RUGBY LEAGUE is at one of its most important crossroads since the summer game began back in 1996.
With a 12-year-deal signed with IMG to ‘re-imagine’ rugby league, a new direction is set to take place in the near future, with clubs set to be given grading criteria to become Grade A, B or C clubs in the next few days.
Previously, however, according to leading rugby league agent, Craig Harrison of Show Me The Money UK, there was a huge opportunity to get one of the leading global brands to invest in rugby league, only to be shunned by Super League clubs.
“Nike, four or five years ago showed an interest to come into our sport,” Harrison on the Show Me The Money Rugby League TV podcast.
“The club that they showed an interest in went to a board meeting and said ‘what is it worth for us to bring Nike into Super League?
“He sold it with how good it would be to have the number one sporting brand in the world wanting to get involved in rugby league and sponsoring this, this and this.
“He said to the others ‘are you willing to subsidise a little bit of the centralisation money to bring Nike in?'”
Harrison went on to explain how none of the other club individuals voted in support of the proposal.
“The vote was 11-1, unanimous within four seconds, ‘up yours we will all paddle our own canoe.’
“He said it would be for the game, how much branding Nike would bring in, worldwide showing our sport off with Nike.
“It was typical of our sport, it was self-gain on the individuals, it never got past the first six minutes of the meeting.
“He was devastated and couldn’t believe it. It could have led on to them sponsoring players.
“A sporting brand like Nike would have brought an all new level of glamour to the sport.”