Jump to content

North America Rugby League


Recommended Posts

24 minutes ago, Sammo said:

I can find one Cleveland match vs Atlanta. I think Toronto have played once too. The question for me is why are we building a pro tier without the grassroots foundations? Makes no sense to me

I am pretty sure that is the same question most of us have been asking since day 1. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


1 minute ago, langpark said:

I am pretty sure that is the same question most of us have been asking since day 1. 

Its going to be top down....its how alot of sport works over here....if done properly I think it will be a go...all i want to do is watch a RL game...is that too much to ask?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Kayakman said:

Its going to be top down....its how alot of sport works over here....if done properly I think it will be a go...all i want to do is watch a RL game...is that too much to ask?

The Brits don't understand that top down is the only way it can work.  The Wolfpack reached a good number of Canadians such as yourself, Nicholas Mew and others and got you all interested precisely because they were a pro club aiming to reach the top.  The grassroots efforts of the CRL could never do that because it's something which takes money, and a lot of it.

The same is true in Britain too, as the litany of underfunded expansion failures over there proves.  That said, all the signs suggest that the NARL is too underfunded to be fit for purpose.

Edited by Big Picture
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whilst I am generally not a fan of top-down, I do accept that it could work if there is massive financial backing to go with it. 

I cannot see much evidence of this project having strong financial backing, hence why I remain skeptical. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, langpark said:

Whilst I am generally not a fan of top-down, I do accept that it could work if there is massive financial backing to go with it. 

I cannot see much evidence of this project having strong financial backing, hence why I remain skeptical. 

Agree with this - top down with no previous presence of RL needs money to burn. With even a relatively minor number of local clubs you already have an inbuilt player and fan base to draw on. I don’t disagree that top down could work, I just think it isn’t sustainable without some sort of sustained grassroots presence

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Sammo said:

Agree with this - top down with no previous presence of RL needs money to burn. With even a relatively minor number of local clubs you already have an inbuilt player and fan base to draw on. I don’t disagree that top down could work, I just think it isn’t sustainable without some sort of sustained grassroots presence

In new territory you need top down to create the interest to bring the grassroots presence into existence in the first place, by inspiring newcomers to the game to start it up.  Absent that top, you'd be left with enthusiastic ex-heartlanders trying to create the interest in a vacuum which as we've seen time and again isn't going to work.

Note well that the Cleveland RL team you can see playing below is a result of how the top-down approach works.  It wouldn't exist if Monté Gaddis hadn't created it, and he would never have discovered the game if there hadn't been a pro club in North America looking for players.  Cleveland is just one illustration of why only the top-down approach can work.

18 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Yes I think so. 

Yes they did, against Atlanta last summer.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

In new territory you need top down to create the interest to bring the grassroots presence into existence in the first place, by inspiring newcomers to the game to start it up.  Absent that top, you'd be left with enthusiastic ex-heartlanders trying to create the interest in a vacuum which as we've seen time and again isn't going to work.

Note well that the Cleveland RL team you can see playing below is a result of how the top-down approach works.  It wouldn't exist if Monté Gaddis hadn't created it, and he would never have discovered the game if there hadn't been a pro club in North America looking for players.  Cleveland is just one illustration of why only the top-down approach can work.

Yes they did, against Atlanta last summer.

 

A club that's played one friendly in three years isn't yet an example of a top down approach working, let alone it being the only way expansion can work.

Edited by gingerjon
  • Like 5

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)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

In new territory you need top down to create the interest to bring the grassroots presence into existence in the first place, by inspiring newcomers to the game to start it up.  Absent that top, you'd be left with enthusiastic ex-heartlanders trying to create the interest in a vacuum which as we've seen time and again isn't going to work.

Note well that the Cleveland RL team you can see playing below is a result of how the top-down approach works.  It wouldn't exist if Monté Gaddis hadn't created it, and he would never have discovered the game if there hadn't been a pro club in North America looking for players.  Cleveland is just one illustration of why only the top down approach can work

But the examples of MLS and MLR are the opposite? There was a base level of support and participation in both sports prior to the move to professionalism. Yes it needs time, money etc, but that is what is required for sustainable growth 
 

Again, I don’t disagree that top down has a role to play, but saying it is the only approach that will work is just wrong. As with many other examples, if Monte Gaddis runs out of steam then the whole organisation in Cleveland falls down. This isn’t to say he hasn’t achieved anything - what he has done is very impressive. But I think a more sustainable use of his time/effort/love for the game would be to focus on the grassroots in Cleveland before jumping too early into paying players.

Just my two cents

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Sammo said:

But the examples of MLS and MLR are the opposite? There was a base level of support and participation in both sports prior to the move to professionalism. Yes it needs time, money etc, but that is what is required for sustainable growth 
Again, I don’t disagree that top down has a role to play, but saying it is the only approach that will work is just wrong. As with many other examples, if Monte Gaddis runs out of steam then the whole organisation in Cleveland falls down. This isn’t to say he hasn’t achieved anything - what he has done is very impressive. But I think a more sustainable use of his time/effort/love for the game would be to focus on the grassroots in Cleveland before jumping too early into paying players.

Just my two cents

No, saying that top down is the only approach which will work is not wrong.  If you don't get the likes of Monté Gaddis hooked on the game, development like Cleveland RL won't happen, and top down is how you get the likes of him interested in the first place.  There are no grassroots in Cleveland yet, and only the top down approach can bring them into existence in new territory.

The development in the Northeast which everyone on here is so impressed with likewise began by Gateshead playing in SL in 1999.  It would never have developed as much as it has without to kickstart it in the first place.

Edited by Big Picture
Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

No, saying that top down is the only approach which will work is not wrong.  If you don't get the likes of Monté Gaddis hooked on the game, development like Cleveland RL won't happen, and top down is how you get the likes of him interested in the first place.  There are no grassroots in Cleveland yet, and only the top down approach can bring them into existence in new territory.

The development in the Northeast which everyone on here is so impressed with likewise began by Gateshead playing in SL in 1999.  It would never have developed as much as it has without to kickstart it in the first place.

So explain how there were hundreds of Union clubs before MLR started? And thousands of football (soccer) clubs before MLS? If top down is the only way that works then why did they both have clubs countrywide before the pro game?

Again, what Gaddis has achieved is fantastic, but is it something that couldn’t have been done by funding a Community RL Officer (or equivalent) working through USARL. For the cost of the Wolfpack, how many individuals working full time to build the grassroots could there have been?

The top down is important, but it is too soon, and IMO NARL is built on foundations of sand

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Sammo said:

So explain how there were hundreds of Union clubs before MLR started? And thousands of football (soccer) clubs before MLS? If top down is the only way that works then why did they both have clubs countrywide before the pro game?

In the case of soccer, MLS was preceded by the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the US, which in turn was preceded by the North American Soccer League which made headlines in 1975 when the New York Cosmos lured Pelé out of semi-retirement who two years later was joined by Franz Beckenbauer.  On the strength of that the NASL created enough interest in soccer for the US to bid for the 1986 FIFA World Cup and get Henry Kissinger involved in the bid.  None of that would have happened without the NASL, which began as a merger between two leagues started in 1967, the National Professional Soccer League and the United Soccer Association which were franchised leagues set up by sports entrepreneurs who saw market potential based on higher than expected interest in the 1966 FIFA World Cup.

As you can see, it's been entirely top-down.

Though RU has existed in the US for some time, it's always been a minor sport little in the way of crowds or TV interest.  MLR is a bit of a hybrid, the first 7 clubs apparently grew out of the established RU setup in their cities but now most seem to be owned by various investors so it's morphing into a standard North American franchised league.  It appears that they tried the bottom-up approach and changed to top-down in fairly short order.

3 minutes ago, Sammo said:

Again, what Gaddis has achieved is fantastic, but is it something that couldn’t have been done by funding a Community RL Officer (or equivalent) working through USARL. For the cost of the Wolfpack, how many individuals working full time to build the grassroots could there have been?

Your question there is moot, no one's ever going to invest the sort of money David Argyle did in grassroots efforts.  That sort of money will only ever be available for pro sport.

37 minutes ago, Sammo said:

The top down is important, but it is too soon, and IMO NARL is built on foundations of sand

It's more that the NARL doesn't have the sort of financial backing needed to make any real impact.  As dubious as the financial numbers they stated re their first 12 franchises when they launched last year were, they were paltry even compared to the money involved in minor sports leagues here, so it's hardly surprising that (as far as I can tell) they achieved no press coverage at all in the US.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

It's more that the NARL doesn't have the sort of financial backing needed to make any real impact.

It is strange that we are even discussing top-down development. Seeing as NARL, is far closer to being an amateur set up rather than anything resembling the "top". 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

In the case of soccer, MLS was preceded by the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the US, which in turn was preceded by the North American Soccer League which made headlines in 1975 when the New York Cosmos lured Pelé out of semi-retirement who two years later was joined by Franz Beckenbauer.  On the strength of that the NASL created enough interest in soccer for the US to bid for the 1986 FIFA World Cup and get Henry Kissinger involved in the bid.  None of that would have happened without the NASL, which began as a merger between two leagues started in 1967, the National Professional Soccer League and the United Soccer Association which were franchised leagues set up by sports entrepreneurs who saw market potential based on higher than expected interest in the 1966 FIFA World Cup.

As you can see, it's been entirely top-down.

Though RU has existed in the US for some time, it's always been a minor sport little in the way of crowds or TV interest.  MLR is a bit of a hybrid, the first 7 clubs apparently grew out of the established RU setup in their cities but now most seem to be owned by various investors so it's morphing into a standard North American franchised league.  It appears that they tried the bottom-up approach and changed to top-down in fairly short order.

Your question there is moot, no one's ever going to invest the sort of money David Argyle did in grassroots efforts.  That sort of money will only ever be available for pro sport.

It's more that the NARL doesn't have the sort of financial backing needed to make any real impact.  As dubious as the financial numbers they stated re their first 12 franchises when they launched last year were, they were paltry even compared to the money involved in minor sports leagues here, so it's hardly surprising that (as far as I can tell) they achieved no press coverage at all in the US.

I can see we aren’t going to agree on this, but I think you’re misunderstanding me as well.

I’m not saying that the top down approach doesn’t or has never worked, I’m saying that both the grassroots and top down are required for any expansion to be sustainable.

Rugby League does not have a substantial grassroots movement in North America whereas both MLR and MLS (and its predecessors) did. Union and soccer existed in the US prior to the pro leagues ie, they were not a requirement to get a base level of grassroots growth.

Once you get to a certain point in terms of participation (ie where union is now) a move to top down is necessary to continue growing.

League and NARL are not at that stage yet.

Disagree on the community officers being a moot point - had someone said to you 5 years ago a billionaire could but £10s of millions into Toronto you’d have said the same thing.

Agreed on NARL not having the money to be successful

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Sammo said:

I can see we aren’t going to agree on this, but I think you’re misunderstanding me as well.

I’m not saying that the top down approach doesn’t or has never worked, I’m saying that both the grassroots and top down are required for any expansion to be sustainable.

Rugby League does not have a substantial grassroots movement in North America whereas both MLR and MLS (and its predecessors) did. Union and soccer existed in the US prior to the pro leagues ie, they were not a requirement to get a base level of grassroots growth.

Once you get to a certain point in terms of participation (ie where union is now) a move to top down is necessary to continue growing.

League and NARL are not at that stage yet.

Disagree on the community officers being a moot point - had someone said to you 5 years ago a billionaire could but £10s of millions into Toronto you’d have said the same thing.

Agreed on NARL not having the money to be successful

The problem RL has is in new territories is that the grassroots doesn't exist there, so it has to be created from nothing, and it's a lot easier to get newbies interested in a game which they see and hear about in their local media than a game which gets no media exposure to speak of there.  The top down approach generates that vital media coverage in a way the bottom up approach never will.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

The problem RL has is in new territories is that the grassroots doesn't exist there, so it has to be created from nothing, and it's a lot easier to get newbies interested in a game which they see and hear about in their local media than a game which gets no media exposure to speak of there.  The top down approach generates that vital media coverage in a way the bottom up approach never will.

Agree on the problem, disagree on the solution. Can you give an example of a sport where what you’re suggesting has worked? I can see that the NFL are trying it in the UK, but they have access to vast resources and the sport is already present in UK media so probably isn’t comparable to RL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, Sammo said:

Agree on the problem, disagree on the solution. Can you give an example of a sport where what you’re suggesting has worked? I can see that the NFL are trying it in the UK, but they have access to vast resources and the sport is already present in UK media so probably isn’t comparable to RL.

But what you have to understand is that the novice NA fan does not comprehend the differences between League and Union...to the new fan it is all just 'rugby' so league can use the established groundwork provided by union.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, Kayakman said:

But what you have to understand is that the novice NA fan does not comprehend the differences between League and Union...to the new fan it is all just 'rugby' so league can use the established groundwork provided by union.

Do you not want League to develop its own identity rather than hanging onto the coattails of union? Look at what happened in Denver with the New Zealand test - they relied on people wanting to see New Zealand play rugby, and it was a total failure which cost the US the World Cup. 

  • Like 1
  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Sammo said:

Agree on the problem, disagree on the solution. Can you give an example of a sport where what you’re suggesting has worked? I can see that the NFL are trying it in the UK, but they have access to vast resources and the sport is already present in UK media so probably isn’t comparable to RL.

Unless I'm mistaken gridiron got into the UK media on the back of the NFL taking preseason matches to London back in the mid 1980s and following that up with the creation of the WLAF and NFL Europe, so again it all stems from a top-down initiative.

I understand well that the money needed for anything comparable is nowhere to be found in RL or in the places where it's currently played.  Therefore, for RL to have something comparable that would require someone to set up a whole new organization for the purpose and look to interest the sort of individuals who'd otherwise look at buying into one of the established major pro leagues in getting involved.  And the sport's identity would have to be completely differentiated from RU by any such organization to eliminate any potential confusion or resistance.

3 hours ago, Kayakman said:

But what you have to understand is that the novice NA fan does not comprehend the differences between League and Union...to the new fan it is all just 'rugby' so league can use the established groundwork provided by union.

That won't work too well with MLR on the scene though.  In a population where hardly anyone has any idea that two distinct versions of rugby exist, MLR and the NARL will probably just be seen as two leagues in the same sport.

2 hours ago, Sammo said:

Do you not want League to develop its own identity rather than hanging onto the coattails of union? Look at what happened in Denver with the New Zealand test - they relied on people wanting to see New Zealand play rugby, and it was a total failure which cost the US the World Cup. 

Undoubtedly the game needs its own identity completely separate from RU, not only here in North America but over there in Europe too.  It's been mentioned a time or two by other posters on TRL who moved away from the heartlands and tried to talk the game up with their neighbours, coworkers, etc. that most had no idea that two distinct versions of rugby exist and most of the remainder see the game as a downmarket regional sport with limited appeal.  IMO it's an issue which needs a solution for the game to make any real progress.

As an Aussie, Jason Moore is an outsider to North America and more than likely he misread the market here.  Chances are that he thought that an International sports event in Denver would be seen as a rare and unique attraction for Coloradans, where in fact Internationals are foreign to the majority here because they aren't a big thing in our traditional sports.

If I'd been in his shoes I'd have looked to partner with the two big NCAA schools in the state (Colorado and Colorado State) on the basis that in exchange for being able to market directly to their alumni and their gridiron season ticket holders they'd get a share of that revenue, a fact which would be mentioned prominently in such marketing.  Universities in the top tier of the NCAA (like both of them) spend a lot of money on Varsity athletics every year — more than 100 million US$ for the biggest — and Colorado and Colorado State could always use extra revenue to help them compete.

The two universities have a rivalry in gridiron called the Rocky Mountain Showdown going back to 1893, though they don't always play it due to being in different conferences.  I'd have started with Colorado State which is the smaller of the two and therefore more likely to go for the idea, then looked to Colorado to get them into a contest for bragging rights as to which generated more ticket sales, a way to extend their rivalry.  Chances are that something alone those lines could like could have made an event like Moore's a big success.

Edited by Big Picture
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Sammo said:

Do you not want League to develop its own identity rather than hanging onto the coattails of union? Look at what happened in Denver with the New Zealand test - they relied on people wanting to see New Zealand play rugby, and it was a total failure which cost the US the World Cup. 

I'm not talking about tests here...what I'm talking about is developing a successful local professional rugby club....the average sports fan over here just knows rugby; not the codes....it is what it is...we have to work with that and make all positives out of it to be successful at this time in this place.

As for the test in Denver, well, I was clearly on record here in stating that it should have been in Toronto...we have to try to build in a beachhead....just like at D Day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's nothing stopping RL taking off in North America so much more easily than Union. 

If you eliminate the forward pass and outlaw deliberate contact on opposing players unless they have the ball you basically have rugby league. 

Have the centre play the ball instead of snapping the ball and a 10m gap in the line of scrimmage instead of the size of the ball. 

6 downs instead of 4 and no 1st down repeat sets, get rid of all the breaks in play and limit interchange to 12 (or maybe 20 🤣

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For Big Picture:  RL is the better game for the new fan...League is two hours and they have to sell the whole experience as we all know....Union is just too boring.   If you can get them back for a second game of League you got 'em.   It can go here if done properly.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Sammo said:

 

11 hours ago, Sammo said:

Disagree on the community officers being a moot point - had someone said to you 5 years ago a billionaire could but £10s of millions into Toronto you’d have said the same thing.

Time marches ever onwards.

5 years ago, the Toronto Wolfpack had just played their first game.

Edited by TheReaper
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Kayakman said:

For Big Picture:  RL is the better game for the new fan...League is two hours and they have to sell the whole experience as we all know....Union is just too boring.   If you can get them back for a second game of League you got 'em.   It can go here if done properly.

This might be controversial…

I think we need to step away from the idea that league is inherently ‘better’ than union - clearly some think that it is, but the sports proliferation worldwide suggests that many don’t. All this does is invite complacency - ‘of course fans will turn up, it’s quicker than union’ or ‘all they need to do is see two games and they’ll be converted’

Note- I am an active fan of both league and union 

By relying on union as a base, all you’ll do is drive more players to their clubs - where does someone who catches an NRL match go to learn to play rugby in the US? Their local union club

  • 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...