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2 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

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. 

More international games are good. That's generally what the country can get behind. You had people who had never been to a cricket match in their life but were glued to the 2019 final. But there's no point in putting all these games on in Northern stadiums and small ones at that. Next time Jamaica play England it should be held in Plough Lane and marketed to the large Caribbean community within London. Just call it a rugby game. Forget the League part. Union has gotten away with that for far too long. Any revenue should be put into growing the sport within the city.

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30 minutes ago, NW10LDN said:

Most youngsters go to university now. And you are once again assuming that working folks don't have influence. Last election proves you wrong on that. Football is becoming more elitist by the day and the big clubs are moving further away from the fanbases. That leaves an opening in these areas for a new sport.

Where do you get the idea that football is elitist? Sure some Newcastle fans will probably want nothing more to do with the club because of the Saudi connection , or West Ham fans because their owners sold Upton Park, but it's a tiny minority. Most big clubs have sold out attendances for most games, a waiting list for season tickets for up to 20 years,  I know this as my brother is on one at Arsenal. For every disaffected fan of football another is ready to take their place. And on the subject of marketing I doubt if any one at any football game at the weekend said to themselves,  " dang it, marketing and hype I've fallen for it again!"

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22 minutes ago, NW10LDN said:

Most youngsters go to university now. And you are once again assuming that working folks don't have influence. Last election proves you wrong on that. Football is becoming more elitist by the day and the big clubs are moving further away from the fanbases. That leaves an opening in these areas for a new sport.

I don't think you can assume that such an influence is defined by someone's class, vs other characteristics. You might say that recent elections show that "working people" have influence, but I would argue that the bigger influence was more of a generational one - I certainly think that there's a lot of evidence that age is a bigger defining characteristic of how people vote than social class is, even if politicians are happy to tap into class identity. 

And that's important because I would say that RL's big issue is around age and diversity, rather than social class. The sport has an ageing fan base and a fan base that doesn't necessarily reflect the diversity of the communities it represents.

The challenge with hanging onto this "working class roots" mindset is that the definition of working class and working class identity is getting much, much weaker. Many traditional "working class" industries don't exist any more. Young people in particular are much more transient and will move around for work and study. Many of our 'working class towns' are now commuter towns for bigger cities. That's a challenge the sport hasn't really grappled with very well. 

Even in our northern working class heartlands, we have many pockets of wealth that remain untapped. Average weekly wages in Leeds and Manchester are comparable with those in cities like Bristol, Bath, Brighton and Milton Keynes, where RU has success tapping into the market. Why is it such a bad thing if the sport does more to try and appeal to those audiences? 

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12 minutes ago, HawkMan said:

Where do you get the idea that football is elitist? Sure some Newcastle fans will probably want nothing more to do with the club because of the Saudi connection , or West Ham fans because their owners sold Upton Park, but it's a tiny minority. Most big clubs have sold out attendances for most games, a waiting list for season tickets for up to 20 years,  I know this as my brother is on one at Arsenal. For every disaffected fan of football another is ready to take their place. And on the subject of marketing I doubt if any one at any football game at the weekend said to themselves,  " dang it, marketing and hype I've fallen for it again!"

Because it is. Super League nearly happened and hasn't gone away. Even UEFA knows there's a problem with how big and wealthy certain clubs have become. Bar the odd miracle like Leicester, the PL will be won by oil clubs.

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18 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I don't think you can assume that such an influence is defined by someone's class, vs other characteristics. You might say that recent elections show that "working people" have influence, but I would argue that the bigger influence was more of a generational one - I certainly think that there's a lot of evidence that age is a bigger defining characteristic of how people vote than social class is, even if politicians are happy to tap into class identity. 

And that's important because I would say that RL's big issue is around age and diversity, rather than social class. The sport has an ageing fan base and a fan base that doesn't necessarily reflect the diversity of the communities it represents.

The challenge with hanging onto this "working class roots" mindset is that the definition of working class and working class identity is getting much, much weaker. Many traditional "working class" industries don't exist any more. Young people in particular are much more transient and will move around for work and study. Many of our 'working class towns' are now commuter towns for bigger cities. That's a challenge the sport hasn't really grappled with very well. 

Even in our northern working class heartlands, we have many pockets of wealth that remain untapped. Average weekly wages in Leeds and Manchester are comparable with those in cities like Bristol, Bath, Brighton and Milton Keynes, where RU has success tapping into the market. Why is it such a bad thing if the sport does more to try and appeal to those audiences? 

People may not work in mines anymore but working class folks haven't gone away. Take a drive around Harlesden or Wembley and you'll see that.

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19 minutes ago, HawkMan said:

" dang it, marketing and hype I've fallen for it again!"

I went to a women's match so I had to keep saying out loud, "I am only here because I am a virtue-signalling, wokester and, really, the pitch is too big, the halves too long and nobody is enjoying themselves."

We won 4-0 though so I was happy.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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The marketing of Rugby League started, more less, at it's inception. The rule changes, 13 a side, play the ball, name change, were all a reaction to customer wants and needs. The paying spectators. The changes brought about by Superleague, to my mind, were not because paying spectators wanted them, but because the customer was now a TV platform who then used their own marketing to sell to their customers.

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7 minutes ago, NW10LDN said:

Because it is. Super League nearly happened and hasn't gone away. Even UEFA knows there's a problem with how big and wealthy certain clubs have become. Bar the odd miracle like Leicester, the PL will be won by oil clubs.

Rich owners yeah, that doesn't make it elitist in the sense that fans don't want it or will walk away. Newcastle fans won't be deserting St James Park. The old type of local owners, the Jack Walkers have certainly been priced out of owning Premier league teams, but fans by and large could not care less. Don't count on a mass desertion of fans from football Union or elsewhere to suddenly drive up RL attendances.  IMHO if RL can hold onto its current fans and funding for the next 10 years it will be a fantastic achievement,  if it can get back to the 40m tv contract figure,  great.

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19 minutes ago, NW10LDN said:

People may not work in mines anymore but working class folks haven't gone away. Take a drive around Harlesden or Wembley and you'll see that.

I'm not saying that they don't exist any more. What I am saying is that working class identity is much less defined - and arguably much less important - than it once was. I'm also saying that hanging onto that identity is limiting for a sport that wants to grow. 

Whilst there may still be working class people, it doesn't mean that they are, want and behave the same as working class people from 10, 20, 50 years or more ago. 

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18 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

Anyone used the term 'Super Greed' yet?

It's $uper or $tupid Greed or it doesn't count.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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1 hour ago, HawkMan said:

Rich owners yeah, that doesn't make it elitist in the sense that fans don't want it or will walk away. Newcastle fans won't be deserting St James Park. The old type of local owners, the Jack Walkers have certainly been priced out of owning Premier league teams, but fans by and large could not care less. Don't count on a mass desertion of fans from football Union or elsewhere to suddenly drive up RL attendances.  IMHO if RL can hold onto its current fans and funding for the next 10 years it will be a fantastic achievement,  if it can get back to the 40m tv contract figure,  great.

Fans do care. That's why they moan about ticket prices all the time. And I never said we should count of mass desertion of football fans.

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7 hours ago, NW10LDN said:

Because it is. Super League nearly happened and hasn't gone away. Even UEFA knows there's a problem with how big and wealthy certain clubs have become. Bar the odd miracle like Leicester, the PL will be won by oil clubs.

Macc Town didn't look elitist in the documentary last night.  Nor is Salford.  Soccer caters for a huge number of people from all social groups, all financial levels. Something for everyone.

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

Isaac Asimov

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13 hours ago, gingerjon said:

If you're putting on the event then you can pretty much control everything aside from what happens on the pitch so, if you are looking to engage an audience such that they will want to come back, then you would put all of your efforts into that.

The one thing you can't control is the quality of the match so don't make that the focus of your engagement or the justification for why people would come back.

The rules and how they are applied can be controlled. At the moment they`re applied to suit those who obsess about forward passes and knock-ons. With dire effects on the game as a spectacle.

Effective marketing can lure people to infrequent events like internationals. But to maintain regular attendance at club games of any sport, I have to believe that a consistently attractive product is essential. 

If I`d taken a Union fan to a League game 30+ years ago, I would have confidently expected the product to deliver more than enough to make the exercise worthwhile. Particularly in comparison with how Union was then played in the UK.

Now I wouldn`t be so sure. Some of our games consist of around 80 % dummy-half runs and one-out hit-ups. Anything that deviates from the "complete your sets" formula risks a call from ref or touch judge. Can we credibly contrast that with supposedly turgid RU?

Someone watching League who is used to Union will notice that currently where a Union ref will play advantage, the League ref will blow his whistle. So that Union refs facilitate off-the-cuff broken-field action, whereas League refs call a halt and restore the rigid pattern. 

If when a Union player mishandled the ball and the opposition regathered, the ref didn`t play advantage but instead stopped the game and jogged off to the middle of the field to choreograph a 20-phase pick-and-go session - we`d no doubt poke fun at boring RU. Yet something similar is now routine in League.

Our administrators devote too much time to off-field matters like structures and marketing. I`d rather they thought more about the on-field product deficiencies they`ve allowed to set in.

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3 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

The rules and how they are applied can be controlled. At the moment they`re applied to suit those who obsess about forward passes and knock-ons. With dire effects on the game as a spectacle.

Effective marketing can lure people to infrequent events like internationals. But to maintain regular attendance at club games of any sport, I have to believe that a consistently attractive product is essential. 

If I`d taken a Union fan to a League game 30+ years ago, I would have confidently expected the product to deliver more than enough to make the exercise worthwhile. Particularly in comparison with how Union was then played in the UK.

Now I wouldn`t be so sure. Some of our games consist of around 80 % dummy-half runs and one-out hit-ups. Anything that deviates from the "complete your sets" formula risks a call from ref or touch judge. Can we credibly contrast that with supposedly turgid RU?

Someone watching League who is used to Union will notice that currently where a Union ref will play advantage, the League ref will blow his whistle. So that Union refs facilitate off-the-cuff broken-field action, whereas League refs call a halt and restore the rigid pattern. 

If when a Union player mishandled the ball and the opposition regathered, the ref didn`t play advantage but instead stopped the game and jogged off to the middle of the field to choreograph a 20-phase pick-and-go session - we`d no doubt poke fun at boring RU. Yet something similar is now routine in League.

Our administrators devote too much time to off-field matters like structures and marketing. I`d rather they thought more about the on-field product deficiencies they`ve allowed to set in.

I basically disagree with all of this but especially the part where rugby union is a beacon of letting things go.

They've always had a more relaxed attitude to forward passes and knock ons. It's why their "greatest try of all time" would never have been allowed in league. But whole sections of the match - three or four minutes at a time - can be taken up by setting and resetting a scrum. Penalties are given for opaque reasons , the kicking of which then chew up time. And whilst there is probably too much safety first attacking build up in league, that really doesn't compare too badly with the same forwards running the ball into the same impact space again and again because there is no limit to the number of times they can do it. Until they get a penalty. Which eats up clock.

Which is my way of saying that whilst there are things I'd do to tinker around the edges with the rules of league and their enforcement, they're not going to be the things that bring people back to the game again and again. The product is a brilliant product. We've enough evidence of that to know it to be true.

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9 hours ago, JohnM said:

Macc Town didn't look elitist in the documentary last night.  Nor is Salford.  Soccer caters for a huge number of people from all social groups, all financial levels. Something for everyone.

It does that by having a huge number of teams in a massive pyramid that it can afford because it early professional game grew and incorporated large swathes of the country in to give it the popularity it has now.

Often as well fans of lower league football teams will either actively support or follow or even just take a general interest in the top flight teams. At what point does that start? The championship?

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21 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

I disagree. It might not have any bearing on the product/service they receive, but it's all part of the 'experience' - it's one of the things that will get people to walk in to a JL store in the first place. The extent to which it's an important part of the experience will differ for each individual. Just as the quality of the on-field product is more important for some people than others as part of their overall experience. So it may only be a minor part of the experience, but it's still part of it.

I think you're confusing marketing with market research. 😁

To be fair.. they cant be aiming to get people to walk into a JL store because they've shut most of the damn things!

(yours disgruntled of Sheffield)

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19 hours ago, gingerjon said:

I went to a women's match so I had to keep saying out loud, "I am only here because I am a virtue-signalling, wokester and, really, the pitch is too big, the halves too long and nobody is enjoying themselves."

We won 4-0 though so I was happy.

Did you also point out that if it wasnt for the evil BBC forcing this rubbish onto us through putting it on the telebox when no one wants to see it then you wouldnt have been there at all?

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11 hours ago, GUBRATS said:

First part of any clubs budget should be marketing , I suggested it once to my fellow board members , you can imagine the reaction 😂

I'm starting to think you just went to board meetings to rile everyone up with your ideas that you should spend money on marketing and come together as a group of clubs to make more money from merchandising than you do as individual clubs.. i mean your just an antagonist that hasnt got anything constructive to add arent you... :kolobok_ph34r:

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4 minutes ago, RP London said:

Did you also point out that if it wasnt for the evil BBC forcing this rubbish onto us through putting it on the telebox when no one wants to see it then you wouldnt have been there at all?

I didn’t have to. We all say it to each other every time and then go on compulsory diversity training during half time.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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2 hours ago, gingerjon said:

I basically disagree with all of this but especially the part where rugby union is a beacon of letting things go.

They've always had a more relaxed attitude to forward passes and knock ons. It's why their "greatest try of all time" would never have been allowed in league. 

We are in reciprocal agreement in relation to the game of RU overall. But when their game does get going, there`s sometimes more ball movement than in League. That would have been unthinkable in the past.

The Barbarians try that RU dined out on for decades (you could say marketed itself with) would in League very likely have yielded nothing more than a ref making a forward pass signal. Even had it been allowed, the extravaganza would have been ruined by a huge miserable shout of "FORWARD" on the soundtrack. As a consequence, it would never have been shown as often or had the same impact.

I just wish those in charge of our game would assess RU`s "relaxed attitude", see the benefits, and at least start a debate as to whether our way is best in these areas. All it would take is to flip around the benefit of the doubt. People would get used to it over time. Even the imbeciles on Fox League.

League has always obsessed about forward passes, but if you watch a game, English or Aussie, from the 80s or earlier, it`s clear the knock-on madness is a relatively new disease.

My guess as to why this has taken root over the past 20 years is that the game has been Bunkerized. The way a VR painstakingly looks for reasons to be unhappy has fed into the on-field refereeing culture. And RL is now not being allowed to fully flourish as a result.

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12 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

We are in reciprocal agreement in relation to the game of RU overall. But when their game does get going, there`s sometimes more ball movement than in League. That would have been unthinkable in the past.

The Barbarians try that RU dined out on for decades (you could say marketed itself with) would in League very likely have yielded nothing more than a ref making a forward pass signal. Even had it been allowed, the extravaganza would have been ruined by a huge miserable shout of "FORWARD" on the soundtrack. As a consequence, it would never have been shown as often or had the same impact.

I just wish those in charge of our game would assess RU`s "relaxed attitude", see the benefits, and at least start a debate as to whether our way is best in these areas. All it would take is to flip around the benefit of the doubt. People would get used to it over time. Even the imbeciles on Fox League.

League has always obsessed about forward passes, but if you watch a game, English or Aussie, from the 80s or earlier, it`s clear the knock-on madness is a relatively new disease.

My guess as to why this has taken root over the past 20 years is that the game has been Bunkerized. The way a VR painstakingly looks for reasons to be unhappy has fed into the on-field refereeing culture. And RL is now not being allowed to fully flourish as a result.

Relaxed attitude to forward passes but a return to draconian policing of the play the ball?

TBH, I'm fine with calling forward passes forward. If they're marginal they're still forward. Knock ons used to be let go a little bit more but, again, I've no issue at all with them being called.

And, to keep it back to the OP, I really don't think a handful of calls about either issue per game is a particularly big deal for whether anyone gets and stays interested in RL.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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