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16 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

From a sporting context too, the League then GF is chosen by competitions all over the world because it provides the best test of a team in both the long duration of a season and intense heat of a final. A team who can't do both isn't a Champion team at that point.

It really isn't though. Finishing top of the league is certainly the most common method of deciding the league champions the world over. The Grand Final that we use is very much an Australian innovation and certainly isn't used all over the world. It isn't used for reasons of geography or because we use conferences like American sports.

It is used purely to have a big commercial event and other sports like RU copied the RL Grand Final for much the same reasons. Lets not kid ourselves that it has ever been about finding some champion team.

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32 minutes ago, Damien said:

To be fair the Premiership used to average 35-40k when at Old Trafford. There's no reason to think this couldn't be the same and more if it returned.

Then we had higher Challenge Cup final crowds, which seems to have been cannibalised somewhat since the introduction of the Grand Final. We also had higher Challenge Cup semi final attendances. Whilst there may be some other factors at play too the Grand Final seems to have become a case of putting all your eggs in one basket when previously there was a better spread of big matches and a wider spread of income.

Okay so hypothetically are you suggesting that we go back to a League format determining the champions?

Lets say a Premiership Final gets around 40k for the novelty of playing at Old Trafford or a ‘biggish’ matchup.

Maybe even the reintroduction of a second Cup competition like the former Regal trophy with a final somewhere interesting or a tie in with the Magic Weekend concept for the quarter or semi finals.

Is that the general idea?

 

 

 

 

 

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A league being the most common method to determine a champion is correct purely because soccer is the most played sport throughout the world.

However, I can’t think of any other major sport that doesn’t use a final to determine the champions. In that regard, a final would be by far the most common way to determine a champion.

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41 minutes ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

Okay so hypothetically are you suggesting that we go back to a League format determining the champions?

Lets say a Premiership Final gets around 40k for the novelty of playing at Old Trafford or a ‘biggish’ matchup.

Maybe even the reintroduction of a second Cup competition like the former Regal trophy with a final somewhere interesting or a tie in with the Magic Weekend concept for the quarter or semi finals.

Is that the general idea?

Yes I do think the team that finishes top of the league should be league champions. I love the Grand Final as an event but it will never be the true test for me and a glorified cup competition isn't what a league champion is about.

You could have a 2nd Cup competition early in the season with a final in April/May and yes instead of Magic or a change to the event, you could have a Challenge Cup final at the start of July and a top 8 play offs and Premiership Final in October. A good spread of events and a bit of variety. More competitions to sell to broadcasters too. Get rid of loop fixtures to create room and add a couple of mid season internationals too. If the argument for play offs is to give teams something to play for then this certainly gives more teams something to play for and for more of the season too.

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I don’t know where I stand on this , but a byproduct is winning the league over 20 odd games and months and months doesn’t have the kudos and worth it should have 

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1 hour ago, Damien said:

It really isn't though. Finishing top of the league is certainly the most common method of deciding the league champions the world over. The Grand Final that we use is very much an Australian innovation and certainly isn't used all over the world. It isn't used for reasons of geography or because we use conferences like American sports.

It is used purely to have a big commercial event and other sports like RU copied the RL Grand Final for much the same reasons. Lets not kid ourselves that it has ever been about finding some champion team.

Thats why I put commercial concerns first.

Nevertheless, you can't get to the Grand Final unless you have been one of the better teams all season, and then can show it on the big stage with the most pressure. Often teams that look great all year crumble under that pressure or come up against a side better prepared for it.

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4 hours ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

Although the playoffs have lower crowds than regular season games, the same cannot be said for the Grand Final itself which is arguably the biggest domestic occasion now and has the largest attendance of any club championship game usually in the U.K.

If you’re going to get rid of it for a straight league format then aren’t you concerned that a lot of revenue would be lost to Super League?

I can understand your argument on sporting merit, but I’m not sure it stacks up financially.

 

 

If we did scrap the Grand Final, then the financial aspect would be my only concern. I wouldn't object to the old Premiership style trophy, giving another chance of silverware and retaining the play offs and Old Trafford Final. But not sure fans would back it.

Where we fall down is not having a back up prize. The top 4 and Champions League places give meaningful competition to sides not competing for the Premier League title in football. Same for European Cup places in Union. We don't.

My big concern about the play offs are the perception. For example, I watched the Wigan v Leeds game with a friend last year who doesn't follow the sport. He asked whether the match was important. When I said yes, he asked why it was half empty and I didn't have an answer.

The Grand Final is another matter and is an impressive and atmospheric occasion but the question is whether the route to get to that one, great occasion is worth it. I'm not convinced it is in an on field sense, but probably is financially. A tricky one!

Edited by Chris22
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Twitter: @TrylineUK
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5 minutes ago, Chris22 said:

 

My big concern about the play offs are the perception. For example, I watched the Wigan v Leeds game with a friend last year who doesn't follow the sport. He asked whether the match was important. When I said yes, he asked why it was half empty and I didn't have an answer

Exactly my point. Now you’ve had time to reflect, why do you think the stadium was half empty for a finals fixture between the two biggest RL clubs in the competition?

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9 minutes ago, Chris22 said:

When I said yes, he asked why it was half empty and I didn't have an answer.

There are as many potential answers to that as there are posters on this forum.

One question which rarely gets posted is to ask why, back in the days when the league title was decided at the end of the home and away season with no play offs, were so many league matches played to such tiny crowds.

(I don't have an answer to either by the way - just observing that nostalgia often blinds as to what things were really like).

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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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17 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

Exactly my point. Now you’ve had time to reflect, why do you think the stadium was half empty for a finals fixture between the two biggest RL clubs in the competition?

Probably cost. A family of four to go to a play off costs more than a junior season ticket for 13 matches.

Beyond the initial outlay of a season ticket, fans either don't want to spend such an amount extra for play offs or for many the cost is prohibitive.

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Twitter: @TrylineUK
Latest Blog: Leeds' Indian Summer

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30 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

There are as many potential answers to that as there are posters on this forum.

One question which rarely gets posted is to ask why, back in the days when the league title was decided at the end of the home and away season with no play offs, were so many league matches played to such tiny crowds.

(I don't have an answer to either by the way - just observing that nostalgia often blinds as to what things were really like).

Where they? I remember some huge crowds in the run ins for the league title when the likes of Wigan, Widnes, Leeds, Saints etc were in close contention, crows that were far above the average at that time. Going off my own team, and yes they were in the thick of it, but the crowds far exceed anything we see in the play off these days or for most games for that matter. Also to note its a common misconception that Wigan walked away with the league most years when they were dominant, very often it came right down to the wire and on occasion came down to points difference:

1988-1989 Season when Widnes won a Championship decider on the last day in front of 17,323 at Naughton Park:

Wed 12 Apr St Helens Home 7:45 Won 14-07 Hanley Hampson 5 Click Here 21076

R.Whitfield

Sun 16 Apr Widnes Away 3:00 Lost 18-32 Platt, Goodway, Hanley Lydon 3 Click Here 17323

J.Holdsworth

 

1989-1990 when Wigan v Leeds became a title decider

Tue 10 Apr Leeds Home 8:15 Won 16-12 Preston 2 Goulding 4 Click Here 24462

R.Whitfield

 

Fri 13 Apr St Helens Away 3:15 Lost 10-35 Betts, Goodway O'Donnell 1 Click Here 17176

J.Holdsworth

 

Mon 16 Apr Leigh Home 3:00 Won 34-06 Goodway 2, Hampson, Byrne, Goulding, Hanley Goulding 5 Click Here 19641

K.Allatt

 

1990-1991 Again when a game v Widnes became a title decider

Tue 9 April Widnes Home 8:00 Won 26-06 Botica, Edwards, Betts, Clarke Botica 5 Click Here 29763

R.Tennant

Thu 11 April Bradford Northern Home 8:00 Draw 18-18 Betts, Skerrett Botica 5 Click Here 19112

K.Allatt

Sat 13 April Leeds Away 2:45 Won 20-08 Goodway, Dermott, Betts Botica 2, Goulding 3DG,
Hanley DG
Click Here 15313

J.Holdsworth

 

1992-1993 When Wigan and Saints finished on equal points

Fri 9 April St Helens Home 3:00 Draw 08-08 Offiah Botica 2 Click Here 29839

J.Holdsworth

 

Mon 12 Apr Warrington Away 11:30 Won 27-14 Bell 2, Edwards, Farrell Botica 5 + DG Click Here 7849

D.Campbell

 

Fri 16 Apr Castleford Home 7:30 Won 25-18 Botica, Clarke, Robinson Botica 6 + DG Click Here 20020

S.Cummings

 

1993-1994 When Wigan, Bradford and Warrington all finished on equal points and then when Wigan was in the Challenge Cup and Premiership final:

ue 12 Apr Bradford Northern Away 7:30 Lost 06-10 Edwards Botica 1 Click Here 14151

S.Cummings

Fri 15 Apr Bradford Northern Home 7:30 Won 41-14 Offiah 3, Edwards 2, Panapa, Farrell Botica 6 + DG Click Here 17971

J.Holdsworth

 
Wed 20 Apr Castleford Home 7:30 Won 21-12 Edwards, Offiah, Tuigamala Botica 4, Farrell DG Click Here 19896

J.Holdsworth

Sun 24 Apr Oldham Away 7:00 Won 50-06 Botica 2, Offiah 2, Mather, Edwards 2, Connolly, Panapa Botica 7 Click Here 8015

D.Atkin

 
Sat 30 Apr CC Final: Leeds Wembley 2:30 Won 26-16 Offiah 2, Farrell, Panapa Botica 5 Click Here 78348

D.Campbell

 

Sun 8 May PT QF: St Helens Home 3:00 Won 34-16 Edwards 2, Offiah 2, Betts, Cassidy Botica 5 Click Here 17367

R.Smith

 

Fri 13 May PT SF: Sheffield Home 7:30 Won 52-18 Offiah 3, Betts 2, Botica 2, Tuigamala 2 Botica 8 Click Here 11340

D.Campbell

 
Sun 22 May PT Final: Castleford MUFC 3:30 Won 24-20 Farrell, Panapa, Botica, Betts Botica 4 Click Here

35644

S.Cummings

 

Wed 1 June World Club: Brisbane Away 7:30 Won 20-14 Betts, Mather, Robinson Botica 4 Click Here 54220

G.McCallum

Edited by Damien
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12 minutes ago, Chris22 said:

Probably cost. A family of four to go to a play off costs more than a junior season ticket for 13 matches.

Beyond the initial outlay of a season ticket, fans either don't want to spend such an amount extra for play offs or for many the cost is prohibitive.

The cost will weigh even more heavily when considering that the playoff game will be a repeat of a fixture that will have already been seen 2 or 3 times that season in the league fixtures, (plus a likely cup meeting too as the top teams enter so late), and which will be on tv as all play off games are so can be seen at home/down the pub more cheaply.

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10 minutes ago, Damien said:

Where they? I remember some huge crowds in the run ins

Not going against your research - which is really useful - but my point was that it's often said that not having the league winner decided by the top of the table at the end of the H/A stage of the season leads to lower or more apathetic crowds through the season. That's not borne out by the stats we have for the seasons when the league title was decided that way.

In your Widnes example, for example, their opening home fixture was 12,000 lower (according to RL Project) than the one-off 17,000 they got. Their penultimate home match drew half the crowd of their final one despite them being second at the 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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Would it asking too much to desire that they keep the Finals structure and number of clubs in the SL the same for the next decade?

Sadly the game is rigged. It is rigged for the SL over the rest and it is massively so for the Big clubs in a self-perpetuating way that keeps them dominant.

Until this is addressed, changing the structure is to use the cliche, merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Like it or not, but the Grand Final is the Big RL event now. Get rid of it might seem fair to some, but it will diminish the game.

As for ###### crowds.

When SRD made their occasional furore into the Play Offs, normally sensible and skeptical  middle aged Salfordians suddenly became uncustomingly giddily sanguine. 

Maybe had this become a regular event (please) then some of the thrill would diminish and the enthusiasm would wilt. I contend some Saints, Pies and Leeds fans give an impression of if not bored with success, at least underwhelmed with the annual same old. Thus the paper thin crowds.

Remedy. Well our Canadian cousins say there CFL clubs add the cost of play offs into their season ticket, whether they reach it or not and the difference is handed back. 

Better solution. Organize the game so it stops being the same old each October.

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3 hours ago, Chris22 said:

If we did scrap the Grand Final, then the financial aspect would be my only concern. I wouldn't object to the old Premiership style trophy, giving another chance of silverware and retaining the play offs and Old Trafford Final. But not sure fans would back it.

Where we fall down is not having a back up prize. The top 4 and Champions League places give meaningful competition to sides not competing for the Premier League title in football. Same for European Cup places in Union. We don't.

My big concern about the play offs are the perception. For example, I watched the Wigan v Leeds game with a friend last year who doesn't follow the sport. He asked whether the match was important. When I said yes, he asked why it was half empty and I didn't have an answer.

The Grand Final is another matter and is an impressive and atmospheric occasion but the question is whether the route to get to that one, great occasion is worth it. I'm not convinced it is in an on field sense, but probably is financially. A tricky one!

Well I suppose you could just have the top 2 go into the Grand Final. Or have a preliminary final for the 2nd and 3rd placed clubs if they want to squeeze out another game in the season.

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2 hours ago, gingerjon said:

Not going against your research - which is really useful - but my point was that it's often said that not having the league winner decided by the top of the table at the end of the H/A stage of the season leads to lower or more apathetic crowds through the season. That's not borne out by the stats we have for the seasons when the league title was decided that way.

In your Widnes example, for example, their opening home fixture was 12,000 lower (according to RL Project) than the one-off 17,000 they got. Their penultimate home match drew half the crowd of their final one despite them being second at the time.

I think you are talking about something different than I presumed when you replied to Chris' post about play off and important games. If you are talking about throughout the season then yes average crowds where lower but average crowds across all sports were far lower too. For context that 17,323 figure would have beaten 7 Division 1 (old Premier League for clarity) matches on a random April weekend in 1988. Unthinkable now.

Whilst I understand your point I dont really agree and see it from a different angle. In my opinion people used to come out for big matches in a way they do not do now, hence boosting crowds considerably for CC semi finals, finals and big league games. They really used to galvanise the towns involved. That is why there is always much talk on here about the season ticket culture when people bemoan crowds. That doesn't really happen now and we struggle to get people to go.

As for the opening Widnes game against Hull FC yes it was a lot lower but there would certainly be similar anomalies now if you compare a game against a team with the furthest traveling distance to one with the highest attendance. To be fair the penultimate one got 9,537 against Bradford and the one before that got 11,024 against Castleford. Both pretty good against 2 Yorkshire teams and certainly well above the average for the time.

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On a purely sorting merit perspective, I agree that finishing top of the league is the harder achievement.

I also agree that the necessity for playoffs isn't there on a sporting side.

It is purely financial. But it is a necessary financial. Without that champions tag, it would be considered a 3rd class trophy behind that of the league and the cup. There's little incentive to win it.

Football cups are steeped in history and also have qualification for other competitions attached to them. There's at least some incentive. We've already established that cup competitions' attendances are in the decline for numerous reasons, so why add another over league fixtures?

I agree with the premise made at the start, but the solution isn't going to improve the game, it's going to diminish it. An expanded game with more professional clubs competing in numerous conferences will see a necessity for a truely needed playoff system...

... People will then complain that they can't fill the stadium because there's foreign teams in it!

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The main problem with the Grand Final deciding the final ‘winner’ is that we have too few clubs playing too many games to get there.

NFL regular season has 32 teams playing just 17 rounds, followed by 14 teams in play-offs and final over 4 weeks. Max 21 games.

We have 12 teams playing 27 regular rounds - a ridiculous amount - followed by play-offs and final. Plus the Challenge Cup and teams can play each other 5 or 6 times a season. Hence the low play-off crowds. Less is more people.

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37 minutes ago, theswanmcr said:

The main problem with the Grand Final deciding the final ‘winner’ is that we have too few clubs playing too many games to get there.

NFL regular season has 32 teams playing just 17 rounds, followed by 14 teams in play-offs and final over 4 weeks. Max 21 games.

We have 12 teams playing 27 regular rounds - a ridiculous amount - followed by play-offs and final. Plus the Challenge Cup and teams can play each other 5 or 6 times a season. Hence the low play-off crowds. Less is more people.

Agree with that. Home and away plus Magic = 23 regular season fixtures plus the 3 play-off fixtures would be enough.

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8 hours ago, theswanmcr said:

The main problem with the Grand Final deciding the final ‘winner’ is that we have too few clubs playing too many games to get there.

NFL regular season has 32 teams playing just 17 rounds, followed by 14 teams in play-offs and final over 4 weeks. Max 21 games.

We have 12 teams playing 27 regular rounds - a ridiculous amount - followed by play-offs and final. Plus the Challenge Cup and teams can play each other 5 or 6 times a season. Hence the low play-off crowds. Less is more people.

Whilst I agree that the appetite for attending play offs among fans might increase if that fixture was only the first or second meeting of the two teams that year (rather than the 4th or 5th) the problem is that we as a sport do not have, nor do our clubs bring in sufficient money to allow for a reduction in fixtures to achieve this. We would be risking the financial viability of our clubs in the hope that a theory about it increasing crowds at a half dozen games at the business end by doing it was correct. I also doubt that regular league fixtures would see sufficient attendance (and thus income) increases to make up the shortfall as a result. We are also unlikely to see the sort of income from tv rights that would allow clubs to slash the number of fixtures.

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The grand final should stay and play offs should stay.. for me its simple. With loop fixtures we have to have it as the league is not even, with an uneven league season the final table is not a fair reflection necessarily. Going forward I would hope the RFL can look at the international game and look at adding teams to the league, at the same point as limiting the number of games for player welfare all of which can make the league season even more uneven. We dont need the number of games we have and in a collision sport that is supposed to be played in the summer months we start too early and we have too many games.. 

The play offs should be the top 1/4 to 1/3 of the league with weighting to give importance to finishing higher up. The Grand Final is a pinnacle event at a time when very little else "big" is happening in the british sporting scene. It is what you can build on and develop. 

RL needs to adapt and the way it was 30 years ago and the non climactic way a league season can end is not the way to build IMHO, everyone is crying out for events and this is a big one, wanting to get rid of it or dilute it is pure madness.

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21 hours ago, Damien said:

Yes I do think the team that finishes top of the league should be league champions. I love the Grand Final as an event but it will never be the true test for me and a glorified cup competition isn't what a league champion is about.

You could have a 2nd Cup competition early in the season with a final in April/May and yes instead of Magic or a change to the event, you could have a Challenge Cup final at the start of July and a top 8 play offs and Premiership Final in October. A good spread of events and a bit of variety. More competitions to sell to broadcasters too. Get rid of loop fixtures to create room and add a couple of mid season internationals too. If the argument for play offs is to give teams something to play for then this certainly gives more teams something to play for and for more of the season too.

And you think these will be commercially successful ?

"We'll sell you a seat .... but you'll only need the edge of it!"

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20 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

Exactly my point. Now you’ve had time to reflect, why do you think the stadium was half empty for a finals fixture between the two biggest RL clubs in the competition?

For the same reasons that cup games get poor crowds. The world has changed. A reasonable proportion of spectators can't attend games arranged at short notice because of work or family commitments. It's not like when all games were Sunday afternoon and few people worked on Sundays. You automatically knock 20%+ off the crowd by arranging a game with a week's notice, and that's before you start on things like whether it's included in the season ticket.

The Grand Final has been a big success for RL. The play-offs leading up to it most definitely are not.

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1 hour ago, JonM said:

For the same reasons that cup games get poor crowds. The world has changed. A reasonable proportion of spectators can't attend games arranged at short notice because of work or family commitments. It's not like when all games were Sunday afternoon and few people worked on Sundays. You automatically knock 20%+ off the crowd by arranging a game with a week's notice, and that's before you start on things like whether it's included in the season ticket.

The Grand Final has been a big success for RL. The play-offs leading up to it most definitely are not.

One way to make playoff matches bigger would be to include home playoff matches in season tickets; if the club doesn't have a home playoff match that portion of the ticket money could be rolled over and applied to purchases of merchandise or tickets for the following season.

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7 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

One way to make playoff matches bigger would be to include home playoff matches in season tickets; if the club doesn't have a home playoff match that portion of the ticket money could be rolled over and applied to purchases of merchandise or tickets for the following season.

Finals are administered by the governing body. All costs associated are with them, not the club.

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