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Vegas Again/2025 and WCC


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15 hours ago, Martyn Sadler said:

Absolutely right.

The combination of the NRL as a sport needing to be sold with the Americans' expertise in marketing was always likely to give a great outcome.

One thing that the NRL is doing, it seems to me, which the FA Premier League managed to do some years ago, is extend the demographic that is interested in the game. Football managed to seduce the middle classes while not alienating its existing working class support. I think we can see the same process at work in Oz. The visuals of the Vegas trip will hopefully help break down more resistance in Australia against the NRL.

The other point worth making about the whole event is that it's a nonsense to suggest that America will be instantly won over. Those people who are complaining that the New York Times didn't run the game as its front page lead story on Monday and that the game wasn't the lead topic on all the radio shows on Monday morning don't seem to understand that even engaging 0.1% of Americans would give the NRL a solid base from which to develop future income streams.

I was also interested to read that the President of the 49ers has said he might be interested in investing in an NRL team after seeing Sunday's event.

Part of the reward for taking risks comprises the unanticipated benefits from the venture.

And just to give an example of this, in 1999, when Wakefield Trinity took a Super League game against St Helens to Barnsley's Oakwell ground, there was a young teenager in the stadium watching his first Rugby League match (so I understand).

His name was Matthew Ellis. 25 years later he runs a £100 million company and he owns the club.

Who knows whether he would have done if that game hadn't gone to Barnsley all those years ago.

There is talk about doing away with the magic weekend and replacing it with games on the road. Perhaps if they do Wakefield could play another game in Barnsley, and Catalans play another game in Barcelona, and perhaps we could play games Edinburgh, Glasgow, and midland cities.

I know it's be tried before and perhaps it's time to try again. Just saying.

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1 hour ago, The Future is League said:

There is talk about doing away with the magic weekend and replacing it with games on the road. Perhaps if they do Wakefield could play another game in Barnsley, and Catalans play another game in Barcelona, and perhaps we could play games Edinburgh, Glasgow, and midland cities.

I know it's be tried before and perhaps it's time to try again. Just saying.

Back in 1998, when we first had games on the road, it was me who originally proposed the idea to Gary Hetherington, who was then a key member of Super League (Europe).

The cancellation of the World Club Challenge after its farcical operation in 1997 had left a gap in the fixture programme and Gary telephoned me and asked what I thought could fill it. So I proposed games 'on the road' to try to expand our audience.

I remember going to a game between Halifax and Sheffield in Northampton, for example.

But like many things in Rugby League it didn't last.

I would be very happy to see the concept return.

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4 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

Great analogy. I can’t wait to tell the next infidel that RU is like playing Dungeons & Dragons 😂 

You’re welcome. I’m telling you mate, they can’t even play the game without a Dungeon Master on the pitch telling them his interpretation of events, and what they’re allowed to do next.

It’s the lonely nerd version of rugby. 🤣

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10 minutes ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

Those US TV figures for the Vegas event are grim.

For the timeslot, I don’t think they’re that bad actually.

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4 minutes ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

Those US TV figures for the Vegas event are grim.

They would be grim if they were prime time figures.

But, to put them into context, 61,000 for a game kicking off at 9.30pm EST (and which only transferred to Fox Sports 1 after 17 minutes) and 44,000 for a game starting at 11.30 EST may or may not be below the average figures for sport that commences at those times.

That is the key test, although obviously the NRL would like the figures to be as high as possible.

If the NRL is going to do a deal for regular coverage by Fox Sports, it needs to select a game each week that would kick off at a suitable time for a strong broadcast slot on the eastern seaboard of America.

Ideally it would be a game that would be likely to have a full stadium.

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18 hours ago, stookie said:

As Martyn said, he is the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, a well respected paper in Aus. Paid for trip or not, there's no way he would risk his reputation writing a puff piece.

Is there anything specifically you disagree with?

Was actually a feature piece in the SMH : https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/kudos-to-the-nrl-v-landys-and-abdo-for-having-the-guts-to-try-something-big-20240303-p5f9bo.html

Hidden behind a paywall.

I think I've said the NRL have played a blinder for the Aussie audience.

But I guess we'll know if it's hit Martyn's new set of criteria if someone buys an already existing team in 25 years.

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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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7 hours ago, Dave T said:

Apparently 40k and 60k viewers on FS1 in the US for these games. 

Given the timings, those are pretty decent. Like the in-person attendance though: low enough to wonder what wrong but high enough to see potential and success if you want to.

Interesting that the later game rated higher - presumably nearer a prime time slot for the west coast?

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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31 minutes ago, Martyn Sadler said:

I remember going to a game between Halifax and Sheffield in Northampton, for example.

Relive those happy times:

3,087 there, apparently. 

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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I could read this one - not blocked by a paywall this time. This is interesting:

"US bookmakers such as Fanduel do not currently pay product fees to US sports including the NFL and NBA."

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/nrl-s-las-vegas-matches-struggle-to-win-over-american-viewers-20240306-p5fa8g.html

(To note: I disagree with its assessment of the TV figures, I think they're pretty good for a niche sport at an odd time. Not enough to generate millions in revenue but enough to be worthy of a regular spot in the schedule)

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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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4 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

I could read this one - not blocked by a paywall this time. This is interesting:

"US bookmakers such as Fanduel do not currently pay product fees to US sports including the NFL and NBA."

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/nrl-s-las-vegas-matches-struggle-to-win-over-american-viewers-20240306-p5fa8g.html

(To note: I disagree with its assessment of the TV figures, I think they're pretty good for a niche sport at an odd time. Not enough to generate millions in revenue but enough to be worthy of a regular spot in the schedule)

It is interesting to see PVL once again saying that he hopes this Vegas thing brings in hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years. 

I have no issue with the NRL spending some of their many millions profit on nothing more than a vanity project. I think it's fine having the objective of being a bit of a speculator - can they get some US eyeballs on the product to drive TV, gambling, sponsor and investor value, can they give their season launch a boost in Oz, can they give their fans something to enjoy, create a buzz? 

But it does appear to be difficult to see how hundreds of millions of quid is coming. 

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Part of my job is to run operations for a global schedule of events.  When multiple time zones are included in the same event, there has to be compromise and nearly always there is a 'priority' zone, the one that needs to be accommodated and the others will have to manage.

Sydney and Las Vegas are 19 hours apart but realistically that means they are only 5 hours apart (although different days).

The key question with the US start time of the games is; where they that time as that was the only slot they could get on US Fox (as the channel had other priorities) or where they US time as to not compromise the Australian audience... which could easily have seen the game earlier on the Sunday but would probably have knocked off quite a few from the audience and the season launch.

The answer is of course, as always, a bit of everything.  But it shows that the NRL are dipping their toes in and not diving in to the US market as the domestic audience was still their priority.  I don't think that is a bad thing but the US audience figures reflect that more conservative approach.

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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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15 minutes ago, Dave T said:

It is interesting to see PVL once again saying that he hopes this Vegas thing brings in hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years. 

I have no issue with the NRL spending some of their many millions profit on nothing more than a vanity project. I think it's fine having the objective of being a bit of a speculator - can they get some US eyeballs on the product to drive TV, gambling, sponsor and investor value, can they give their season launch a boost in Oz, can they give their fans something to enjoy, create a buzz? 

But it does appear to be difficult to see how hundreds of millions of quid is coming. 

It does to me too.

Buy maybe that's why PVL runs the NRL and we don't.

He isn't going to die wondering.

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1 hour ago, Martyn Sadler said:

They would be grim if they were prime time figures.

But, to put them into context, 61,000 for a game kicking off at 9.30pm EST (and which only transferred to Fox Sports 1 after 17 minutes) and 44,000 for a game starting at 11.30 EST may or may not be below the average figures for sport that commences at those times.

That is the key test, although obviously the NRL would like the figures to be as high as possible.

If the NRL is going to do a deal for regular coverage by Fox Sports, it needs to select a game each week that would kick off at a suitable time for a strong broadcast slot on the eastern seaboard of America.

Ideally it would be a game that would be likely to have a full stadium.

These are fair points.

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1 hour ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

Those US TV figures for the Vegas event are grim.

As V`landys has said ad nauseam, we`ll look at the results across the board from this year and work out what and how we can improve them next year.

I dare say there will be a lot of thought being put into improving those television viewing figures over the next period.

Television viewing figures which I thought, like the whole week, were a pretty good foundation to build off.

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26 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Part of my job is to run operations for a global schedule of events.  When multiple time zones are included in the same event, there has to be compromise and nearly always there is a 'priority' zone, the one that needs to be accommodated and the others will have to manage.

Sydney and Las Vegas are 19 hours apart but realistically that means they are only 5 hours apart (although different days).

The key question with the US start time of the games is; where they that time as that was the only slot they could get on US Fox (as the channel had other priorities) or where they US time as to not compromise the Australian audience... which could easily have seen the game earlier on the Sunday but would probably have knocked off quite a few from the audience and the season launch.

The answer is of course, as always, a bit of everything.  But it shows that the NRL are dipping their toes in and not diving in to the US market as the domestic audience was still their priority.  I don't think that is a bad thing but the US audience figures reflect that more conservative approach.

Are there any monetary values of international tv deals that can be used as a benchmark for RL? 

It's a similar conversation to some of the TWP stuff, where people claimed we could get x% of the market it'd be worth £xxm's per year. But in reality, Fox in the US can probably pick these rights up for a pittance. 

Is there a precedent here for international sports earning money from traditional tv deals from American broadcasters? 

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40 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I have no issue with the NRL spending some of their many millions profit on nothing more than a vanity project. I think it's fine having the objective of being a bit of a speculator

Quite.

My hunch is that Vegas is not as locked in for next year as the announcements state, hence needing to talk it up. It will be back though - but I think we'll see it become even more a celebration of Australia/NRL, those 'worked' and got the numbers in Oz, which is where the money is for the NRL, and even less being bothered about even pretending to engage with domestic US rugby league.

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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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Some comments from the NRL


https://amp.nine.com.au/article/595275bd-3359-4d96-95f2-50af12971c1c

“We had a 61,000 average viewership on Fox Sports 1 for the first game, which was more than one third of the marquee college basketball clash between Xavier and Georgetown which preceded our games. That figure also compares to some US Major League Soccer games on Fox Sports 1," NRL boss Andrew Abdo said.

"The second game attracted an average audience of 44,000. These are the two most watched NRL matches in the US on record.

"The audience of the first game was three times higher than the most watched NRL games on Fox Sports in the past three seasons and over 280 per cent higher than the most recent Saturday games on Fox Sports 1.”

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32 minutes ago, Copa said:

The college basketball game that went into overtime and caused the NRL to be briefly bumped to FS2 rated  162,000 ( see Xavier v Georgetown https://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2024/03/saturday-3-3-sports-ratings-lakers-nuggets-college-basketball-pga-liv-f1-nascar/ )

I think this puts the NRL figures into context somewhat. This college game and the poorer timeslot for the NRL games shows the NRL figures in a pretty respectable light I think.

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11 minutes ago, Damien said:

I think this puts the NRL figures into context somewhat. This college game and the poorer timeslot for the NRL games shows the NRL figures in a pretty respectable light I think.

This was part of the problem with “Fox Sports is in XX million homes” spiel from a few months back. Away from some very obvious major event outliers, a decent figure on the channel is 100,000 to 200,000. (Sports viewing in the states can be weirdly hyper local). The NRL numbers are not bad at all but look poor to some now because of that bluster.

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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 hour ago, Dave T said:

Are there any monetary values of international tv deals that can be used as a benchmark for RL? 

It's a similar conversation to some of the TWP stuff, where people claimed we could get x% of the market it'd be worth £xxm's per year. But in reality, Fox in the US can probably pick these rights up for a pittance. 

Is there a precedent here for international sports earning money from traditional tv deals from American broadcasters? 

Not my area I'm afraid so I can't really comment with any authority. 

"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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10 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Not my area I'm afraid so I can't really comment with any authority. 

Yeah, it was more of an open question rather than aimed at you specifically, I don't think you have made those claims directly.

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3 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Yeah, it was more of an open question rather than aimed at you specifically, I don't think you have made those claims directly.

I believe the only foreign sport to get decent money with a US TV deal is soccer and, very specifically, Premier League and La Liga.

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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