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IMG President Podcast


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Popped up on Twitter that the IMG President Adam Kelly was being interviewed on a sports business podcast. Main takeaways:

  • Speaking of other sports doing behind the scenes series (speaking of drive to survive and the new Arsenal documentary rather than in an RL context) he likes them and thinks they have a role to play but they're not a magic bullet. Mentions that he feels the strength in those shows is that they focus on a sport or athlete who is well recognised and gives a view behind the curtain and it might not be suitable for a sport where the athletes are not well known (mentions triathlon as an example and says other things for them are higher priority).
  • Feels the partnership with RL is part of the new era of IMG, part of repositioning the company with a view to longer term projects using a broader set of capabilities (i.e. all key services a sport needs for growth)
  • Focus with RL is maximising long term growth which involves, building better/deeper relationships with fans, attracting new audiences
  • Ground up approach involving re-structuring competitions
  • Re-imagining how content is produced
  • Mentions a "light-bulb" moment for IMG recently when looking at how sports outsource content production (i.e. live matches) and give that broadcaster responsibility which can lead to misaligned objectives and incentives (for me this hints at in-house production or at least having greater say in what Sky & C4 produce)
  • Mentions digital transformation projects & audience data
  • Maximise streaming and data driven content development
  • Seems RL is the test base for a new IMG strategy that offers this holistic package where they can use their business units (such as 7League/160over90/Endeavour streaming who they've acquired) to do everything and not have to outsource anything to anyone else (although RFL are not necessarily tied into using these he thinks they make a compelling case as a package)
  • Builds on the same approach with was used with Euro league Basketball & Table Tennis
  • The only investment is in use of IMG's resources, feels RL was right to turn down private equity as cash wouldn't solve the sports issues (mentions expertise, network support & guidance as what was needed). Doesn't seem a fan of private equity
  • Mentions sports trying to do too much in house and not being able to attract the required expertise to make it work. That's where IMG step in
  • Had received a brief on the morning of the podcast recording and says he feels their team have put together plans that will fire improvement in the sport
  • Not specifically RL related, but was asked about RU and mentioned that he'd met with the Six Nations leaders and found that they individually believed their competition was another Union or another part of Rugby rather than a broader battle for attention versus Netflix/video games/live entertainment etc.
  • Points to Boxing and misalignment and disagreement over competition within a historically massive sport and how that contrasts with UFC which has seen huge recent growth
  • Feels RL has a passionate following that has been underserved and underutilised
  • Mentioned a couple of times getting fundamentals correct and "introducing a framework that will allow investment at the team level" 
  • Seems to be about giving owners confidence that if they invest in their clubs they can build the clubs as capital assets rather than a black hole for cash
  • Dodged a question over the geography of the sport, the presenter asked him whether he himself was a target audience as someone in the south of England who only knew RL from Grandstand, swerved that one
  • Not planning on a slow start, they're committing to a lot of up front resource and want to set the foundations for growth now to unfold over 12 years
  • Mentions they doubled the revenues of Euro League basketball in 18 months by doing the "right things simultaneously"

Unofficial Partner Podcast

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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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20 minutes ago, DI Keith Fowler said:

Popped up on Twitter that the IMG President Adam Kelly was being interviewed on a sports business podcast. Main takeaways:

  • Speaking of other sports doing behind the scenes series (speaking of drive to survive and the new Arsenal documentary rather than in an RL context) he likes them and thinks they have a role to play but they're not a magic bullet. Mentions that he feels the strength in those shows is that they focus on a sport or athlete who is well recognised and gives a view behind the curtain and it might not be suitable for a sport where the athletes are not well known (mentions triathlon as an example and says other things for them are higher priority).
  • Feels the partnership with RL is part of the new era of IMG, part of repositioning the company with a view to longer term projects using a broader set of capabilities (i.e. all key services a sport needs for growth)
  • Focus with RL is maximising long term growth which involves, building better/deeper relationships with fans, attracting new audiences
  • Ground up approach involving re-structuring competitions
  • Re-imagining how content is produced
  • Mentions a "light-bulb" moment for IMG recently when looking at how sports outsource content production (i.e. live matches) and give that broadcaster responsibility which can lead to misaligned objectives and incentives (for me this hints at in-house production or at least having greater say in what Sky & C4 produce)
  • Mentions digital transformation projects & audience data
  • Maximise streaming and data driven content development
  • Seems RL is the test base for a new IMG strategy that offers this holistic package where they can use their business units (such as 7League/160over90/Endeavour streaming who they've acquired) to do everything and not have to outsource anything to anyone else (although RFL are not necessarily tied into using these he thinks they make a compelling case as a package)
  • Builds on the same approach with was used with Euro league Basketball & Table Tennis
  • The only investment is in use of IMG's resources, feels RL was right to turn down private equity as cash wouldn't solve the sports issues (mentions expertise, network support & guidance as what was needed). Doesn't seem a fan of private equity
  • Mentions sports trying to do too much in house and not being able to attract the required expertise to make it work. That's where IMG step in
  • Had received a brief on the morning of the podcast recording and says he feels their team have put together plans that will fire improvement in the sport
  • Not specifically RL related, but was asked about RU and mentioned that he'd met with the Six Nations leaders and found that they individually believed their competition was another Union or another part of Rugby rather than a broader battle for attention versus Netflix/video games/live entertainment etc.
  • Points to Boxing and misalignment and disagreement over competition within a historically massive sport and how that contrasts with UFC which has seen huge recent growth
  • Feels RL has a passionate following that has been underserved and underutilised
  • Mentioned a couple of times getting fundamentals correct and "introducing a framework that will allow investment at the team level" 
  • Seems to be about giving owners confidence that if they invest in their clubs they can build the clubs as capital assets rather than a black hole for cash
  • Dodged a question over the geography of the sport, the presenter asked him whether he himself was a target audience as someone in the south of England who only knew RL from Grandstand, swerved that one
  • Not planning on a slow start, they're committing to a lot of up front resource and want to set the foundations for growth now to unfold over 12 years
  • Mentions they doubled the revenues of Euro League basketball in 18 months by doing the "right things simultaneously"

Unofficial Partner Podcast

Thanks for this.

Something for everyone to nod at approvingly, and something for everyone to furrow their brows in angst.

They really do understand the RL market.

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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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That is very interesting.

Thank you for sharing that DI Keith Fowler.

I can't wait for their plans to unfold.

I hope the game can finally take it's rightful place. 

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7 hours ago, DI Keith Fowler said:

Popped up on Twitter that the IMG President Adam Kelly was being interviewed on a sports business podcast. Main takeaways:

  • Speaking of other sports doing behind the scenes series (speaking of drive to survive and the new Arsenal documentary rather than in an RL context) he likes them and thinks they have a role to play but they're not a magic bullet. Mentions that he feels the strength in those shows is that they focus on a sport or athlete who is well recognised and gives a view behind the curtain and it might not be suitable for a sport where the athletes are not well known (mentions triathlon as an example and says other things for them are higher priority).
  • Feels the partnership with RL is part of the new era of IMG, part of repositioning the company with a view to longer term projects using a broader set of capabilities (i.e. all key services a sport needs for growth)
  • Focus with RL is maximising long term growth which involves, building better/deeper relationships with fans, attracting new audiences
  • Ground up approach involving re-structuring competitions
  • Re-imagining how content is produced
  • Mentions a "light-bulb" moment for IMG recently when looking at how sports outsource content production (i.e. live matches) and give that broadcaster responsibility which can lead to misaligned objectives and incentives (for me this hints at in-house production or at least having greater say in what Sky & C4 produce)
  • Mentions digital transformation projects & audience data
  • Maximise streaming and data driven content development
  • Seems RL is the test base for a new IMG strategy that offers this holistic package where they can use their business units (such as 7League/160over90/Endeavour streaming who they've acquired) to do everything and not have to outsource anything to anyone else (although RFL are not necessarily tied into using these he thinks they make a compelling case as a package)
  • Builds on the same approach with was used with Euro league Basketball & Table Tennis
  • The only investment is in use of IMG's resources, feels RL was right to turn down private equity as cash wouldn't solve the sports issues (mentions expertise, network support & guidance as what was needed). Doesn't seem a fan of private equity
  • Mentions sports trying to do too much in house and not being able to attract the required expertise to make it work. That's where IMG step in
  • Had received a brief on the morning of the podcast recording and says he feels their team have put together plans that will fire improvement in the sport
  • Not specifically RL related, but was asked about RU and mentioned that he'd met with the Six Nations leaders and found that they individually believed their competition was another Union or another part of Rugby rather than a broader battle for attention versus Netflix/video games/live entertainment etc.
  • Points to Boxing and misalignment and disagreement over competition within a historically massive sport and how that contrasts with UFC which has seen huge recent growth
  • Feels RL has a passionate following that has been underserved and underutilised
  • Mentioned a couple of times getting fundamentals correct and "introducing a framework that will allow investment at the team level" 
  • Seems to be about giving owners confidence that if they invest in their clubs they can build the clubs as capital assets rather than a black hole for cash
  • Dodged a question over the geography of the sport, the presenter asked him whether he himself was a target audience as someone in the south of England who only knew RL from Grandstand, swerved that one
  • Not planning on a slow start, they're committing to a lot of up front resource and want to set the foundations for growth now to unfold over 12 years
  • Mentions they doubled the revenues of Euro League basketball in 18 months by doing the "right things simultaneously"

Unofficial Partner Podcast

Two take aways:

1. IMG know their stuff

2. Dodged a bullet with private equity (RU has not)

 

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10 minutes ago, Pie tries said:

2. Dodged a bullet with private equity (RU has not)

Indeed.

A more petty man than me would be going back over all the previous threads to see which posters were insistent we should take it without thinking.

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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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25 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

 "introducing a framework that will allow investment at the team level"  

= licensing/franchising of some sort, surely? 

maybe some change to the salary cap. 

 

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51 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

 "introducing a framework that will allow investment at the team level"  

= licensing/franchising of some sort, surely? 

It would seem so, perhaps with an initial buy in figure.

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1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

Indeed.

A more petty man than me would be going back over all the previous threads to see which posters were insistent we should take it without thinking.

Currently trying to find those threads

Edited by The Daddy
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2 hours ago, Toby Chopra said:

 "introducing a framework that will allow investment at the team level"  

= licensing/franchising of some sort, surely? 

I wouldn't necessarily see it as that, can't rule it out but I went back and re-listened to that part because it piqued my interest. I think it's more to do with the next point he made which was providing a structure where clubs can become capital assets rather than liabilities.

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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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10 hours ago, DI Keith Fowler said:

Mentions a "light-bulb" moment for IMG recently when looking at how sports outsource content production (i.e. live matches) and give that broadcaster responsibility which can lead to misaligned objectives and incentives (for me this hints at in-house production or at least having greater say in what Sky & C4 produce)

This is interesting. Given IMG produce Channel 4's league coverage, I'd hazard a guess that the "light-bulb moment" might have something to do with fan feedback and comparisons with Sky.

Centralised production is probably suited to a sport like ours where we are positioned to complement the big names of football and cricket. Sky buy SL rights to fill out their service and retain subscriptions; if they can do so without the overheads associated with production then that must be a commercially attractive option for them.

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7 minutes ago, DI Keith Fowler said:

I wouldn't necessarily see it as that, can't rule it out but I went back and re-listened to that part because it piqued my interest. I think it's more to do with the next point he made which was providing a structure where clubs can become capital assets rather than liabilities.

The current set up is 12 sides with their hands out each year for a share of money, which they believe they contribute equally to the generation of. 

I suspect that if you put all 12 current SL sides (i'll include Leigh in this) up for sale, you'd get interest in maybe half of them and a fair price for maybe 4 or 5, with the rest seen as unviable. 

I see IMG's goal as to ensuring that as quickly as possible, they have a broad range of suitors looking to buy into this new era and investors offering over the odds to buy clubs and get involved.

Whether this will feature clubs such as Wakefield or Leigh, or if it requires clubs like London or Newcastle remains to be seen, but the "American" model that IMG use in Euro-Basketball points to some form of licencing and a licence costing money.

I see 2 things in the near future. 1 will be local government authorities being asked to "bid" or "back bids" to have a team on the basis that having a team will bring in "tourist revenue" and I also see clubs that own their own stadiums as being a large part of this, because it is very difficult to make money when 1/3rd of your ticket revenue is going on rent and you don't make coin from beer and pie sales. in both cases, I see fan engagement as the key to any IMG proposals, because with increased fans, you increase immediate revenues. increase public interest, increase sponsorship opportunities and increase the desire for people to watch the sport.

I just hope that the SL clubs are ready to roll up their sleeves and work hard to attract new fans rather than fleece the existing ones which has been the procedure for the last 2 decades.

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2 hours ago, gingerjon said:

Indeed.

A more petty man than me would be going back over all the previous threads to see which posters were insistent we should take it without thinking.

Here's one anyway but there's been a few:

 

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9 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

I concur with the suggestions that IMG is likely to seek to increase the value of the TV rights by reducing the cost of production. 

The IMG chap also mentions licensing was mishandled last time. A hint? 

If a hint is something that is in sixty foot tall neon letters then, yes, a hint.

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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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11 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

The IMG chap also mentions licensing was mishandled last time. A hint? 

In fairness, that's true. The old licencing system measured the wrong things and encouraged the wrong behaviours (eg, mass discounting of tickets to hit an "average attendance" KPI). 

People argue "we tried licencing and it didn't work", ignoring that just because the one version of licencing we had didn't work, it doesn't mean that any version of licencing can't work. 

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12 hours ago, Londonbornirishbred said:

I see IMG's goal as to ensuring that as quickly as possible, they have a broad range of suitors looking to buy into this new era and investors offering over the odds to buy clubs and get involved

Do they? and if they do what if the current owners do not wish to sell, maybe they take those 4 or 5 clubs who are saleable and set up their own mini league.

Then we come back to brand new entities in Big UK cities starting of from scratch, good luck with that one.

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38 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

In fairness, that's true. The old licencing system measured the wrong things and encouraged the wrong behaviours (eg, mass discounting of tickets to hit an "average attendance" KPI). 

People argue "we tried licencing and it didn't work", ignoring that just because the one version of licencing we had didn't work, it doesn't mean that any version of licencing can't work. 

Any kind of licencing won't work for the professional game as a whole Michael.

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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

In fairness, that's true. The old licencing system measured the wrong things and encouraged the wrong behaviours (eg, mass discounting of tickets to hit an "average attendance" KPI). 

People argue "we tried licencing and it didn't work", ignoring that just because the one version of licencing we had didn't work, it doesn't mean that any version of licencing can't work. 

Even with the criteria they had, it could work, and criteria can always be developed over time. The real challenge was the way they hamstrung themselves with a commitment that they would definitely promote a club - that completely undermined the process - how can you make that commitment if nobody meets the standards?

For me, that was the single decision on licensing that undermined the whole thing.

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53 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Any kind of licencing won't work for the professional game as a whole Michael.

In the context of the professional game as it currently looks? Perhaps not. But there are "closed shop" competitions where a supporting infrastructure exists beneath it. 

It undoubtedly involves some difficult and unpopular decisions that I'm certainly glad I'm not making, but there is a grown-up and objective debate needed here. The current model of P&R isn't optimal to achieve what IMG appear to be suggesting they want to achieve, and there are very real questions over whether using central funding to prop-up a professional game below SL really is generating a return on investment. 

Like I say, I'm glad it's not my call to make. 

29 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Even with the criteria they had, it could work, and criteria can always be developed over time. The real challenge was the way they hamstrung themselves with a commitment that they would definitely promote a club - that completely undermined the process - how can you make that commitment if nobody meets the standards?

For me, that was the single decision on licensing that undermined the whole thing.

True. I think there was a huge own goal there and they were only really (and only partly) saved the embarassment by Crusaders going to the wall when the renewals came up. 

I do think the KPIs and criteria were poorly thought out and without banging on this one particular one, I think the game is still suffering from that period of encouraging mass-discounts to this day. 

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16 hours ago, gingerjon said:

Indeed.

A more petty man than me would be going back over all the previous threads to see which posters were insistent we should take it without thinking.

Wasps just filed for Administration with £35 Million debt

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