League Express editor MARTYN SADLER wonders whether the Super League clubs are going to be able to cope with the reduction in funding they will receive from their broadcasting contract from next year.
In speaking to Wakefield Trinity chief executive Michael Carter last week he made the point that his club, and presumably all the Super League clubs, will be approximately £450,000 worse off next year because of the reduced funding from Sky Sports.
And yet, when I asked how the Super League clubs were planning to economise, perhaps on the salary cap, to allow for this reduced funding to be factored in to club budgets, his reply was that there was no majority among the clubs to make any such changes.
In other words, the clubs appear to believe that they can continue to spend at the current levels on players’ and coaches’ salaries.
That of course can only be true if the clubs can make up the deficit in some other way, by attracting new sponsors or investors, or the owners putting their hands deeper into their pockets to cover the funding gap.
There is also the related point that the clubs will have to fund reserve teams next year, which will add probably in excess of £100,000 to their running costs.
I’ve previously suggested in this column that the salary cap should be split into domestic and overseas elements, and that the figure on overseas players should be capped at an affordable level.
I don’t want to see overseas players frozen out of Super League, but I don’t think we can continue to recruit so many of them.
I would love to see some signs of realism among the clubs.
Otherwise we are likely to see some of them running into major financial crises.
And what good would that do?
Planning for the future
The next TV contract will run for only two years, ending in 2023.
It’s crucial for Rugby League that the contract after that reverses the decline in revenue that we’ve seen with the new deal.
It’s important that the RFL and Super League take as many good ideas on board as possible that might lead to a prosperous future for the game from 2024 onwards.
I’ll be writing down some ideas of how this might be done on the Totalrl.com website later this week.
I’ve already made it clear that a ten-team Super League would be a serious mistake for the game to adopt.