TODAY, IMG revealed its radical new grading criteria to all 36 professional clubs with an emphasis on five key areas.
Each key area was ranked with a weighting system. Five points were given to fandom, five to performance and five for finances whilst three was given for the stadium and two for catchment.
– Fandom (25%): encouraging clubs to attract more fans in stadia, both at home and digitally, and improve fan engagement, contributing to both club and central revenues.
– Performance (25%): incentivising clubs to perform on the field and drive fan awareness and engagement. Teams will be ranked between 1 and 36 based on where they finish in the leagues for the previous three seasons. Bonus points will be awarded to teams who win league and cup competitions in the previous season.
– Finances (25%): reflecting the success of fan engagement and business performance and rewarding sustainable investment, as well as diversified revenue streams and sound financial management.
– Stadium (15%): based on a number of factors, including facilities and utilisation, which add value to the fan and broadcast or digital viewer experience, and match or exceed competition from other sports and events.
– Catchment (10%): based on area population and the number of clubs in the area, with a view to maximising growth of the sport in the largest markets to generate new fan bases and incentivise investment.
With that in mind, the minimum number of points a club needs to make it into Super League Grade A will be 15 and above, but those that accrue more than ten and less than 15 as Grade B clubs can still make it into the top flight – if the league is not full of Grade A clubs.