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Ian Lenegan speaks on Super League, RFL and 4


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1 hour ago, dkw said:

No, there will be an independent 4th party to govern these decisions, who will in turn have governance from a 5th party made of of club representatives. This 5th party will have overall authority, that will be ratified by a 6th party, which will be independent, but have oversight from a 7th party made up of club representatives.

Its a good plan, gives everything a nice streamlined organisation to ensure all decisions go through quickly and efficiently.

I want to laugh but then I worry that you actually have inside knowledge as this sounds so Rugby League ūüėě

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21 hours ago, M j M said:

BINGO!

(BTW he's not right)

He's not eh?  It's emerged that Toulouse is being made to continue paying expenses for English teams to go there to play them which are about 20,000 £ per trip apparently.  What other reason do you think explains them being too small time to pay their own expenses like clubs in all other pro leagues do???

And if having Toronto come in wasn't seen as a path toward solving the problem identified by Sean McGuire, why else do you think they were accepted???

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19 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

He's not eh?  It's emerged that Toulouse is being made to continue paying expenses for English teams to go there to play them which are about 20,000 £ per trip apparently.  What other reason do you think explains them being too small time to pay their own expenses like clubs in all other pro leagues do???

And if having Toronto come in wasn't seen as a path toward solving the problem identified by Sean McGuire, why else do you think they were accepted???

The problem is that it's not helpful to see expansion as a geography problem. It's an audience problem. 

Being in big cities can help us to address that problem (although it brings it's own challenges), but it's not so vital that every expansion attempt has to hinge on a new team being launched or planted in [insert city of choice]. But unless we can genuinely say that the sport has tapped into every possible market, demographic and (urgh) "consumer need", then the answer to RL's issues really does start much closer to home.

I don't have to drive particularly far to see pockets of wealth right in the RL heartlands - big houses with multiple nice cars on the driveway, lots of people commuting from across our heartland towns into cities like Leeds or Manchester to do well-paid jobs in tech, digital, legal and financial services, and a huge student and graduate population - and you then wonder what RL is doing to reach those sorts of people and what they actually want from an afternoon/evening of entertainment? Why is RL so poor at reaching those people, and only seemingly good at reaching it's current narrow demographic with cheap ticket deals? 

The sport also has more tools than ever to overcome its geographic challenges - TV, digital, social media are all ways of making it easy for people to "buy" RL content no matter where they are. We don't need to worry about how we sell season tickets in Belfast or Milton Keynes. 

 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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29 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

He's not eh? 

You constantly quote him, and his repeated sole argument is that Rugby League is a great failure because it is strong in all the wrong places.

It's such a dumb take. Obviously many RL communities are working class, that's self explanatory. But perhaps if you or he explained why he didn't start to fix the problem by simply relocating St Helens to Surrey we'd start to unravel more of why just saying this over and over is neither some great insight nor much use. 

Sport is cultural and historic. Expanding into any new territory in such a mature market is a very long-term, very expensive project which requires huge amounts of determination and commitment. It needs much more than the lazy observations of a failed RL administrator.

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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

The problem is that it's not helpful to see expansion as a geography problem. It's an audience problem. 

Being in big cities can help us to address that problem (although it brings it's own challenges), but it's not so vital that every expansion attempt has to hinge on a new team being launched or planted in [insert city of choice]. But unless we can genuinely say that the sport has tapped into every possible market, demographic and (urgh) "consumer need", then the answer to RL's issues really does start much closer to home.

I don't have to drive particularly far to see pockets of wealth right in the RL heartlands - big houses with multiple nice cars on the driveway, lots of people commuting from across our heartland towns into cities like Leeds or Manchester to do well-paid jobs in tech, digital, legal and financial services, and a huge student and graduate population - and you then wonder what RL is doing to reach those sorts of people and what they actually want from an afternoon/evening of entertainment? Why is RL so poor at reaching those people, and only seemingly good at reaching it's current narrow demographic with cheap ticket deals? 

The sport also has more tools than ever to overcome its geographic challenges - TV, digital, social media are all ways of making it easy for people to "buy" RL content no matter where they are. We don't need to worry about how we sell season tickets in Belfast or Milton Keynes.

You asked a vital question there, that's why I bolded it.

I suggest that unlike their counterparts outside the game's heartland those persons do know the heartland towns where the traditional clubs are based, but that simply adds to the difficulties of reaching them.  I suggest that they know those towns (at least to an extent) but they don't see them as the sort of places where big time major pro sport is played or where big events take place, and consequently they don't rate those towns as important.  If they don't rate them as important, then they won't be interested in a sport whose top tier is full of teams from those sorts of places because then they won't see the sport as important.

If that's true, then it doesn't matter how easy it becomes for anyone to buy RL content no matter where they are, because the clubs providing that content won't be a draw for the audiences needed.  It would also explain why so many of the sons and grandsons if the RL players and followers of yesteryear aren't taking up the game in sufficient numbers to maintain the player pool.

1 hour ago, M j M said:

You constantly quote him, and his repeated sole argument is that Rugby League is a great failure because it is strong in all the wrong places.

It's such a dumb take. Obviously many RL communities are working class, that's self explanatory. But perhaps if you or he explained why he didn't start to fix the problem by simply relocating St Helens to Surrey we'd start to unravel more of why just saying this over and over is neither some great insight nor much use. 

Sport is cultural and historic. Expanding into any new territory in such a mature market is a very long-term, very expensive project which requires huge amounts of determination and commitment. It needs much more than the lazy observations of a failed RL administrator.

The argument I quoted may be McGuire's sole argument, but that doesn't make it wrong.  On the contrary, the fact that a former CEO of a top club points to that as the major reason for the lack of money in the game rather than other things strongly suggests that he's right.  If other factors were involved, he would know about them and speak about them, but he doesn't do that.

The top pro clubs are owned by some fairly rich men who've succeeded in business, so the question of why they can't seem to make a financial success of their RL clubs is a very good one.  Unless they forgot what works in their other businesses, there must be a reason why those things won't work for their RL clubs.  And sorry to say, the claim that pro sport is different isn't an explanation because major pro clubs in other sports do make money.  Some do suffer operating losses, but growth in the value of the clubs usually offsets that.

McGuire didn't fix the problem by simply relocating St Helens to Surrey because that wouldn't solve anything.  In the first place Surrey isn't a place with any major pro sport (unless you count the country cricket team which being in county-based sport is unique), and even if it was moving a small club like that wouldn't work any better than merging two or three such clubs.

I accept that calling St Helens a small club might rankle with some here, but compared to the clubs in the real major pro leagues it certainly is small.  It wouldn't suddenly be a bigger club by relocating, it would just be the same small club somewhere else.  And continuing to play opponents from places which the locals in the new location don't know or rate wouldn't be a draw for them.

Yes expanding the game's territory is a long-term, expensive proposition.  That's one of the reasons why it's beyond the ability of the current league setup and administrators which don't have either the nous or the money to do it.  They also don't have the time to map out a strategy for expansion, they have their hands full keeping what they already have afloat.  And they sure don't have the money needed to back something for the long term either.

I know that some forum members will criticize me for not suggesting a way for those current administrators to solve the game's problems; the reason why I haven't done that is that I don't see any such solution within the current structure.

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15 hours ago, Big Picture said:

You asked a vital question there, that's why I bolded it.

I suggest that unlike their counterparts outside the game's heartland those persons do know the heartland towns where the traditional clubs are based, but that simply adds to the difficulties of reaching them.  I suggest that they know those towns (at least to an extent) but they don't see them as the sort of places where big time major pro sport is played or where big events take place, and consequently they don't rate those towns as important.  If they don't rate them as important, then they won't be interested in a sport whose top tier is full of teams from those sorts of places because then they won't see the sport as important.

If that's true, then it doesn't matter how easy it becomes for anyone to buy RL content no matter where they are, because the clubs providing that content won't be a draw for the audiences needed.  It would also explain why so many of the sons and grandsons if the RL players and followers of yesteryear aren't taking up the game in sufficient numbers to maintain the player pool.

But the reality is that the sport has to work with what it has got, and cannot work with what it doesn't have. What we have is a great source of content that could hold appeal to a wide range of audiences if packaged and distributed properly - I genuinely don't think, in a world of social media, that a Tommy Makinson corner-flag dive is less impressive just because it happened in St Helens instead of Manchester, London or Los Angeles.

What we don't have is the resources or a groups of wealthy individuals all willing to take a punt on funding their own expansion teams in new markets (and one could argue that many of the games stakeholders are hostile to such a thing). 

But I stand by my point, the answer to this whole issue starts by maximising what the game has on its doorstep, using the tools it has available now.

What RL has on its doorstep is a extremely diverse population, much of which has a demand for leisure and entertainment, and a population that does have pockets of disposable income that the game could tap into. But from all of that, RL only seems to succeed in reaching (and I don't mean this in a pejorative sense) a small segment of mostly white boomer-generation males from "C2DE" demographics with cheap ticket deals. The question to ask here is why? Why does the sport find it so difficult to reach all of those other audience groups? Is it a lack of effort, a lack of knowledge, or is there something fundamentally wrong with the product that doesn't engage them?

The tools that RL has available to it now include the ability to reach all manner of audiences anywhere in the world with content that is objectively brilliant, yet many clubs have a token effort to digital and social media, a PR strategy that doesn't extend beyond local newspapers with falling circulations, and still think that "advertising" means a poster up outside the club offices. Again, why is this? Is it a lack or resource, a lack of knowledge, a lack of effort, or a combination of various reasons?

The TL:DR version of this is that when we frame expansion as a "geography" problem, it becomes a problem that we can't really fix - because the sport doesn't have the resources to fund any meaningful expansion, the clubs themselves (with a small number of exceptions) aren't particularly enthusiastic about it either, and so we're reliant on another wealthy individual with some cash to burn (and all the risks that come with that). However, when we frame this as an "audience" problem, it is very much something that the game and the clubs in particular can - and importantly - have a stake in finding a solution to. 

Quote

The top pro clubs are owned by some fairly rich men who've succeeded in business, so the question of why they can't seem to make a financial success of their RL clubs is a very good one.  Unless they forgot what works in their other businesses, there must be a reason why those things won't work for their RL clubs.

My personal view on this one is that when you look at where many RL owners made their money, you start to realise that with the exception of Simon Moran, none of them (to my recollection) made their money in, or anything close to, industries like media or entertainment, and that is a big issue. There is a massive difference between selling widgets and selling "a great experience".

I think the people running the clubs really need experience in understanding the value of content, how to package that content and how to make it more valuable. Instead, when you look at the backgrounds of most club owners, you have a group of people whose MO is to maximise the efficiency and minimise the cost of how that content is produced, which makes it harder to make it more valuable. I don't think it's a coincidence that RL has such a 'cheap feeling' "that'll do" feeling about it when you see that that game is mostly run by those from those with backgrounds in financial services, accounting and manufacturing, where the emphasis tends to lean more towards considerations like cost and efficiency, rather than customer experience.

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17 hours ago, Big Picture said:

He's not eh?  It's emerged that Toulouse is being made to continue paying expenses for English teams to go there to play them which are about 20,000 £ per trip apparently.  What other reason do you think explains them being too small time to pay their own expenses like clubs in all other pro leagues do???

And if having Toronto come in wasn't seen as a path toward solving the problem identified by Sean McGuire, why else do you think they were accepted???

Toronto were accepted because they proved they wanted in and were committed to RL by working their way through the leagues and also promising they had the resources to participate. 

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18 hours ago, Big Picture said:

He's not eh?  It's emerged that Toulouse is being made to continue paying expenses for English teams to go there to play them which are about 20,000 £ per trip apparently.  What other reason do you think explains them being too small time to pay their own expenses like clubs in all other pro leagues do???

And if having Toronto come in wasn't seen as a path toward solving the problem identified by Sean McGuire, why else do you think they were accepted???

Hang on.. while you may be right with your general assertion around big towns etc (and I say MAY) the above is the equivalent of using Wikipedia to write a history thesis..

You have simply taken information from a different thread on here where no one has actually come up with any evidence that Tolouse will still be paying expenses (no proof they are not either but thats not really the point). Not only that but the 20K you mention was what was suggested as potential production costs (top end) of what it will be costing CATALANS to produce the TV coverage of their home games.. the only figure that someone plucked out of the air for transport costs was £10k IIRC. So not only are you using complete conjecture as an argument you are misusing and misquoting figures that are mentioned by people who admit they dont really know and are using round numbers as examples!

Not really a basis for an argument.. 

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No surprise Lenagan wanted Elstone for 'commercial' reasons,and now wants an independent 3rd party involved in the sport,when a second shirt sponsorship,in a matter of a few years,fails to deliver for Wigan Warriors. 

A splendid role model for those club owners of unworthy clubs outside of Super League.

Even League 1 clubs,denied central funding at Lenagans behest,don't mess up shirt sponsorship.

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     No reserves,but resilience,persistence and determination are omnipotent.                       

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46 minutes ago, Angelic Cynic said:

No surprise Lenagan wanted Elstone for 'commercial' reasons,and now wants an independent 3rd party involved in the sport,when a second shirt sponsorship,in a matter of a few years,fails to deliver for Wigan Warriors. 

A splendid role model for those club owners of unworthy clubs outside of Super League.

Even League 1 clubs,denied central funding at Lenagans behest,don't mess up shirt sponsorship.

As a large number of clubs turn to you and shout "hold my beer"

While its slightly ironic with wigan, as you point out, thanks to what has been said in the past by Lenagan I expect there are any number of cases in all sports at all levels of shirt sponsorships going a bit wrong. Companies dont payup, they go bust, they do something a bit silly or vice versa.. 

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