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13 minutes ago, NW10LDN said:

So at the end of all this you don't disagree that we should be targeting working class areas within London. You're just upset because I had a jab at yuppies. League's strength will always be its working class roots and ability to provide pathways to professional rugby.

I'm not upset at all, but I'm glad we agree that RL should put down roots anywhere those roots will flourish.

New territories don't necessarily respond the same way as the traditional breeding grounds. Women's Football shows that, with the USA being one of the most dominant sides in that game, despite the men's game there having been fairly low-key for decades.

But if you get traction in areas where youngsters are more likely to go on to universities and, then to positions of influence in their later years, then that's an advantage that RL fans have often disparaged in favour of some out-of-date notions about "keeping it real".

Rugby League as a whole has always fought to be an open game, where people can play freely without the threat of punishment from a certain other sporting body, but some traditional "fans" seem to want that pathway bricked up to anyone who feels like a stranger.

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"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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Its clear that the forum is populated with some highly skilled, experienced and qualified marketing  specialists. However, even professionals can get it wrong. 

Marketing case studies: Ford Edsel and Sinclair C5. 

“Ford Edsel” Brand Failure Case Study and Business Lessons | by Shah Mohammed | Medium

Sinclair C5: ‘one of the great marketing bombs of post-war British industry’ (w1nnersclub.com)

Edited by JohnM

The problem with being punctual is that there is no one there to appreciate it.

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3 hours ago, Dunbar said:

We may not get the attraction (although I enjoy some parts of the sport) but the fact remains... people who watch Rugby Union enjoy watching Rugby Union. 

To assume that people attend the sport despite the fact they don't enjoy it is very naive.

In the first minute of today`s England v New Zealand Women`s RU game, the Ferns moved the ball right along the line from deep inside their own half. The winger dropped it - "backwards, play on" said the French ref. I reckon every RL ref in the world would have called a knock-on.

For me, whether the call was strictly accurate or not is irrelevant. The lesson is that RU refereeing indulges and encourages creativity, whereas RL refereeing punishes and deters creativity. And in terms of the respective products, the consequences are clear for all to see, unless their view of RU is 30 years out of date.

If more League fans, administrators, officials watched RU with an open mind, they might start to realize how the knock-on/forward pass/obstruction obsessions in RL are currently doing real harm to our game on the field.

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1 hour ago, Futtocks said:

Rugby League should target anywhere and anyone that's approachable. If it happens to be an affluent district, then why not? If it happens to be an less well-off district, just the same.

I`ve yet to fathom what is so intrinsically working-class about the RL PTB. Or why, in contrast, releasing the ball on the ground is a quintessential sign of greater affluence.

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2 hours ago, Futtocks said:

I assume you mean the England RU team. Something that has little or nothing to do with growing Rugby League.

We can't afford not to reach out to everyone and anyone who might be interested. Otherwise, we stagnate and rot within unnecessarily self-imposed limits, just because it makes us feel we are "keeping it real". In fact, if the game aims upwards, then maybe we'd end up with a few more influential people on our side in the long run.

The Twickenham rabble can carry on with the same public school focus that has begun to destroy the game in Australia, and that'll be just great by me.

The main thing that’s killing RU is the transformation in player size, making it a much more attritional sport, less watchable, and much more dangerous. Interested (and not surprised) with recent findings; 

The potential dangers of professional rugby have been highlighted by a study that found players from the amateur era had no change in cognitive function until the age of 75, according to the body that funded the research.

A number of former professionals have been diagnosed with early-onset dementia in their thirties and forties.

Lauren Pulling, the chief executive of the foundation, said: “These findings are broadly reassuring for players from the amateur era. However, given the findings of the Drake study and recent cases of early-onset brain disease in ex-players from the professional era, the results do call into question how long-term health might differ in players from the modern era. The evidence we have so far suggests the sport may be travelling in the wrong direction.“

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/rugby-union/elite-rugby-players-from-amateur-era-not-plagued-by-brain-problems/news-story/8df3fcc945e30218094b30c86d50ab65

 

I can’t see RU reversing its decline unless player size goes back to a time when they were normal. It’s now a brutal, tedious product and no amount of marketing can cover that up.

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4 hours ago, Dunbar said:

That simply isn't true.

We may not get the attraction (although I enjoy some parts of the sport) but the fact remains... people who watch Rugby Union enjoy watching Rugby Union. 

To assume that people attend the sport despite the fact they don't enjoy it is very naive.

I've always thought that RU was a victory of hype over content. No naivety involved. 

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TESTICULI AD  BREXITAM.

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5 hours ago, redjonn said:

The problem is most, maybe all clubs can not afford a fully professional marketing team.

Im Not sure it’s “can’t”. More like “won’t”.

there are some very capable people involved in our sport, who sadly far too often have their hands, and purse strings, tied, usually by a bean counter of a CEO or someone completely unqualified to make such calls on marketing and PR. I’ve experienced this first hand, as I’m sure many on here may have also.

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Twitter: @NewhamDockersRL - Get following!

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17 minutes ago, DC77 said:

The main thing that’s killing RU is the transformation in player size, making it a much more attritional sport, less watchable, and much more dangerous. Interested (and not surprised) with recent findings; 

The potential dangers of professional rugby have been highlighted by a study that found players from the amateur era had no change in cognitive function until the age of 75, according to the body that funded the research.

A number of former professionals have been diagnosed with early-onset dementia in their thirties and forties.

Lauren Pulling, the chief executive of the foundation, said: “These findings are broadly reassuring for players from the amateur era. However, given the findings of the Drake study and recent cases of early-onset brain disease in ex-players from the professional era, the results do call into question how long-term health might differ in players from the modern era. The evidence we have so far suggests the sport may be travelling in the wrong direction.“

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/rugby-union/elite-rugby-players-from-amateur-era-not-plagued-by-brain-problems/news-story/8df3fcc945e30218094b30c86d50ab65

 

I can’t see RU reversing its decline unless player size goes back to a time when they were normal. It’s now a brutal, tedious product and no amount of marketing can cover that up.

There really isn't a way back. The increased physicality since the death of shamateurism has bred a generation of fans who'd laugh at the old style of paper-bag tackling, wretched handling and plodding forwards whose bellies are the size of the national debt.

But the older fans would baulk at the kind of laws that would make the game more exciting, because Rugby League has been hung over their heads as the archetype of all that is bad.

Their only choice in the short term is to market the hell out of the pitiful product they have, with the help of a compliant cabal of hacks who value the hospitality* offered by Twickers. Hey, it's worked for the last century and a bit. I doubt it'll change soon.

*especially the liquid part.

Edited by Futtocks

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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3 hours ago, NW10LDN said:

We should be targeting working class areas within the city. Jamaica have a rugby league team now and the largest Jamaican population lives in Brent. RFU has shown no interest in developing their sport within these areas. Union will carry on just fine. NRL already has Queensland and NSW locked down and are slowly making progress in Melbourne.

We should be targeting all areas

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9 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

I disagree. Whilst there are plenty of people who watch RU because they enjoy it, there are also loads of armchair viewers who engage with the 6 Nations and the Lions first and foremost because of the hype, who wouldn't otherwise give two hoots about club RU. They get hooked in to the event because of the hype. Just the same as those people tuning in to a high profile PPV boxing match who wouldn't otherwise give a monkeys. This is where RL misses out, because we lack the international competition which captures the general public's imagination.

I agree with this and it is not contradictory to what I was saying.

People may go to a RU game because they enjoy the on field action or they may go to an international because they enjoy the event (or they may enjoy the action and the event).

But the bottom line is that they are having a good time, a million miles away from this notion that they have been suckered into going to something with no substance that people seem to want to believe on here.

An enjoyable event to go to, or watch, is not clever marketing, it is product.

Edited by Dunbar
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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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7 hours ago, corvusxiii said:

I've always thought that RU was a victory of hype over content. No naivety involved. 

You are perfectly entitled to think that.

And I see packed grounds across the UK hosting international games while our players sit at home.

We can come up with all the reasons and excuses we want and we can shout as loud as we want that our game is better but they have the content and we don't.

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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12 hours ago, Dunbar said:

That simply isn't true.

We may not get the attraction (although I enjoy some parts of the sport) but the fact remains... people who watch Rugby Union enjoy watching Rugby Union. 

To assume that people attend the sport despite the fact they don't enjoy it is very naive.

I absolutely agree. I personally find RU absolutely dire and wouldn't watch it if you paid me. To me, it's like being stuck at work and someone having Capital on the radio....a nightmare.

However, many people really enjoy it, genuinely so. It's beyond me why but that's life. RL fans need to stop pretending that if only they saw RL they would become converted instantly. 

 

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57 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I agree with this and it is not contradictory to what I was saying.

People may go to a RU game because they enjoy the on field action or they may go to an international because they enjoy the event (or they may enjoy the action and the event).

But the bottom line is that they are having a good time, a million miles away from this notion that they have been suckered into going to something with no substance that people seem to want to believe on here.

An enjoyable event to go to, or watch, is not clever marketing, it is product.

Fair point. I was thinking more about the groups of people I see going to 'watch' it at the pub or round a mate's house, who actually spend all the time talking to their mates and pay zero attention to the game unless they're watching a replay of a try. From my experience there's a lot of people who fall in to this category who claim to be fans but actually aren't interested in the game at all - I know more about RU than they do. The thing they are enjoying is based on the marketing/hype/whatever you want to call it, but it isn't based on the product.

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28 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

I absolutely agree. I personally find RU absolutely dire and wouldn't watch it if you paid me. To me, it's like being stuck at work and someone having Capital on the radio....a nightmare.

However, many people really enjoy it, genuinely so. It's beyond me why but that's life. RL fans need to stop pretending that if only they saw RL they would become converted instantly. 

I agree about the hardcore RU fans. Living outside the heartlands however, I have worked and known a lot of people who are armchair RU fans, who only follow the game on a casual basis and get drawn in because of the hype/marketing. But many have admitted to preferring league when they actually sit and watch it. The problem we have is that - apart from the World Cup - RL in the UK doesn't have a marketable product that engages them.

I've got mates who've emigrated to Australia and New Zealand who weren't really interested in RL at all when they lived in the UK, but now living in Brisbane or Sydney or Auckland, they can't get enough of league. This is all because RL is the 'cool' thing to watch over there, but in vast areas of the UK it isn't. Until we address that issue and and create an exciting RL 'product' that engages the wider public on an annual basis, it's going to continue to become less relevant by the year.

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18 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Fair point. I was thinking more about the groups of people I see going to 'watch' it at the pub or round a mate's house, who actually spend all the time talking to their mates and pay zero attention to the game unless they're watching a replay of a try. From my experience there's a lot of people who fall in to this category who claim to be fans but actually aren't interested in the game at all - I know more about RU than they do. The thing they are enjoying is based on the marketing/hype/whatever you want to call it, but it isn't based on the product.

I think Dunbar is saying that the experience of talking to their mates and drinking while the game is on (being ignored) is part of the product.

They have succeeded in creating an event culture, which we don't seem to be able to do.

An international fixture list in the calendar would certainly help. 

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8 hours ago, EastLondonMike said:

Im Not sure it’s “can’t”. More like “won’t”.

there are some very capable people involved in our sport, who sadly far too often have their hands, and purse strings, tied, usually by a bean counter of a CEO or someone completely unqualified to make such calls on marketing and PR. I’ve experienced this first hand, as I’m sure many on here may have also.

Sounds just like the situation at many companies.

The problem with being punctual is that there is no one there to appreciate it.

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17 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

I agree about the hardcore RU fans. Living outside the heartlands however, I have worked and known a lot of people who are armchair RU fans, who only follow the game on a casual basis and get drawn in because of the hype/marketing. But many have admitted to preferring league when they actually sit and watch it. The problem we have is that - apart from the World Cup - RL in the UK doesn't have a marketable product that engages them.

I've got mates who've emigrated to Australia and New Zealand who weren't really interested in RL at all when they lived in the UK, but now living in Brisbane or Sydney or Auckland, they can't get enough of league. This is all because RL is the 'cool' thing to watch over there, but in vast areas of the UK it isn't. Until we address that issue and and create an exciting RL 'product' that engages the wider public on an annual basis, it's going to continue to become less relevant by the year.

All true but you can't ignore the fact that many people have been raised on RU and enjoy it. The full houses at internationals aren't achieved by a few people on a jolly (lthough there is obviously a fair amount) they are mostly genuine fans of RU. 

RL could do much better, although it isn't pushing against an open door like many sports. If several thousand RU fans went to a game or even watched it on TV and 'quite enjoyed' it, that could be a start. Shouting at them 'why do you watch that garbage?' is unlikely to achieve much! 

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34 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Fair point. I was thinking more about the groups of people I see going to 'watch' it at the pub or round a mate's house, who actually spend all the time talking to their mates and pay zero attention to the game unless they're watching a replay of a try. From my experience there's a lot of people who fall in to this category who claim to be fans but actually aren't interested in the game at all - I know more about RU than they do. The thing they are enjoying is based on the marketing/hype/whatever you want to call it, but it isn't based on the product.

Fans of RL are smart cookies who love the sport. Fans of Union or Football only go because of hype. Those singing " You'll Never Walk Alone " on the Kop, aren't engaging with the product of Liverpool FC , but just go for a sing song with their mates. It's all Sky's doing, apparently.  Marketing only goes so far,  in the end people aren't stupid,  they go because they like the product including the event experience. As the saying goes;

 

61CjW5+hYQL.jpg

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29 minutes ago, fighting irish said:

I think Dunbar is saying that the experience of talking to their mates and drinking while the game is on (being ignored) is part of the product.

They have succeeded in creating an event culture, which we don't seem to be able to do.

An international fixture list in the calendar would certainly help. 

I am indeed saying that.  In part.

But I also need to stress that I think on here we vastly underestimate how many people go to Union games or watch the game on TV because they actually enjoy watching it.  Just because I don't particularly enjoy something, it doesn't mean that I can't understand that others do.

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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I'd rather put my b'locks in a vice than listen to Ed Sheeran. Yet he's massively popular and has sold millions of records (or streams as the kids say today) in this country alone. 

I think sometimes you have to accept that it's you that is out of step. Focus on what RL can do well and not what some other sport is or isn't doing. 

I do agree with @unapologetic pedant though in that the too strict calls on potential infringements does the game no favours. I mean, can you think of anyone besides RL fans who point out that the try scored by Gareth Davies against the Barbarians was off a forward pass? 

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1 hour ago, fighting irish said:

I think Dunbar is saying that the experience of talking to their mates and drinking while the game is on (being ignored) is part of the product.

They have succeeded in creating an event culture, which we don't seem to be able to do.

But surely that's down to the marketing/hype?

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1 hour ago, Dunbar said:

I agree with this and it is not contradictory to what I was saying.

People may go to a RU game because they enjoy the on field action or they may go to an international because they enjoy the event (or they may enjoy the action and the event).

But the bottom line is that they are having a good time, a million miles away from this notion that they have been suckered into going to something with no substance that people seem to want to believe on here.

An enjoyable event to go to, or watch, is not clever marketing, it is product.

I agree. This constant focus on RU being boring and RL being great has led us into this 'Field of Dreams' kind of attitude that we don't really need to work hard to sell the game. 

What I would say is that the sport is not an issue. People who think faster play the balls will lead to bigger crowds are barking up the wrong tree - we have evidence that simple games do well, we also have evidence that complex games do well. We have evidence that quick games do well, we have evidence that games that take 5 days to finish are popular. There is no reason that people in Wigan prefer play the balls and people in Leicester prefer line-outs. 

RL is a perfectly reasonable sport that is in line with other sports that do well on TV and in grounds. 

Your last line is an important one - as long as we treat 'product' as the 80 minute thing that happens on the pitch we will not reach anywhere near potential. 

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16 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

I'd rather put my b'locks in a vice than listen to Ed Sheeran. Yet he's massively popular and has sold millions of records (or streams as the kids say today) in this country alone. 

I think sometimes you have to accept that it's you that is out of step. Focus on what RL can do well and not what some other sport is or isn't doing. 

I don't think this analogy really works. Other bands/singers aren't necessarily going to try and copy Ed Sheeran, but I bet many learn lessons from his production, marketing etc. 

UK RL needs to learn lessons from other sports and industries in order to try and raise profile and become more relevant to the wider public. One of the things RL 'did well' was a set international calendar with regular series against the Aussies. We haven't done that for years now. 

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