Jump to content

Hearns should take over RL- look now!


Recommended Posts

7 hours ago, Martyn Sadler said:

The organisation that we should look at more closely is the NFL, who have two games over the next two weekends at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and both are sold out, save for a few individual seats dotted around the stadium. The seat prices look ridiculously high by Rugby League standards.

Rugby League audiences on Sky exceed those for NFL, as far as i'm aware, but when it comes to selling games, we are way behind in their slipstream.

This constant comparing RL to American Football is a complete false equivalence.

NFL has a national fan base that only get to see the sport in the UK twice a year. Having built up the fan base selling this is a piece of cake to sell - a big day out in the capital for a big glitzy showbiz game and it doesn’t matter who is playing.

In comparison in Rugby League you’ve got 12 clubs playing each other over and over again (in SL, play-offs, Challenge Cup, Magic) in a tiny geographical area of the country in a sport that most people have no idea about. 

Unless you bring in new formats and Competitions with new teams in new areas (like say the Hundred) or build a strong international programme you can spent millions on marketing but you still won’t sell out Wembley for two northern teams who are overexposed to their niche fanbase and have little or no Interest to a wider audience.

The one thing we can learn from NFL is that less is more and to have a short season and therefore make each game they play a major event.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites


13 minutes ago, theswanmcr said:

This constant comparing RL to American Football is a complete false equivalence.

NFL has a national fan base that only get to see the sport in the UK twice a year. Having built up the fan base selling this is a piece of cake to sell - a big day out in the capital for a big glitzy showbiz game and it doesn’t matter who is playing.

In comparison in Rugby League you’ve got 12 clubs playing each other over and over again (in SL, play-offs, Challenge Cup, Magic) in a tiny geographical area of the country in a sport that most people have no idea about. 

Unless you bring in new formats and Competitions with new teams in new areas (like say the Hundred) or build a strong international programme you can spent millions on marketing but you still won’t sell out Wembley for two northern teams who are overexposed to their niche fanbase and have little or no Interest to a wider audience.

The one thing we can learn from NFL is that less is more and to have a short season and therefore make each game they play a major event.

When a RL game comes on the tv, the tv immediately blacks out. This phenomenon would explain your theory (and it’s not just you) that “most people have no idea about” RL. 

Anyone who follows sport in England, knows about RL. What is a lacking is having an interest in it. The question that needs to be answered is how do you generate more interest. Creating stars is one major way you can do that, but that requires a more open, attacking game like how it was previously. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Martyn Sadler said:

They do, but they appear to have a wider brief than just marketing the season's biggest games. Their briefs are more general than that.

And their marketing teams are too small and limited for the task in hand.

I don't agree that you need to narrow their remit to just those three events. 

That's a short-term, tactical focus. That sort of "performance marketing" has a place, but it is much less effective if you don't have a wider, longer term remit. Decades of research shows that businesses that invest in long term brand and audience building make more money in the long term than those that focus on short term sales.. The NFL was televised in the UK for 20 years before they brought a regular season game to London - they built the audience over a generation and that makes it much easier to sell (and sell at a premium).

Whoever is marketing RL needs to do both, but they need to be empowered and resourced to do it. 

You're probably more familiar with the RFL / SLE hierarchy than I am, but does the Chief Marketing Officer (or equivalent) sit on the board? If not, how can anything be achieved when we know that the 12 SL chairman that sit around that table rarely agree on the big decisions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, theswanmcr said:

This constant comparing RL to American Football is a complete false equivalence.

The one thing we can learn from NFL is that less is more and to have a short season and therefore make each game they play a major event.

A slight contradiction! In fact American Football has a lot to teach us, not least in having a shorter but more intense season.

8 hours ago, theswanmcr said:

NFL has a national fan base that only get to see the sport in the UK twice a year. Having built up the fan base selling this is a piece of cake to sell - a big day out in the capital for a big glitzy showbiz game and it doesn’t matter who is playing.

In comparison in Rugby League you’ve got 12 clubs playing each other over and over again (in SL, play-offs, Challenge Cup, Magic) in a tiny geographical area of the country in a sport that most people have no idea about. 

That's correct, but I was referring to Rugby League's three big club events each year.

The RFL has announced that it has 200,000 members on its OurLeague database. The World Cup team also has a database that now goes into six figures. And our TV audience on Sky easily exceeds that of American Football.

So we have the target audience and we have the big events.

It shouldn't be rocket science to sell the latter to the former.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

57 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I don't agree that you need to narrow their remit to just those three events. 

That's a short-term, tactical focus. That sort of "performance marketing" has a place, but it is much less effective if you don't have a wider, longer term remit. Decades of research shows that businesses that invest in long term brand and audience building make more money in the long term than those that focus on short term sales.. The NFL was televised in the UK for 20 years before they brought a regular season game to London - they built the audience over a generation and that makes it much easier to sell (and sell at a premium).

Whoever is marketing RL needs to do both, but they need to be empowered and resourced to do it. 

You're probably more familiar with the RFL / SLE hierarchy than I am, but does the Chief Marketing Officer (or equivalent) sit on the board? If not, how can anything be achieved when we know that the 12 SL chairman that sit around that table rarely agree on the big decisions?

Marketing strategy should always be long term in nature, but within that organisational structure you need part of your team to sell your big events.

Apart from that, I agree with the points you make.

The RFL board does not have an executive director  who is responsible for marketing the game, which I think says it all.

And neither does the Super League board.

The structure of the Super League board guarantees constant short-termism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

Being cheap today makes the problem more expensive tomorrow - and the sport has multiplied that issue for the thick end of two decades. 

Totally agree with you there - we have cheapened the sport to the extent that hardened RL fans don't want to pay 'market' prices for tickets to big games. The last World Cup was a perfect example with some tickets being less than £10 !!

Can you imagine any of the other similar sized sports giving tickets away to their biggest events

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

Being cheap today makes the problem more expensive tomorrow - and the sport has multiplied that issue for the thick end of two decades. 

We are now viewed as a low rent sport unfortunately. I was chatting to a senior member of Newcastle City Council the other day, he told me how much the fee was that they paid to host Magic in Newcastle. He said the council couldn’t believe how little they have pay to secure an event that brings upwards of £15m to the local economy.

I’m not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally

Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, Martyn Sadler said:

Marketing strategy should always be long term in nature, but within that organisational structure you need part of your team to sell your big events.

Apart from that, I agree with the points you make.

The RFL board does not have an executive director  who is responsible for marketing the game, which I think says it all.

And neither does the Super League board.

The structure of the Super League board guarantees constant short-termism.

I think the point is that the Grand Final, Magic and the CC Final (and the equivalent women's events for that matter) don't exist in a vacuum, and they shouldn't really be treated as such. 

Yes, we can throw the kitchen sink at Magic Weekend, get a crowd, but then what? How do we engage those people we attract for the other 363 days of the year? And that's the bit where RL really struggles, and the bit that isn't addressed by having teams dedicated to selling just three products a year. 

RL has shown that it can get crowds to its big events. We've sold out Grand Finals, sold out CC finals, we have the record crowd for the WC final in this country and we've got respectable Magic crowds for much of the event's existence. The difficult bit has been keeping those people - retaining the crowds that we do have, as they age, move around for family, work and study, find other interests, otherwise become disengaged or, sad to say, die off, as well as replacing those people with new, longer-term spectators and supporters that have a much greater lifetime value. It's all well and good rocking up to Newcastle every summer, bringing the circus to town, selling out the Big Top and then heading back home, but how do those people in Newcastle "buy" elite RL for the rest of the year? The truth is, it's very difficult for them to do that and that's what the game hasn't solved. 

That's the real challenge and it's why having a well-resourced team with a broad focus, and treating those key events as individual campaigns, gives you a much greater return on investment than having separate teams with one sole focus to sell out big events. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Derwent said:

We are now viewed as a low rent sport unfortunately. I was chatting to a senior member of Newcastle City Council the other day, he told me how much the fee was that they paid to host Magic in Newcastle. He said the council couldn’t believe how little they have pay to secure an event that brings upwards of £15m to the local economy.

Much of that, like the TV rights, is probably down to how competitive the bidding process is for the event. 

We've heard suggestions in the past of various cities across the UK and even Europe fighting for the event - was or is that the case? Have those 'auctions' become less competitive due to austerity? Or does the sport pick a venue that feels easy and convenient? 

There's going to be a limit as to how much you do get local councils to stump up - they see a fraction of that £15m as the bulk goes to local bars, restaurants and hoteliers so there is actually some credit due in respect of getting local government support for an event like this. But this does all come back to how the sport makes itself something that people want to be associated with. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Martyn Sadler said:

A slight contradiction! In fact American Football has a lot to teach us, not least in having a shorter but more intense season.

That's correct, but I was referring to Rugby League's three big club events each year.

The RFL has announced that it has 200,000 members on its OurLeague database. The World Cup team also has a database that now goes into six figures. And our TV audience on Sky easily exceeds that of American Football.

So we have the target audience and we have the big events.

It shouldn't be rocket science to sell the latter to the former.

 

I never said we couldn’t learn anything from American Football - we both agree on the short season - but that you can’t compare the sports on a like-for-like basis. Just because we get higher live TV figures doesn’t mean therefore we should be able to sell out big games like the NFL - that one metric skews the overall picture.

If you take the 200,000 OurLeague then you are offering them 3 big club events with the same 12 teams involved each time. And for 2 of those you don’t know the participants until a week or two beforehand. I’m not saying marketing can’t be improved and help but there is only so much you can do with the same old offer. We need new teams, new formats, new competitions and more Internationals to do that.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, theswanmcr said:

I never said we couldn’t learn anything from American Football - we both agree on the short season - but that you can’t compare the sports on a like-for-like basis. Just because we get higher live TV figures doesn’t mean therefore we should be able to sell out big games like the NFL - that one metric skews the overall picture.

If you take the 200,000 OurLeague then you are offering them 3 big club events with the same 12 teams involved each time. And for 2 of those you don’t know the participants until a week or two beforehand. I’m not saying marketing can’t be improved and help but there is only so much you can do with the same old offer. We need new teams, new formats, new competitions and more Internationals to do that.

 

If you're going to learn anything about how to operate a professional sports competition, then you would be wise to try to learn what makes any sport successful, whether it's American Football, English Football, AFL or anything else.

In doing that, it's as important to identify those things that don't or wouldn't work in Rugby League as much as those things that would.

I agree entirely with the thrust of your last sentence.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...