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37 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I suspect this is one of the ways we justify the proposition we provide. We ask those who attend and then give them that, and then wonder why we are not tapping into the new populations. 

Agree with all of that, but I think this is a pertinent point in the context of what IMG are currently doing. 

A lot was made of the fan survey that IMG issued, which quite clearly was testing the water for some ideas that aren't likely to be universally popular amongst these forums - 7s / 9s and a city-based 'Hundred' style tournament. I think - and certainly hope - that survey was just one small part of their research but it does potentially create some interesting decisions for IMG depending on the output. 

Let's just say for argument sake that IMG are looking at a city-based 9s tournament. They've surveyed us passionate fans on TRL (let's call us 'Segment A') and we've universally dismissed the idea and said that we want nothing to do with it. 

But let's say that in the research, Segment B has decided that they love the idea, and would happily pay >£100 to see it at Wembley, Segment C has said that they like the sound of it, and might give it a go at £50 a ticket, and Segment D has said that they'd strongly consider it but the price would need to be right. Obviously, sample sizes come into this but should IMG dismiss the idea because Segment A don't like it, but B, C and D do and could make it profitable? 

I do think that the relationship with IMG will be a positive one, but in the same way that a parent has a relationship with their rebellious adolescent - there are going to be some challenging moments where they will want to do things that a lot of the "core" may not like. 

My view for some time is that RL is a (and forgive the wanky marketing terminology), a "product-orientated" business. We have a product, we've convinced ourselves its brilliant, and now all we have to do is sell it. It's this whole "TGG" nonsense. What RL isn't - and what it needs to be - is a (and again, forgive the marketing-speak) "customer-orientated" business. It isn't a business that identifies its audiences, understands them, and adapts what we offer to them and it's why our events all now look very dated and are sold to the same pool of people over and over again. I completely agree with you about the "family sport" thing - it worked well when football had a hooliganism problem and when kids could get their face painted before watching Bullman's parade, but what does it even mean these days? 

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5 hours ago, gingerjon said:

You're right. We should accept that we're a cheap, budget sport with a declining, elderly fanbase of moaners.

A cheap budget sport, id love it if they could set up Coldland kiosks at RL finals selling “African Wottle Biscuits” “Coldland Sticky Potato Pistols” “Coldland Extra Delicious Sticky Peas”. That is Rugby League. 

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7 hours ago, Gomersall said:

So nobody or any organisation you could actually name?

Strangely enough, I can`t remember the names of minor sports administrators from the 1970s.

What I can remember is that it became de rigueur, following an action-packed outbreak of hooliganism, for Jimmy Hill to advocate all-seater stadia as the remedy while other pundits urged Soccer clubs to replicate the North American sports event experience.

Among the players, these sentiments would surface in interviews with George Best and Rodney Marsh when they came back from the U.S. and went to Fulham in 1976. There`s a quote from Marsh when he signed with Tampa Bay Rowdies earlier that year - "Football in England had become a grey game, played on grey days by grey people".

BTW, I saw the pair of them in Fulham`s 2-1 defeat at Burnden Park. George scored their goal, and Rod graciously accepted and put over his shoulder a lady`s handbag. Gifted by a Bolton fan who ran on the pitch before the game.

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11 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Strangely enough, I can`t remember the names of minor sports administrators from the 1970s.

What I can remember is that it became de rigueur, following an action-packed outbreak of hooliganism, for Jimmy Hill to advocate all-seater stadia as the remedy while other pundits urged Soccer clubs to replicate the North American sports event experience.

Among the players, these sentiments would surface in interviews with George Best and Rodney Marsh when they came back from the U.S. and went to Fulham in 1976. There`s a quote from Marsh when he signed with Tampa Bay Rowdies earlier that year - "Football in England had become a grey game, played on grey days by grey people".

BTW, I saw the pair of them in Fulham`s 2-1 defeat at Burnden Park. George scored their goal, and Rod graciously accepted and put over his shoulder a lady`s handbag. Gifted by a Bolton fan who ran on the pitch before the game.

How many Premier League or Champions League games have you been to recently?

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11 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Notice in what way?

In the way that they would notice that their big games were being done on the cheap and wonder why.

By the way, this is what happened aside from the football at this year's FA Cup final.

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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7 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

So only part of it went Pete Tong.

 

7 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

I think ultimately the public perception of the content has to carry the event. My recollection is that Soccer became more fashionable and popular after Italia 90. Thereafter, all forms of promotion and presentation became easier.

The RFL`s primary aim should be to change the perception of RL in the UK. With that in mind, the threads on here about inarticulate commentators and general media coverage are more germane than those about GF "entertainment".

That`s not to say that the "entertainment" doesn`t sometimes make things worse when that "entertainment" aligns with the media coverage.

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21 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

The RFL`s primary aim should be to change the perception of RL in the UK. With that in mind, the threads on here about inarticulate commentators and general media coverage are more germane than those about GF "entertainment".

That`s not to say that the "entertainment" doesn`t sometimes make things worse when that "entertainment" aligns with the media coverage.

Looking forward to Mick Morgan voicing the 2023 season launch video then! 🙂

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1 hour ago, unapologetic pedant said:

So only part of it went Pete Tong.

 

I think ultimately the public perception of the content has to carry the event. My recollection is that Soccer became more fashionable and popular after Italia 90. Thereafter, all forms of promotion and presentation became easier.

The RFL`s primary aim should be to change the perception of RL in the UK. With that in mind, the threads on here about inarticulate commentators and general media coverage are more germane than those about GF "entertainment".

That`s not to say that the "entertainment" doesn`t sometimes make things worse when that "entertainment" aligns with the media coverage.

Soccer was so extreme in the 80s but one of the things that rugby league was good at, for the time, was family entertainment so that it stood apart (mostly) from what was going on at football. Italia 90, the Taylor Report, the mainstreaming of fanzine culture. and the Premier League breakaway all aligned perfectly for football.

But, it's worth repeating, when we were getting those big, family-friendly crowds for end-of-season knockabouts at Old Trafford, we were going over and above just putting on a game and expecting people to show up and watch it. We seem to have forgotten that lesson.

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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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@Tommygilf hasn`t yet given any examples of NFL presentation styles at Premier League games, but it matters not since I haven`t made any argument against them, whatever they are.

My main point was that factors like these -

1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

Italia 90, the Taylor Report, the mainstreaming of fanzine culture. and the Premier League breakaway all aligned perfectly for football.

are more relevant to the popularity of Soccer in 2022. And that no amount of off-field "entertainment" would have had any effect 40 years ago when that game was perceived to be in terminal decline.

 

1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

But, it's worth repeating, when we were getting those big, family-friendly crowds for end-of-season knockabouts at Old Trafford, we were going over and above just putting on a game and expecting people to show up and watch it. We seem to have forgotten that lesson.

I agree the presentation should fit the occasion. Just doubt that anyone would care much if the GF were guaranteed a capacity crowd every year.

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1 hour ago, unapologetic pedant said:

 

 

I agree the presentation should fit the occasion. Just doubt that anyone would care much if the GF were guaranteed a capacity crowd every year.

Many sport events that do far better than us make an effort. Fan engagement and experience has become huge for major sporting organisations and the events they stage. We seem to have backtracked on it all and have gone back to basics. 

We are seeing the results of that - both the Challenge Cup Finals and Grand Final crowds are in decline, as is Magic Weekend.

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7 minutes ago, Dave T said:

We are seeing the results of that - both the Challenge Cup Finals and Grand Final crowds are in decline, as is Magic Weekend.

How sure are you of a causal relation between inadequate off-field entertainment and lower crowds at these major events?

11 minutes ago, Dave T said:

 Fan engagement and experience 

My instinct is that failings in this broader area, day-to-day, week-to-week, are where the problems lie. Encapsulated by the RFL website - desultory, unreliable, banal, frustrating.

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6 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

How sure are you of a causal relation between inadequate off-field entertainment and lower crowds at these major events?

My instinct is that failings in this broader area, day-to-day, week-to-week, are where the problems lie. Encapsulated by the RFL website - desultory, unreliable, banal, frustrating.

It is a red-herring to just think it is entertainment. That's why I used the words I did around fan engagement and experience, and you are right, that encompasses an awful lot of activity that is nothing to do with matchdays. 

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14 hours ago, gingerjon said:

Camila Cabello had a pitch-covering show before the Champions League final, Becky Hill did the same before the Euro 2022 final. Both had additional sponsors for those performances. I already know the outline of what is happening on the pitch before the Lionesses v USA because an email with the details has been sent.

This is how Euro 2020 started. Qatar 2022 will, like every major tournament, start with an expensive opening ceremony.

Soccer fans, most of them, will be bored rigid by all that. But they would notice if the event started to look cheap and unimportant.

I remember Social Media being flooded with complaints over Camila Cabello and UEFA trying to Americanise football and turning the Champions League Final into the Super Bowl. The general opinion was that it wasn’t wanted or needed because it should only have been about the football and nothing else.

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20 minutes ago, Liverpool Rover said:

I remember Social Media being flooded with complaints over Camila Cabello and UEFA trying to Americanise football and turning the Champions League Final into the Super Bowl. The general opinion was that it wasn’t wanted or needed because it should only have been about the football and nothing else.

I suppose that argument becomes more valid when they have no trouble selling out and tickets are being sold for hundreds of pounds. In our case when the game's pinnacle is only 80% full,  with very affordable tickets, then it is only right to look at the offering. This is particularly so when this is the case for all our major events.

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15 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

In what ways?

Standardised presentation, anthem etc. Fanzones outside grounds. "The Premier League" being the brand logo as synonymous with the club's own. Masses of social media work and content (in house). Flags bells and whistles you'd see at Miami dolphins games. If you want to see the future of premier league football in this country look no further than Tottenham's ground - every new development has some reference to the "matchday experience" to it. 

The champions league is to an increased level too with pre match performances. 

People don't necessarily go for this stuff specifically. But they sure as hell would notice if it suddenly wasn't there - as everything would look much more basic.

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8 hours ago, Liverpool Rover said:

I remember Social Media being flooded with complaints over Camila Cabello and UEFA trying to Americanise football and turning the Champions League Final into the Super Bowl. The general opinion was that it wasn’t wanted or needed because it should only have been about the football and nothing else.

I agree, though perhaps she was a bad act to choose for a couple of reasons, and lets not forget how Twitter and FB have an English speaking bias. There were also huge frustrations for fans just getting in the ground too, meaning patience was at a premium.

Dua Lipa in Kyiv a few years prior received none of that backlash for example.

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9 hours ago, Dave T said:

It is a red-herring to just think it is entertainment. That's why I used the words I did around fan engagement and experience, and you are right, that encompasses an awful lot of activity that is nothing to do with matchdays. 

We used to rely on a "its not the same unless you're at the game" mantra. It is evidently wearing thin as supply is outstripping demand.

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1 minute ago, Tommygilf said:

I agree, though perhaps she was a bad act to choose for a couple of reasons, and lets not forget how Twitter and FB have an English speaking bias. There were also huge frustrations for fans just getting in the ground too, meaning patience was at a premium.

Dua Lipa in Kyiv a few years prior received none of that backlash for example.

Yes - a lot of the criticism was about the fact that kick off was delayed, “things” were obviously happening and the concert seemed a bit weird to be happening with them at backdrop.

I’m not really a fan of the bells and whistles but they’re not aimed at me. Multiple audiences for the same events is something we need to aim for.

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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 minute ago, Tommygilf said:

We used to rely on a "its not the same unless you're at the game" mantra. It is evidently wearing thin as supply is outstripping demand.

I’ve asked before: when was the last time you, or anyone you know, genuinely couldn’t get into a rugby league match they wanted to attend?

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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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10 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

I’ve asked before: when was the last time you, or anyone you know, genuinely couldn’t get into a rugby league match they wanted to attend?

Its a good point, and the answer is probably quite a while ago for a regular competitive match (not including Rob Burrow/JJB game aside). Very little FOMO.

It brings us back to the general popularity point of the sport, and the inability over the past 10/20 years to diversify audiences.

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