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Posted by Diavolo Rosso on Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:52 am
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Muggins wrote:
There seems to be a certain amount of delusion with some RL fans. It's as if they can't understand why anyone who has seen or heard about RL hasn't immediately fallen in love with it and become fans like themselves. Their inability to accept this leads them to assume that it's all down to bad marketing and promotion. I hate to burst their bubble but a lot of people know about RL but just don't have any interest in it. And it doesn't matter how many times you list the reasons why you think RL is great and why they should be interested in it, they're still going to make up their own minds and unfortunately most people don't seem that interested.


I disagree the issue is one of delusion, rather it's a lack of understanding of the market in which large-scale commercial sports operate. What Rugby League fans don't understand is the difference in make-up of people that watch other sports with a national profile (I am exempting football from that comment - it has an entirely unique position in the UK sporting landscape).

Rugby Union and Cricket are the two obvious comparable sports for RL in the UK. Both sports have a broadly similarly size hardcore fanbase - those that turn up to watch Sale v Newcastle on a Friday night in January, and those that watch Lancashire v Sussex in a County Championship game on a Tuesday. What those sports have been successful at that RL hasn't however, is in engaging the casual sporting fan for the big occasion.

I live in London and most of my mates down here are natives, rather than exiled northerners... and most of them are more than happy to pony up to watch England RU or England cricket - to the tune of £50+ per game - or go to Twickenham 7s or a Surrey T20 fixture - even though they usually know a minimal amount about the rules of the sport, nor can they usually speak to the current status of the traditional / domestic game - who is top of the Aviva Premiership and so on.

What they buy into is the narrative that those sports do a great job of cultivating - England cricket beating the Aussies in the Ashes, or England RU trying to win the Six Nations - and the mythology (=marketing) that surrounds these events. This in turn gives them the opportunity to build events which the casual - cash rich - fan will buy into, and return to as long as the social side of the event delivers. The actual quality of the sporting product on offer doesn't really matter as most of them don't understand it anyway.

It's like buying anything - there are options for those that care about product quality, and options for those that care about what is trendy but fast. Think a pair of high quality handmade leather shoes from Northampton, versus a pair of made in Vietnam Nike trainers. If you care about quality, you'll pay more for the better product. But if you care about being fashionable you'll buy the Nike's, and what British RL fans tend not to understand is that the market for people that care about being fashionable is quite different to, and much larger than the market that wants to buy quality. Until British Rugby League understands this, and develops a product to appeal to the buyer of Nike's, it will never expand its horizons in the UK beyond the hardcore in the North.
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Posted by PrinterThe on Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:59 am
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Call Me God wrote:
...as did I. I wasn't expecting the idiot brigade to be out in as much force finding fault with it....It was in a Union paper taking the pi$$ out of Union....some people need to lighten up a tad!


Was it really taking the pi$$ out of Union or taking the pi$$ out of RL's opinions on RU? Pointing out RU's flaws but still highlighting how much better it does was more taking the pi$$ out of RL than Union in my opinion. It was more a taking a pi$$ out of RL imo if you read it correctly.

Either way you read it, that it's unclear what its aim was shows how poor it was....and again it just wasn't funny.
Posted by silver2 on Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:29 pm
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Diavolo Rosso wrote:
I disagree the issue is one of delusion, rather it's a lack of understanding of the market in which large-scale commercial sports operate. What Rugby League fans don't understand is the difference in make-up of people that watch other sports with a national profile (I am exempting football from that comment - it has an entirely unique position in the UK sporting landscape).

Rugby Union and Cricket are the two obvious comparable sports for RL in the UK. Both sports have a broadly similarly size hardcore fanbase - those that turn up to watch Sale v Newcastle on a Friday night in January, and those that watch Lancashire v Sussex in a County Championship game on a Tuesday. What those sports have been successful at that RL hasn't however, is in engaging the casual sporting fan for the big occasion.

I live in London and most of my mates down here are natives, rather than exiled northerners... and most of them are more than happy to pony up to watch England RU or England cricket - to the tune of £50+ per game - or go to Twickenham 7s or a Surrey T20 fixture - even though they usually know a minimal amount about the rules of the sport, nor can they usually speak to the current status of the traditional / domestic game - who is top of the Aviva Premiership and so on.

What they buy into is the narrative that those sports do a great job of cultivating - England cricket beating the Aussies in the Ashes, or England RU trying to win the Six Nations - and the mythology (=marketing) that surrounds these events. This in turn gives them the opportunity to build events which the casual - cash rich - fan will buy into, and return to as long as the social side of the event delivers. The actual quality of the sporting product on offer doesn't really matter as most of them don't understand it anyway.

It's like buying anything - there are options for those that care about product quality, and options for those that care about what is trendy but fast. Think a pair of high quality handmade leather shoes from Northampton, versus a pair of made in Vietnam Nike trainers. If you care about quality, you'll pay more for the better product. But if you care about being fashionable you'll buy the Nike's, and what British RL fans tend not to understand is that the market for people that care about being fashionable is quite different to, and much larger than the market that wants to buy quality. Until British Rugby League understands this, and develops a product to appeal to the buyer of Nike's, it will never expand its horizons in the UK beyond the hardcore in the North.


A very good article. You should work for the RL.
Posted by Shifty Cat on Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:25 pm
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Diavolo Rosso wrote:
I disagree the issue is one of delusion, rather it's a lack of understanding of the market in which large-scale commercial sports operate. What Rugby League fans don't understand is the difference in make-up of people that watch other sports with a national profile (I am exempting football from that comment - it has an entirely unique position in the UK sporting landscape).

Rugby Union and Cricket are the two obvious comparable sports for RL in the UK. Both sports have a broadly similarly size hardcore fanbase - those that turn up to watch Sale v Newcastle on a Friday night in January, and those that watch Lancashire v Sussex in a County Championship game on a Tuesday. What those sports have been successful at that RL hasn't however, is in engaging the casual sporting fan for the big occasion.

I live in London and most of my mates down here are natives, rather than exiled northerners... and most of them are more than happy to pony up to watch England RU or England cricket - to the tune of £50+ per game - or go to Twickenham 7s or a Surrey T20 fixture - even though they usually know a minimal amount about the rules of the sport, nor can they usually speak to the current status of the traditional / domestic game - who is top of the Aviva Premiership and so on.

What they buy into is the narrative that those sports do a great job of cultivating - England cricket beating the Aussies in the Ashes, or England RU trying to win the Six Nations - and the mythology (=marketing) that surrounds these events. This in turn gives them the opportunity to build events which the casual - cash rich - fan will buy into, and return to as long as the social side of the event delivers. The actual quality of the sporting product on offer doesn't really matter as most of them don't understand it anyway.

It's like buying anything - there are options for those that care about product quality, and options for those that care about what is trendy but fast. Think a pair of high quality handmade leather shoes from Northampton, versus a pair of made in Vietnam Nike trainers. If you care about quality, you'll pay more for the better product. But if you care about being fashionable you'll buy the Nike's, and what British RL fans tend not to understand is that the market for people that care about being fashionable is quite different to, and much larger than the market that wants to buy quality. Until British Rugby League understands this, and develops a product to appeal to the buyer of Nike's, it will never expand its horizons in the UK beyond the hardcore in the North.

Good post.

Only point that I disagree and it's a small one, is the one underlined. Most first-class games around the Country rarely break 1000 people watching a day. You'll get a few one offs that get a few thousand in, particularly at the height of summer, if say Yorkshire v Lancs play, or Middlesex v Surrey in the 4 day game. It's because of the low crowds T20 was invented in England, that and the fact just about every County is in debt up to their eyeballs. Even now, where each County gets £1.8m off the ECB through broadcasting revenues and they have 3 forms of cricket to earn money from, all bar a few are crippled with debt, even Yorkshire owes £20m, mainly due to the revamp but even before that had troubles.
Personally, I'd compare Cricket's one day attendances, especially 50 over Cricket, to that of RL. Quite a few T20 games regularly fill the grounds.
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