL than it probably should be. 

I think he understood what needed to be done, but too few people with influence wanted to let him do it. 

The Toronto debacle aside, I think he tried to do the right things. 

He cost the game millions with his wages and his staffs and what about the reduced TV contract. Wasn't he meant to be negotiating a better TV deal not a reduced one.

The Toronto debacle cost the game any chance of breaking into the North American sports market the most lucrative sports market in the world, and who did he recommend to take Toronto's place?

5 minutes ago, OriginalMrC said:

He was earning £400,000 a year! He was a complete and utter disaster. If anything he got off lightly 

He should have been forced to hand back a majority of the money he was paid. Apart from Pizzas he brought nothing to the game

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3 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

History will probably be harsher on Elstone's time in SL than it probably should be. 

I think he understood what needed to be done, but too few people with influence wanted to let him do it. 

The Toronto debacle aside, I think he tried to do the right things. 

Can you name one thing that he achieved? 
 

Negotiated a massively reduced tv deal on the back of increased tv ratings. 
He refused Toronto a place in Super League, throwing away 3 years of hard work and a lot of money expanding the game. He promoted Leigh, who have shown they were not Super League ready. Paid out a ridiculous some of money (was it £750,000?) to a private equity firm for them to come up with a terrible offer to buy and own the rights to Super League rights. He took a massive salary and a hell of a lot of money out of the game for absolutely no benefit.

 

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15 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Can you name one thing that he achieved? 
 

Negotiated a massively reduced tv deal on the back of increased tv ratings. 
He refused Toronto a place in Super League, throwing away 3 years of hard work and a lot of money expanding the game. He promoted Leigh, who have shown they were not Super League ready. Paid out a ridiculous some of money (was it £750,000?) to a private equity firm for them to come up with a terrible offer to buy and own the rights to Super League rights. He took a massive salary and a hell of a lot of money out of the game for absolutely no benefit.

 

Perception is everything:

- Admitted TWP into SL before they went bust and withdrew

- Attracted a huge investment from PE that the clubs refused

- Oversaw a record sponsorship deal for SL

- Successfully navigated SL through Covid, delivering a great Grand Final

- Delivered a rebrand and focus on modernising the game

By the way, I don't rate Elstone, but with almost every decision you can see the effect of the handcuffs he had on him. 

Are things better now he's gone? 

 

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5 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Perception is everything:

- Admitted TWP into SL before they went bust and withdrew

- Attracted a huge investment from PE that the clubs refused

- Oversaw a record sponsorship deal for SL

- Successfully navigated SL through Covid, delivering a great Grand Final

- Delivered a rebrand and focus on modernising the game

By the way, I don't rate Elstone, but with almost every decision you can see the effect of the handcuffs he had on him. 

Are things better now he's gone? 

 

He was brilliant.He should be replaced.Lenagan and Moran should pay his salary.

Super League is in a great place - that is why they need government loans and the money League 1 clubs should have.

https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/ian-lenagan-robert-elstone-success-4988674

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     No reserves,but resilience,persistence and determination are omnipotent.                       

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2 hours ago, OriginalMrC said:

He was earning £400,000 a year! He was a complete and utter disaster. If anything he got off lightly 

 

2 hours ago, lucky 7 said:

He cost the game millions with his wages and his staffs and what about the reduced TV contract. Wasn't he meant to be negotiating a better TV deal not a reduced one.

The Toronto debacle cost the game any chance of breaking into the North American sports market the most lucrative sports market in the world, and who did he recommend to take Toronto's place?

He should have been forced to hand back a majority of the money he was paid. Apart from Pizzas he brought nothing to the game

 

37 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Can you name one thing that he achieved? 
 

Negotiated a massively reduced tv deal on the back of increased tv ratings. 
He refused Toronto a place in Super League, throwing away 3 years of hard work and a lot of money expanding the game. He promoted Leigh, who have shown they were not Super League ready. Paid out a ridiculous some of money (was it £750,000?) to a private equity firm for them to come up with a terrible offer to buy and own the rights to Super League rights. He took a massive salary and a hell of a lot of money out of the game for absolutely no benefit.

 

As these posts all pretty much carry the same sentiment, I'll clarify my points in one. 

I'll preface this by saying that I think Elstone was brought in as the wrong answer to the wrong question. But that isn't his fault. That's the fault of 11 of the 12 SL club owners at the time, and 11 people who still have their respective jobs and level of influence. 

The issue with the TV deal was that people saw the current TV (and the current commercial) deals as a failure of salesmanship (that we didn't push Sky hard enough). Ian Lenagan was on record as saying that, even though he voted for it, he didn't agree with the deal because he thought it was too hastily signed. Elstone was therefore brought in to "sell it harder" when the issue was not really that the rights weren't sold hard enough - it was that they weren't valuable enough to generate a competitive auction. 

I think Elstone understood that point. I think he realised that if he was going to make the TV rights and commercial rights more valuable, he needed to enhance the image of the sport, to get more people watching it and to change the demographics of the people watching it. I think he also understood that the real 'currency' that the sport had to offer was content, and that is should have the mindset of a media property - not a collective of businesses each trying to sell tickets and worrying about "away fans". However, it was never something that he was going to solve in two short years - even if COVID hadn't happened. 

That's why I think that he, at the very least, tried to do the right things and take the sport in the right direction. He focused a lot on the league's image, he focused on content and storytelling and he focused on making the game more exciting to the casual viewer. 

But he was hamstrung by people who didn't get that, and people who couldn't understand or accept that these very necessary steps were very much long-term projects. He was trying to convince people whom, for all their time in RL, their focus was on the short-term - for keeping the lights on for another year, for keeping the tax man away for another year, for hitting this year's season ticket target and for wondering how many away fans were turning up. He was always going to face an uphill battle against that short-term mentality. 

Where Elstone got it wrong, as I mentioned, was with Toronto. His handling of that was poor (although he had no involvement in the decision to promote Leigh, IIRC) and did a lot of damage to the league's reputation as a forward-thinking, growing competition. 

History will show that Elstone didn't succeed in what he tried to do, but there's no question in my mind that he at least tried to drag the sport kicking and screaming into the right place - and it has made no more progress since his departure to get there. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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22 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

 

 

As these posts all pretty much carry the same sentiment, I'll clarify my points in one. 

I'll preface this by saying that I think Elstone was brought in as the wrong answer to the wrong question. But that isn't his fault. That's the fault of 11 of the 12 SL club owners at the time, and 11 people who still have their respective jobs and level of influence. 

The issue with the TV deal was that people saw the current TV (and the current commercial) deals as a failure of salesmanship (that we didn't push Sky hard enough). Ian Lenagan was on record as saying that, even though he voted for it, he didn't agree with the deal because he thought it was too hastily signed. Elstone was therefore brought in to "sell it harder" when the issue was not really that the rights weren't sold hard enough - it was that they weren't valuable enough to generate a competitive auction. 

I think Elstone understood that point. I think he realised that if he was going to make the TV rights and commercial rights more valuable, he needed to enhance the image of the sport, to get more people watching it and to change the demographics of the people watching it. I think he also understood that the real 'currency' that the sport had to offer was content, and that is should have the mindset of a media property - not a collective of businesses each trying to sell tickets and worrying about "away fans". However, it was never something that he was going to solve in two short years - even if COVID hadn't happened. 

That's why I think that he, at the very least, tried to do the right things and take the sport in the right direction. He focused a lot on the league's image, he focused on content and storytelling and he focused on making the game more exciting to the casual viewer. 

But he was hamstrung by people who didn't get that, and people who couldn't understand or accept that these very necessary steps were very much long-term projects. He was trying to convince people whom, for all their time in RL, their focus was on the short-term - for keeping the lights on for another year, for keeping the tax man away for another year, for hitting this year's season ticket target and for wondering how many away fans were turning up. He was always going to face an uphill battle against that short-term mentality. 

Where Elstone got it wrong, as I mentioned, was with Toronto. His handling of that was poor (although he had no involvement in the decision to promote Leigh, IIRC) and did a lot of damage to the league's reputation as a forward-thinking, growing competition. 

History will show that Elstone didn't succeed in what he tried to do, but there's no question in my mind that he at least tried to drag the sport kicking and screaming into the right place - and it has made no more progress since his departure to get there. 

I agree pretty much with all of your post but did he not mess up the French tv situation by insisting that BEIN Sports or any channel wishing to broadcast SL in France had to negotiate a tv deal, despite there being next to no exposure of RL to casual audiences in the country? 

The end result is Catalan Dragons themselves having to pay broadcasters to screen games. Was that not his idea?

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39 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Perception is everything:

- Admitted TWP into SL before they went bust and withdrew

- Attracted a huge investment from PE that the clubs refused

- Oversaw a record sponsorship deal for SL

- Successfully navigated SL through Covid, delivering a great Grand Final

- Delivered a rebrand and focus on modernising the game

By the way, I don't rate Elstone, but with almost every decision you can see the effect of the handcuffs he had on him. 

Are things better now he's gone? 

 

OK Rob you did a brilliant job, keep telling yourself 😂

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12 minutes ago, The Daddy said:

I agree pretty much with all of your post but did he not mess up the French tv situation by insisting that BEIN Sports or any channel wishing to broadcast SL in France had to negotiate a tv deal, despite there being next to no exposure of RL to casual audiences in the country? 

The end result is Catalan Dragons themselves having to pay broadcasters to screen games. Was that not his idea?

I think you can trace that point back to the "selling it harder" point above. 

If he's under pressure to solve the TV rights problem with better salesmanship, rather than added value, then he's under-pressure to play hard-ball with all broadcasters - be they BeIn or Sky. 

In truth, the French TV situation should probably have been the canary in the coal mine about what the real issue was when it came to the TV rights. The clubs and RFL had five years since the last TV deal to work out how to make the next one more valuable and, having done nothing, they hired someone to try and fix in one year what they failed to fix in four. 

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48 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

 

 

As these posts all pretty much carry the same sentiment, I'll clarify my points in one. 

I'll preface this by saying that I think Elstone was brought in as the wrong answer to the wrong question. But that isn't his fault. That's the fault of 11 of the 12 SL club owners at the time, and 11 people who still have their respective jobs and level of influence. 

The issue with the TV deal was that people saw the current TV (and the current commercial) deals as a failure of salesmanship (that we didn't push Sky hard enough). Ian Lenagan was on record as saying that, even though he voted for it, he didn't agree with the deal because he thought it was too hastily signed. Elstone was therefore brought in to "sell it harder" when the issue was not really that the rights weren't sold hard enough - it was that they weren't valuable enough to generate a competitive auction. 

I think Elstone understood that point. I think he realised that if he was going to make the TV rights and commercial rights more valuable, he needed to enhance the image of the sport, to get more people watching it and to change the demographics of the people watching it. I think he also understood that the real 'currency' that the sport had to offer was content, and that is should have the mindset of a media property - not a collective of businesses each trying to sell tickets and worrying about "away fans". However, it was never something that he was going to solve in two short years - even if COVID hadn't happened. 

That's why I think that he, at the very least, tried to do the right things and take the sport in the right direction. He focused a lot on the league's image, he focused on content and storytelling and he focused on making the game more exciting to the casual viewer. 

But he was hamstrung by people who didn't get that, and people who couldn't understand or accept that these very necessary steps were very much long-term projects. He was trying to convince people whom, for all their time in RL, their focus was on the short-term - for keeping the lights on for another year, for keeping the tax man away for another year, for hitting this year's season ticket target and for wondering how many away fans were turning up. He was always going to face an uphill battle against that short-term mentality. 

Where Elstone got it wrong, as I mentioned, was with Toronto. His handling of that was poor (although he had no involvement in the decision to promote Leigh, IIRC) and did a lot of damage to the league's reputation as a forward-thinking, growing competition. 

History will show that Elstone didn't succeed in what he tried to do, but there's no question in my mind that he at least tried to drag the sport kicking and screaming into the right place - and it has made no more progress since his departure to get there. 

It's all well and good if he understood what he needed to do but he failed miserably. His appointment from Everton was a surprise as he wasn't highly thought of there and from day one he looked out of his depth. 

I'll say it again he was earning £400,000 a year.l! If someone earning that much can't set out what they are supposed to do then they are a failure.

The fact is he didn't really focus on what was important. He brought a few gimmicks in which were largely copied from the NRL. He spent months on the Toronto issue which ended up damaging the sport. The rest of the time he released soundbites which didn't register and never looked like he was truly making a difference. In the end SL have snapped sky's hand off on a vastly reduced TV deal despite viewing figures being buoyant. The knock on effect of that is having a devastating impact across the sport. 

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37 minutes ago, The Daddy said:

I agree pretty much with all of your post but did he not mess up the French tv situation by insisting that BEIN Sports or any channel wishing to broadcast SL in France had to negotiate a tv deal, despite there being next to no exposure of RL to casual audiences in the country? 

The end result is Catalan Dragons themselves having to pay broadcasters to screen games. Was that not his idea?

Daddy the Dragons had been paying for the TV since 2006.

P

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3 hours ago, OriginalMrC said:

He was earning £400,000 a year! He was a complete and utter disaster. If anything he got off lightly 

Give me £400,000 a year I would have put the Toronto team up in my house and dropped them at the bus stop for their away games with a packed lunch each.

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14 minutes ago, OriginalMrC said:

It's all well and good if he understood what he needed to do but he failed miserably. His appointment from Everton was a surprise as he wasn't highly thought of there and from day one he looked out of his depth. 

I'll say it again he was earning £400,000 a year.l! If someone earning that much can't set out what they are supposed to do then they are a failure.

The fact is he didn't really focus on what was important. He brought a few gimmicks in which were largely copied from the NRL. He spent months on the Toronto issue which ended up damaging the sport. The rest of the time he released soundbites which didn't register and never looked like he was truly making a difference. In the end SL have snapped sky's hand off on a vastly reduced TV deal despite viewing figures being buoyant. The knock on effect of that is having a devastating impact across the sport. 

He failed largely because he was hamstrung by the clubs. Clubs that sent him into TV negotiations with a poor hand, because they'd failed to spend time strengthening it (simply pointing to "bouyant viewing figures" isn't enough"). Clubs that voted down ideas that arguably would have progressed the sport. Clubs that were only interested in ideas that were cheap to implement and short-term in scope. Nobody, I don't care whether they're Eddie Hearn or Steve Jobs, could have succeeded in that environment. 

Prey tell, what do you think he should have focused on that was "really important"? 

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Just now, whatmichaelsays said:

He failed largely because he was hamstrung by the clubs. Clubs that sent him into TV negotiations with a poor hand, because they'd failed to spend time strengthening it (simply pointing to "bouyant viewing figures" isn't enough"). Clubs that voted down ideas that arguably would have progressed the sport. Clubs that were only interested in ideas that were cheap to implement and short-term in scope. Nobody, I don't care whether they're Eddie Hearn or Steve Jobs, could have succeeded in that environment. 

Prey tell, what do you think he should have focused on that was "really important"? 

Improving the commercial aspect of the sport, unifying the clubs, rebranding, negotiating with stakeholders, building relationships, working with the RFL to strengthen the whole sport. I could go on and on. He was hamstrung because he wasn't up to the job. The club owners never believed in him, but importantly neither did other important stakeholders. 

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8 hours ago, Hopping Mad said:

The former Super League Rugby executive chairman has been unveiled as National League (fifth tier) Stockport County FC's non-executive chair.

A few weeks ago, Elstone joined PwC as a part-time senior adviser in the accountancy firm's sports business advisory team.

I wonder how long the Stockport owner will tolerate him when he realises Elstone offers very little, and probably won't be there by 2023

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4 minutes ago, OriginalMrC said:

Improving the commercial aspect of the sport, unifying the clubs, rebranding, negotiating with stakeholders, building relationships, working with the RFL to strengthen the whole sport. I could go on and on. He was hamstrung because he wasn't up to the job. The club owners never believed in him, but importantly neither did other important stakeholders. 

He was trying to improve the commercial aspect of Super League by doing the very long-term things I talked about, but they are just that - long term.

His remit was Super League, not the RFL and the whole sport - that was what the clubs wanted and tasked him with focusing on. 

If the club owners never believed in him, why did 11 out of 12 ratify his appointment? 

I wasn't a fan of Elstone, for all I'm defending his tenure in this thread, but he was appointed to solve a problem that the clubs didn't seem to understand, and to do a job that suited them because it deflected attention from their own respective failures. Then they acted surprised when Elstone tried to point out what the problem really was. 

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