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IMG Strategic Partnership Announced


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2 hours ago, Toby Chopra said:

If that's how it pans out on the financial aspects, then that's a tick for me.

It also suggests that IMG will be given free rein to make proposals on structures and competitions from top-to-bottom of the game, where they think it will support the commercial goals. This is also good, although the way I read it any changes will have to be signed off by the SL/RFL JV before they go ahead.

It's right that the game's current stewards have a say in this, I just hope it doesn't end up with them watering down radical proposals out of short-termist thinking. I do think there are signs that the clubs have grasped that this is a key moment, where they have to see the big, long-term picture, so hopefully they will be brave when IMG puts their plan forward.             

They may have grasped the nettle finally but when you see the final implications for you club life can become a very different place.

There are some sides who are regarded and regard themselves as invulnerable from and to the changes that affect everyone, and their view of world is always guided by well we'll be safe!

If it is mainly based on structure change rather than gain sponsors, coverage income streams and changing the media's attitude to the sport ......

12 Years Before the Mast!

2 warning points:kolobok_dirol:

#CorbynwasrightandFordesaidso!

 

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8 minutes ago, rlno1 said:

Looks like Shane Richardson's plan for the British game may come true.

https://www.loverugbyleague.com/post/dissecting-shane-richardsons-plan-for-british-rugby-league/

I worry the game will just end up being a copy eveywhere of the Australian version. Lost it's individual character, which was part of the appeal.

We already attempt to copy the NRL coaching blueprint in many ways (although we dont really have the players for it) so I don't really think that's the bit to be concerned about. 

What's far more important is that if IMG propose even half of what Richardson does, then there's huge ramifications for the structure of the game. 

We can be for or against such changes - I'm sure we'll debate them in earnest when the proposals are revealed. 

I'm just not sure how something so radical gets signed off by the clubs who - indirectly - would appear to have a final veto on things. 

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Bought the League Express yesterday for the interview the IMG guy, one bit jumped out at me a bit was where Martyn asked whether the clubs had any sort of veto on the IMG recommendations and whilst he didn't say no they don't it certainly wasn't a yes they do. 

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I was born to run a club like this. Number 1, I do not spook easily, and those who think I do, are wasting their time, with their surprise attacks.

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1 hour ago, rlno1 said:

Looks like Shane Richardson's plan for the British game may come true.

https://www.loverugbyleague.com/post/dissecting-shane-richardsons-plan-for-british-rugby-league/

I worry the game will just end up being a copy eveywhere of the Australian version. Lost it's individual character, which was part of the appeal.

The plan that was widely derided on here.

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27 minutes ago, DI Keith Fowler said:

Bought the League Express yesterday for the interview the IMG guy, one bit jumped out at me a bit was where Martyn asked whether the clubs had any sort of veto on the IMG recommendations and whilst he didn't say no they don't it certainly wasn't a yes they do. 

5 member board, IMG and 2x RFL and 2x Super League. Presumably the Super League clubs collectivel only "control" 2 of those votes.

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1 hour ago, DI Keith Fowler said:

Bought the League Express yesterday for the interview the IMG guy, one bit jumped out at me a bit was where Martyn asked whether the clubs had any sort of veto on the IMG recommendations and whilst he didn't say no they don't it certainly wasn't a yes they do. 

Good.

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19 hours ago, Toby Chopra said:

If that's how it pans out on the financial aspects, then that's a tick for me.

It also suggests that IMG will be given free rein to make proposals on structures and competitions from top-to-bottom of the game, where they think it will support the commercial goals. This is also good, although the way I read it any changes will have to be signed off by the SL/RFL JV before they go ahead.

It's right that the game's current stewards have a say in this, I just hope it doesn't end up with them watering down radical proposals out of short-termist thinking. I do think there are signs that the clubs have grasped that this is a key moment, where they have to see the big, long-term picture, so hopefully they will be brave when IMG puts their plan forward.             

One concerning aspect of this is in this account headed "IMG looking to Australia to give Rugby League ‘same attention and excitement’ in UK" .  It quotes Matt Dwyer as saying, “We look at the position it has in Australia and we would love to recreate that over here, to bring that same level of attention and excitement to the game here in the UK.”

He sounds like another Aussie who doesn't understand the underlying reasons why the game's profile is so much lower in the UK than in Australia.  Unless they have a solution to those reasons they won't achieve a lot.

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15 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

One concerning aspect of this is in this account headed "IMG looking to Australia to give Rugby League ‘same attention and excitement’ in UK" .  It quotes Matt Dwyer as saying, “We look at the position it has in Australia and we would love to recreate that over here, to bring that same level of attention and excitement to the game here in the UK.”

He sounds like another Aussie who doesn't understand the underlying reasons why the game's profile is so much lower in the UK than in Australia.  Unless they have a solution to those reasons they won't achieve a lot.

I don't think there is anything in that comment. He is talking about market position, he doesn't really suggest that they would achieve that by mirroring Oz.

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2 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

5 member board, IMG and 2x RFL and 2x Super League. Presumably the Super League clubs collectivel only "control" 2 of those votes.

Even with IMG on the board of the JV, I don't see how that structure approves anything that includes franchising, or favours "big cities" over established heartland clubs. 

But new competitions or (gawd help us) a revamped challenge cup? Perhaps. 

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15 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

Even with IMG on the board of the JV, I don't see how that structure approves anything that includes franchising, or favours "big cities" over established heartland clubs. 

But new competitions or (gawd help us) a revamped challenge cup? Perhaps. 

I suppose it does it more than the existing director structure did, though I don't know who the "Super League" representatives will be. 

I assume the RFL will be represented by Ralph Rimmer and Simon Johnson, but Super League? Chairmen on a rolling basis? Ken Davy + A N Other?

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2 hours ago, Dave T said:

I don't think there is anything in that comment. He is talking about market position, he doesn't really suggest that they would achieve that by mirroring Oz.

I hope he is doing what you say mate, though I can see how it can be read multiple ways. 

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3 hours ago, Dave T said:

I don't think there is anything in that comment. He is talking about market position, he doesn't really suggest that they would achieve that by mirroring Oz.

Neither do I. I think most RL fans would be ecstatic if we could go some way to catching to Australia on various metrics.

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1 hour ago, Tommygilf said:

I suppose it does it more than the existing director structure did, though I don't know who the "Super League" representatives will be. 

I assume the RFL will be represented by Ralph Rimmer and Simon Johnson, but Super League? Chairmen on a rolling basis? Ken Davy + A N Other?

I'm not even sure how SL comes to a collective view on any decision either. Leeds, Wigan and Saints aren't even all on the same page on what they think shouldnhappen, let alone Wakefield and Salford. 

So you can see how the process will tend towards the status quo. 

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1 hour ago, Tommygilf said:

I hope he is doing what you say mate, though I can see how it can be read multiple ways. 

I think the headline, written by TotalRL maybe clouds it a little, but his words do appear to talk about the attention that the Aussies get. 

In any case, even if they are looking at the Aussies, it doesn't mean they would copy them, they surely understand different markets as a worldwide organisation. But there is plenty of infrastructure stuff that can be 'borrowed'. 

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27 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

I'm not even sure how SL comes to a collective view on any decision either. Leeds, Wigan and Saints aren't even all on the same page on what they think shouldnhappen, let alone Wakefield and Salford. 

So you can see how the process will tend towards the status quo. 

We've seen though that even where there are differences, they will often put them aside and reach agreement and crack on. 

The worst example I have seen where we didn't was around the S8's - I have never seen such bad examples of stroppy owners who didn't get their way trashing a concept to ensure it failed. 

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2 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I think the headline, written by TotalRL maybe clouds it a little, but his words do appear to talk about the attention that the Aussies get. 

In any case, even if they are looking at the Aussies, it doesn't mean they would copy them, they surely understand different markets as a worldwide organisation. But there is plenty of infrastructure stuff that can be 'borrowed'. 

What I'd be interested in whether the NRL has diversified its audience - class, race, sex - as it's become more successful, mirroring the changes in Australia as a whole?

And if so how did it do it without alienating the audience it already had? 

Because I think that's the trick we need to learn if they have any lessons to teach us. 

Obviously there are limits, as even if 35 years ago league was predominately white working class sport in Sydney and Brisbane, it was still number 1 in that demogrpahic. I don't think we've ever really been able to claim that except in isolated pockets. 

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13 minutes ago, Dave T said:

We've seen though that even where there are differences, they will often put them aside and reach agreement and crack on. 

The worst example I have seen where we didn't was around the S8's - I have never seen such bad examples of stroppy owners who didn't get their way trashing a concept to ensure it failed. 

I think some chairmen did their level best to undermine Elstone's authority until it reached a point where even his backers gave up on him. But both those examples show that the ultimate power still lay with the clubs if they really wanted to exercise it.

I can't really think of a major decision the SL clubs have signed up which put their statuses into serious doubt. Thus something like the status quo always prevails in the end, as that's where consensus is found. 

And to be fair, whether you're Gary Heatherington or Michael Carter, why would you do anything else? 

What they may have all accepted is that they're uniformly rubbish at promoting the game and revenues are only going backwards. So if IMG want to come in, take no cash up front, and then split any increased revenues, then it's easy to say yes as long as they ultimately still have  a veto on changes like licensing or whatever. 

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5 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

I think some chairmen did their level best to undermine Elstone's authority until it reached a point where even his backers gave up on him. But both those examples show that the ultimate power still lay with the clubs if they really wanted to exercise it.

I can't really think of a major decision the SL clubs have signed up which put their statuses into serious doubt. Thus something like the status quo always prevails in the end, as that's where consensus is found. 

And to be fair, whether you're Gary Heatherington or Michael Carter, why would you do anything else? 

What they may have all accepted is that they're uniformly rubbish at promoting the game and revenues are only going backwards. So if IMG want to come in, take no cash up front, and then split any increased revenues, then it's easy to say yes as long as they ultimately still have  a veto on changes like licensing or whatever. 

We should remember that there have been plenty of votes over the years that harmed part of the game. The initial SL move harmed many clubs, Catalans' admission saw a club relegated who didn't finish bottom, licensing was controversial, the scrapping of it also. 

These were all tough decisions that inflicted harm on some clubs. We have made decisions, but agreeing a clear strategy has been the missing element - enter IMG. 

I know we like to be overly critical of the existing game and clubs, but the biggest issue isn't that they will always protect themselves, we have seen self harm, it's that there has been no clear vision, with clearly articulated benefits and buy in. 

But also, we shouldn't be afraid of vetos and the like. If the ideas and proposals are good enough they will be implemented - it's no different really to F1 and RU etc. 

People do need to be careful what they wish for, it's important that IMG are not given total control - they haven't invested and if they get it wrong, they walk away unharmed. That isn't a healthy balance. 

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15 minutes ago, Dave T said:

We should remember that there have been plenty of votes over the years that harmed part of the game. The initial SL move harmed many clubs, Catalans' admission saw a club relegated who didn't finish bottom, licensing was controversial, the scrapping of it also. 

These were all tough decisions that inflicted harm on some clubs. We have made decisions, but agreeing a clear strategy has been the missing element - enter IMG. 

I know we like to be overly critical of the existing game and clubs, but the biggest issue isn't that they will always protect themselves, we have seen self harm, it's that there has been no clear vision, with clearly articulated benefits and buy in. 

But also, we shouldn't be afraid of vetos and the like. If the ideas and proposals are good enough they will be implemented - it's no different really to F1 and RU etc. 

People do need to be careful what they wish for, it's important that IMG are not given total control - they haven't invested and if they get it wrong, they walk away unharmed. That isn't a healthy balance. 

I think those are fair points Dave, although I think the launching and then scrapping of licensing show how even seemingly radical decisions have a built in rewind button in them, rather than a lock that sees them through to their natural conclusion. I'm sure Catalans would have gone the same way if they hadn't been such an overwhelming success. 

But certainly you're right, if IMG don't have skin in the game they absolutely should not have dictatorial power. 

I also hope you're right that having their expertise and vision on board gives clubs at all levels the confidence to be brave, and see that it's not a zero sum game. We shall see. 

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6 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

I think those are fair points Dave, although I think the launching and then scrapping of licensing show how even seemingly radical decisions have a built in rewind button in them, rather than a lock that sees them through to their natural conclusion. I'm sure Catalans would have gone the same way if they hadn't been such an overwhelming success. 

But certainly you're right, if IMG don't have skin in the game they absolutely should not have dictatorial power. 

I also hope you're right that having their expertise and vision on board gives clubs at all levels the confidence to be brave, and see that it's not a zero sum game. We shall see. 

Yes, the backtracking was clearly an issue, but I think it's possibly fair to say that the governing body bottled that, justifying it as too much admin FFS! 

Even when you hear from some of the progressive club owners we still hear support for some of the ideas that seem archaic. I don't think it's simply a case of big clubs like licensing, small clubs P&R or similar. 

I hope they can present a clear vision and get buy in. I have some hope that they are prepared to make tough decisions, I think the leadership needs to be really strong. Some of the leadership so far has just seen us go up blind alleys! 

But, it'll be interesting to watch mate, we shouldn't have too long to wait. 

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14 hours ago, Toby Chopra said:

But certainly you're right, if IMG don't have skin in the game they absolutely should not have dictatorial power.

Whilst true and I do somewhat agree the game desperately needs someone with dictatorial power to make real change. Trying to get agreement from everyone is seeing RL go nowhere.

On the Maurice Lindsay thread we see a man that made things happen, smashed through barriers and achieved a great deal for the game both domestically and internationally. Since then we have got a procession of lame ducks who are more interested in protecting their power base. This has seen the game trundle from one season to the next just accepting our lot and getting by with zero vision.

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Just now, Damien said:

Whilst true and I do somewhat agree the game desperately needs someone with dictatorial power to make real change. Trying to get agreement from everyone is seeing RL go nowhere.

On the Maurice Lindsay thread we see a man that made things happen, smashed through barriers and achieved a great deal for the game both domestically and internationally. Since then we have got a procession of lame ducks who are more interested in protecting their power base. This has seen the game trundle from one season to the next just accepting our lot and getting by with zero vision.

Let's not rewrite history and romanticise Lindsay reign. 

Richard Lewis was a far superior leader. 

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