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England vs Samoa Series


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45 minutes ago, 17 stone giant said:

I don't disagree with the sentiments, but how are you going to do it unless radical changes are made to how things are currently done? Next year it's the Ashes in Oz, and the following year it's the WC in Oz, so we're not even sure if there will be any games in England, let alone London.

I know you're an advocate for two international windows, and I'd like that also, but what are the chances of that ever happening?

Londoners do at least have the Broncos to watch (ideally you'd want them in the highest level competition), and they also have the Challenge Cup final on their doorstep every year. Maybe there are creative ways to engage Londoners with those, rather than just relying on England matches to do it.

 

You control what you can. We've held two series here and ignored London. We had a World Cup that failed miserably in the North. 

If we were great at the things we controlled then we could complain about the Aussies. 

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1 hour ago, 17 stone giant said:

Wouldn't it just be a series of walkovers under the banner of WC qualifiers?

As opposed to walkovers that would be completely random games with zero context? In case you haven't noticed, England don't get to play many games. We've had to beg and plead for Samoa to come and play 2 games this Autumn. It's pathetic. Moreover, there's hardly any full internationals for any of the Euro nations this year. If games were organised under the banner of WC qualifiers or something like a Euro Championships, this would instantly have meaning to the wider public. I wouldn't expect for 1 second that these games would be attractive to the heartlands audience - as mentioned on this forum before, the opposition appears to be a big part of the draw for those fans, whereas in non-traditional areas it's England that is the primary draw. I know many friends, acquaintances and work colleagues who thoroughly enjoyed watching England v Scotland in the 4N at Coventry, and England v Greece in the WC at Sheffield, despite the fact that these were expected to be one-sided games that England would win comfortably. It's this wider audience that is being lost because the international scene is so poor, and the club comp just isn't going to engage them. However, I am under no illusions about the chances of something like this happening, because the RFL lacks the vision, money, resources, skills, leadership, confidence and will to try and make it happen. 

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The problem with the arguments about taking the games to London is that we are not comparing like for like.

Since 1990, we have taken 15 England or Great Britain international games to London.  One was a Federation Cup game against Tonga and so we can discount that.

Of the other 14, 9 were against Australia in various competetions or Ashes series, 4 were against New Zealand again, in various competitions, and one was the last World Cup Semi final against Samoa.

Across these 14 games, the attendances have averaged 46.4k.

But I would argue that every one of those games was high profile - either a World Cup semi final or against one of the big two in the Kangaroos or the Kiwis.

Now let's turn to Leeds.

Sinnce 1990, we have taken 19 England or Great Britain international games to Leeds and averaged 19.6k.  Of those 19 games, 2 were against New Zealand (average 23.6k) and 6 against Australia (average 35.9k).

England or Great Britain also played the Exlies in Leeds plus Fifi, France (6 times), Ireland, South Africa and Tonga.

I wonder what the attendances in London would have been if we had played the Fifi, Ireland, South Africa or Tonga games in London.

You can't take your most pretigious games to London, do well and say that London always does well for Rugby League.

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

"If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?" — Sam Harris

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8 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

The problem with the arguments about taking the games to London is that we are not comparing like for like.

Since 1990, we have taken 15 England or Great Britain international games to London.  One was a Federation Cup game against Tonga and so we can discount that.

Of the other 14, 9 were against Australia in various competetions or Ashes series, 4 were against New Zealand again, in various competitions, and one was the last World Cup Semi final against Samoa.

Across these 14 games, the attendances have averaged 46.4k.

But I would argue that every one of those games was high profile - either a World Cup semi final or against one of the big two in the Kangaroos or the Kiwis.

Now let's turn to Leeds.

Sinnce 1990, we have taken 19 England or Great Britain international games to Leeds and averaged 19.6k.  Of those 19 games, 2 were against New Zealand (average 23.6k) and 6 against Australia (average 35.9k).

England or Great Britain also played the Exlies in Leeds plus Fifi, France (6 times), Ireland, South Africa and Tonga.

I wonder what the attendances in London would have been if we had played the Fifi, Ireland, South Africa or Tonga games in London.

You can't take your most pretigious games to London, do well and say that London always does well for Rugby League.

The comparisons that I've provided have been for games against the same teams. They haven't been perfectly like for like - as you say, World Cups have the potential to be more credible. 

But I have broken down the comparisons that show within the same series London has outperformed the Northern games almost every time. 

The QPR match being the exception - and the Watford one was poor too if we count that as London. 

The evidence is that stage a game in Wigan and Leeds and London and the London one will perform best. It's impossible to argue against that tbh. 

I don't think anyone is looking at it like you've presented it. 

Edited by Dave T
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3 minutes ago, Dave T said:

The comparisons that I've provided have been for games against the same teams. They haven't been perfectly like for like - as you say, World Cups have the potential to be more credible. 

But I have broken down the comparisons that show within the same series London has outperformed the Northern games almost every time. 

The QPR match being the exception - and the Watford one was poor too if we count that as London. 

The evidence is that stage a game in Wigan and Leeds and London and the London one will perform best. It's impossible to argue against that tbh. 

I don't think anyone is looking at it like you've presented it. 

I haven't seen any comparisons you have presented. I will go back in the thread and have a look.

What do you mean by your last sentence?

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

"If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?" — Sam Harris

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4 minutes ago, Dave T said:

The comparisons that I've provided have been for games against the same teams. They haven't been perfectly like for like - as you say, World Cups have the potential to be more credible. 

But I have broken down the comparisons that show within the same series London has outperformed the Northern games almost every time. 

The QPR match being the exception - and the Watford one was poor too if we count that as London. 

The evidence is that stage a game in Wigan and Leeds and London and the London one will perform best. It's impossible to argue against that tbh. 

On top of that, the comparison isn't made between a club attendance and international attendance when held at Leeds or Wigan when held at London, this giving a better impression of attendance for the market.

Getting 12k in London is seen as positive. Getting 12k at Wigan or Leeds isn't.

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47 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I haven't seen any comparisons you have presented. I will go back in the thread and have a look.

What do you mean by your last sentence?

Re. Last line. Nobody is comparing England v NZ in a World Cup Semi Final with a game vs Exiles for example. The general analysis shows that a like for like game sees a higher crowd in London. 

There is also the added 'feature' that even in the North when we use marquee grounds we do better than standard league grounds - so it isn't just one tier. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Re. Last line. Nobody is comparing England v NZ in a World Cup Semi Final with a game vs Exiles for example. The general analysis shows that a like for like game sees a higher crowd in London. 

There is also the added 'feature' that even in the North when we use marquee grounds we do better than standard league grounds - so it isn't just one tier. 

 

I didn't compare the prestige games with the Exiles games.  My point is that we simply don't know how London would perform in pulling in fans for the lower profile games as we have never held these games there.

I think there is a perfectly valid argument to say that the likes of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji (for example) would attract more people in the games heartlands.  The sides are not traditionally a big draw but the players (both Super League and NRL) would be better known in areas where RL is stronger.

The question is will the England brand be enough to pull in crowds against these nations.  We don't know because we host the Kangaroos and Kiwis in London (plus a World Cup semi final).

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

"If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?" — Sam Harris

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55 minutes ago, Wellsy4HullFC said:

On top of that, the comparison isn't made between a club attendance and international attendance when held at Leeds or Wigan when held at London, this giving a better impression of attendance for the market.

Getting 12k in London is seen as positive. Getting 12k at Wigan or Leeds isn't.

Also worth saying, and we know this is true, that 12k at Leeds or Wigan will be almost exclusively people who have already seen a club game or several this season. They are not new people.

Whereas, that 12k in London (which would be higher than that we assume anyway) simply cannot be people who are regular watchers. There will be some from the north but add that to every Broncos fan in attendance and you will still get a sizeable chunk of people who would otherwise not be at a rugby league game.

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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, Dunbar said:

I think there is a perfectly valid argument to say that the likes of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji (for example) would attract more people in the games heartlands.  The sides are not traditionally a big draw but the players (both Super League and NRL) would be better known in areas where RL is stronger.

  • 12,898
  • 11,210
  • 15,477

Numbers so poor we're playing one game fewer this season.

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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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12 minutes ago, gingerjon said:
  • 12,898
  • 11,210
  • 15,477

Numbers so poor we're playing one game fewer this season.

I don't understand the relevance of this post, we all know what happened last year.

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

"If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?" — Sam Harris

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17 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

...

My point is that we simply don't know how London would perform in pulling in fans for the lower profile games as we have never held these games there.

...

But that was the position the RFL were in with NZ in 1993. A lower profile touring nation that had been attracting 10-15k crowds (where we are now with Tonga, and possibly will be with Samoa) were given a first test at Wembley and pulled in 36k - more than the second and third test crowds combined, which reverted to type in the North. Oh for that little bit of confidence among our leaders now.

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15 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I don't understand the relevance of this post, we all know what happened last year.

Yes, we could test the whole 'heartland fans turning out for players they heard of playing for Tonga, Fiji or Samoa' thing.

It was so badly received that we're having two games instead of three this year.

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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12 minutes ago, Archie Gordon said:

But that was the position the RFL were in with NZ in 1993. A lower profile touring nation that had been attracting 10-15k crowds (where we are now with Tonga, and possibly will be with Samoa) were given a first test at Wembley and pulled in 36k - more than the second and third test crowds combined, which reverted to type in the North. Oh for that little bit of confidence among our leaders now.

I'm not sure that I can agree that New Zealand were a lower profile touring nation.  Yes, lower than the Kangaroos in Rugby League terms perhaps but New Zealand have always been a significant player in Rugby League.  I cannot see how they can be described as lower profile.  In 'rugby' as a whole, New Zealand is probably the biggest name of all.

And while that Wembley crowd was higher than the recent games, your description of the state of affaris is a little disingenuous as only one of the previous five international between Great Britain and New Zealand in the UK were below 15k and two were above 20k.

Anyway.

I would be delighted if we put on a 3 test series against Tonga, hosted one in London and got 30k plus.

All I am saying is that crowds achieved in London to date do not in themselves justify that as we always take the prestigious games there and we simply do not know how a game against a lesser known nation would play out.  I would be happy to see us try (I wonder what the reaction on these pages would be if we did take a Tonga game to London and got ~5k... I expect the RFL would be criticised for that as well).

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

"If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?" — Sam Harris

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3 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

we simply do not know how a game against a lesser known nation would play out

Taking a game against France (or even Tonga or Samoa) to London really shouldn't be seen as some sort of massive risk. Unfortunately, the hole that the RFL have got themselves into would suggest that they really do not have a pot to piddle in, and seemingly they lack the confidence in their product (and/or their ability to sell it) to even try something relatively small like this. So they try and play it safe like they did last year with Tonga, and end up with crappy attendances anyway. It's like England cricket trying to bat out a draw only to get skittled out before tea. Result is we're now playing 2 games against Samoa this year instead of 3, and it could feasibly be 2027 before England plays any home internationals again.

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23 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

Yes, we could test the whole 'heartland fans turning out for players they heard of playing for Tonga, Fiji or Samoa' thing.

It was so badly received that we're having two games instead of three this year.

I am not sure you are discussing this in good faith.

Yes, we had poor crowds for the games last year.  We know that.

We also know that heartland Rugby League fans are much more likely to know the players who are in the NRL (we have seen with Google analytics that NRL searches are mush more prevelant from the heartlands than the South / London area).

So, would England in and of itself be a big enough draw to outweigh the fact the opposition is a lower tier in London as opposed the heartlands where the players may be better known.

I don't know - all I am saying is you cannot assume London will atttact big crowds when it has attracted crowds for bigger/higher profile games.

You can quote last year's series all you want, I am discussing something else.

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

"If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?" — Sam Harris

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3 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

...

And while that Wembley crowd was higher than the recent games, your description of the state of affaris is a little disingenuous as only one of the previous five international between Great Britain and New Zealand in the UK were below 15k and two were above 20k.

Anyway.

I would be delighted if we put on a 3 test series against Tonga, hosted one in London and got 30k plus.

...

You're right that 15-20k would be a fairer description of the status quo ante. But 10-15k during the 1980s would still be fair for the crowds achieved for the tests at 'club' grounds. And that is where we seem to be now.

It seems fairly predictable (to me anyway) that if we play tests at SL club grounds we get a moderate base attendance. Hold the game at a 40k+ stadium in the North, we get 1.5x the base and hold the game at a 40k+ stadium in London and we get 2x the base. 

So, if we'd played a test against Tonga at a medium/large stadium in London last year, anything deviating from ~25-30k would have been odd.

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3 minutes ago, Archie Gordon said:

You're right that 15-20k would be a fairer description of the status quo ante. But 10-15k during the 1980s would still be fair for the crowds achieved for the tests at 'club' grounds. And that is where we seem to be now.

It seems fairly predictable (to me anyway) that if we play tests at SL club grounds we get a moderate base attendance. Hold the game at a 40k+ stadium in the North, we get 1.5x the base and hold the game at a 40k+ stadium in London and we get 2x the base. 

So, if we'd played a test against Tonga at a medium/large stadium in London last year, anything deviating from ~25-30k would have been odd.

You may well be right.

But I personally believe that the diminishing returns from moving from tier 1 (Kangaroos and Kiwis) to tier 2, Tonga and Samoa, may be more dramatic than you think outside the heartlands.

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

"If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?" — Sam Harris

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3 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

You can quote last year's series all you want, I am discussing something else.

I don't think you can ignore last year's series though. They had an opportunity to take a game to London, but instead chose to play 2 games within 20 miles of each other on consecutive weeks, and consequently were rewarded with a poor crowd at Huddersfield. Now if - and I appreciate where the RFL are concerned, this is a massive 'if' - they'd actually taken a risk and booked some sort of stadium in London (e.g. Brentford, Fulham, or possibly even bigger) and actually tried to market and publicise the event, would they seen a better result than they did at Huddersfield? The problem is that they don't have the confidence or money to even take what would be a relatively minor risk like this.

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2 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

You may well be right.

But I personally believe that the diminishing returns from moving from tier 1 (Kangaroos and Kiwis) to tier 2, Tonga and Samoa, may be more dramatic than you think outside the heartlands.

But you're operating under the assumption that the opposition is the primary draw. My belief (borne out of purely anecdotal evidence - nothing scientific whatsoever) is that England are the primary draw outside of the heartlands. Don't underestimate how many people are more than happy to watch their national team thrashing somebody. 

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4 hours ago, 17 stone giant said:

Londoners do at least have the Broncos to watch (ideally you'd want them in the highest level competition), and they also have the Challenge Cup final on their doorstep every year. Maybe there are creative ways to engage Londoners with those, rather than just relying on England matches to do it.

 

Londoners do not want to go and watch a team th at loses by 30/40 every week. They have too much choice for other things to do then waste it watching the Broncos. 

And again, RL has shrunk so much it seems that people in London aren't that interested in seeing two random Northern towns play against eachother in Wembley.

RL has a vehicle to promote itself, and that is internationals, just like every other sport does in the UK. 

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Just now, Click said:

Londoners do not want to go and watch a team th at loses by 30/40 every week. They have too much choice for other things to do then waste it watching the Broncos. 

And again, RL has shrunk so much it seems that people in London aren't that interested in seeing two random Northern towns play against eachother in Wembley.

RL has a vehicle to promote itself, and that is internationals, just like every other sport does in the UK. 

Yeah I don't know why as a sport we expect our club game to buck the trend of every other sport in the UK bar football.

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8 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

But you're operating under the assumption that the opposition is the primary draw. My belief (borne out of purely anecdotal evidence - nothing scientific whatsoever) is that England are the primary draw outside of the heartlands. Don't underestimate how many people are more than happy to watch their national team thrashing somebody. 

I have not made that assumption at all.... I said just a few posts up "would England in and of itself be a big enough draw to outweigh the fact the opposition is a lower".

I just don't know what the balance in the equation is here.

You could be right.

Edited by Dunbar

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

"If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?" — Sam Harris

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5 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I have not made that assumption at all.... I said just a few posts up "would England in and of itself be a big enough draw to outweigh the fact the opposition is a lower".

I just don't know what the balance in the equation is here.

You could be right.

Like I say, I'm just operating on a hunch, but having spoken to people who attended Eng v Greece at Sheffield and Eng v Scotland at Coventry, they didn't give a monkeys about the opposition. The Eng v Scot game was the curtain raiser to the 'big' game between Aus and NZ, but they had zero interest in that second game whatsoever.

Rugby league fans outside the heartlands will know the difference between somebody like NZ and France, and that may or may not impact the numbers of those fans attending. But the wider public neither knows nor cares - they just want to see the national team in action. The profile of the competition may have an impact - i.e. a world cup is obviously higher profile than a friendly - but it is completely within the RFL's power to create a meaningful competition that games could be a part of. For example, WC qualifiers and a European Championships would be instantly more meaningful and easy for the wider public to understand than an isolated one-off friendly.

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1 hour ago, Dunbar said:

I didn't compare the prestige games with the Exiles games.  My point is that we simply don't know how London would perform in pulling in fans for the lower profile games as we have never held these games there.

I think there is a perfectly valid argument to say that the likes of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji (for example) would attract more people in the games heartlands.  The sides are not traditionally a big draw but the players (both Super League and NRL) would be better known in areas where RL is stronger.

The question is will the England brand be enough to pull in crowds against these nations.  We don't know because we host the Kangaroos and Kiwis in London (plus a World Cup semi final).

You're right, we don't have actual evidence of those specific games. But everything we have done does indicate that equivalent games would lead to higher crowds in London. 

There absolutely could be quirks that mean that London does onky over-performed because of the Kiwi/Aus connection, but that's something that we'll only know if we actually do it. 

I think if we were getting 25k in the Heartlands, I could understand the reluctance to move, but when some England games we stage get less than 10k, or 11k for Tonga, it does almost feel like it's negligent to not even try. 

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