Q & A with Ken Davy – the new interim Executive Chairman of Super League

Last week Ken Davy was appointed the interim Executive Chairman of Super League.

He held a Zoom press conference and these are the questions I asked him, and his responses.

Was the vote to appoint you unanimous?

“What the votes were I don’t think is material, but it would be very unusual to get twelve people in any organisation to all vote the same way. But ‘overwhelming’ is probably a fair description.”

Were there any other candidates?

“In the sense in which the vote was taken, no. That is not to say that one or two people might have put forward different solutions.

“It was a very balanced and calm debate. There was no angst of any consequence. At the end of the day we all want the best for Super League, including the fans and players. That’s what we are all about, a game that delivers real excitement and fun to the supporters and the viewers. Hopefully it ends at the end of the year with a very successful World Cup.”

Is the current ownership structure of Super League (Europe) Limited likely to continue?

“I can’t particularly visualise why that should need to change.”

The potential realignment with the RFL implies a joint venture company between the two organisations with a focus on marketing. Is that what will happen?

“That is certainly part of the discussion we will be having. It’s not difficult to see that as being one of the most popular solutions.”

You are keen to bring unity to the organisation. The last three years has been a good example of how difficult unity is to achieve. Ian Lenagan and Gary Hetherington are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Could you get unity that would include those two individuals?

“That’s part of the challenge. I’m somewhere in the middle and that’s a good place to be. Solutions in anything in life require a degree of compromise. But the personalities I’d like to talk about are those on the pitch.”

The next two years will be very important and it will be crucial that Super League performs well in terms of broadening its appeal to boost its audience. Will we have to seek out more opportunities?

“Agility of thought is important in any area of life and in business. We are proud of our relationship with Sky and we hope that will continue for many years to come.

“Half the population gets all its news from a little phone. The idea of them watching for 80 minutes on their phone is not common. People’s attention span is shortening. We have to be alert to those changes, build on our strong relationship with Sky and try to get the best of all worlds.”

In Australia, Peter V’landys cut the cost of NRL Central massively. Given that SLE probably costs about £3.5 million per year to be separate from the RFL, do you expect to make any significant cuts?

“Clearly cost savings are important, but it’s day one and it would be irresponsible for me to speculate on what might emerge from the discussions. I can understand your interest in it, but we are not looking at an Australian model, we are looking at Super League and how we realign with the RFL. The eventual answer to your question will then emerge.”

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