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Raising the profile of Rugby League
Post Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:50 pm
Superted Free-scoring winger
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There's a thread on the Leeds board about the lack of big money transfers in RL, and he discussion inevitably led to he fact there's little money in the game... I floated an idea on that thread and thought it would be good to get people's opinions on here on the subject.....

Basically, I believe any changes to salary caps, marquee player allowances, number of teams in SL to try and increase interest in the game (and therefore potentially money into the game) would really be papering over the cracks - as these initiatives would only really entice existing fans of RL back to the sport - we need more casual viewers and a wider audience.

So... My thought...The key to increasing the amount of media coverage, sponsorship and money generally flowing into the game is to increase the awareness of our sport to 'non-RL folk' - get more people to know about and take an interest in RL, and I think there's a fairly obvious way we can do this - but it will take a bold and risky move... At the next set of TV deal negotiations, be prepared to take less of a cut from Sky and insist on a level of 'free to air' coverage of the game - even if it's just 1 game a week and a highlights programme.

There'd be a significant drop in the TV rights money earned on that deal I'm sure, but I think this would be short term pain for long term gain. The British public love live sport, our sport is great for TV, and there's minimal live sport available 'free to air'. A regular time slot on terrestrial TV could see us gain a huge national following.... The key here would be to make sure it's a good professional production, and not one the just backs up our 'Northern Working Class' reputation...

In the late 80's, early 90's, lots of non RL folk from all over the country could name players like Hanley, Schofield, Offiah, Edwards, Robinson, just from the amount of air play we got for the Challenge Cup and the odd GB series - People I work with from down South nowadays couldn't name a single current player.....

Going 'free to air' could open up a huge advertising market, make our players household names again and get big businesses interested in sponsoring our teams and our league...

What do people think? Is it plausible? Would the general public be interested?
Re: Raising the profile of Rugby League
Post Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:04 pm
Dally User avatar
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Having successful teams in prosperous areas of the country ie the SE will be needed. Can' t see the finance being available to achieve that.
Re: Raising the profile of Rugby League
Post Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:06 pm
JEAN CAPDOUZE User avatar
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Superted wrote:
There's a thread on the Leeds board about the lack of big money transfers in RL, and he discussion inevitably led to he fact there's little money in the game... I floated an idea on that thread and thought it would be good to get people's opinions on here on the subject.....

Basically, I believe any changes to salary caps, marquee player allowances, number of teams in SL to try and increase interest in the game (and therefore potentially money into the game) would really be papering over the cracks - as these initiatives would only really entice existing fans of RL back to the sport - we need more casual viewers and a wider audience.

So... My thought...The key to increasing the amount of media coverage, sponsorship and money generally flowing into the game is to increase the awareness of our sport to 'non-RL folk' - get more people to know about and take an interest in RL, and I think there's a fairly obvious way we can do this - but it will take a bold and risky move... At the next set of TV deal negotiations, be prepared to take less of a cut from Sky and insist on a level of 'free to air' coverage of the game - even if it's just 1 game a week and a highlights programme.

There'd be a significant drop in the TV rights money earned on that deal I'm sure, but I think this would be short term pain for long term gain. The British public love live sport, our sport is great for TV, and there's minimal live sport available 'free to air'. A regular time slot on terrestrial TV could see us gain a huge national following.... The key here would be to make sure it's a good professional production, and not one the just backs up our 'Northern Working Class' reputation...

In the late 80's, early 90's, lots of non RL folk from all over the country could name players like Hanley, Schofield, Offiah, Edwards, Robinson, just from the amount of air play we got for the Challenge Cup and the odd GB series - People I work with from down South nowadays couldn't name a single current player.....

Going 'free to air' could open up a huge advertising market, make our players household names again and get big businesses interested in sponsoring our teams and our league...

What do people think? Is it plausible? Would the general public be interested?



No. The only way to raise the profile of rugby league is to get more teams from outside the M62 into Super League. London and Toulouse are the obvious first choices. But more teams from the midlands or the south are needed, as well as two more French clubs, including one from Paris..

After that make a serious effort to get more sponsorship from national and international corporate entities.

After that is achieved, try to acquire one game a week on terrestrial, preferably BBC.
Toulouse for Championship in 2017, Super League in 2019!

Avignon for Championship in 2020, Super League in 2021!
Re: Raising the profile of Rugby League
Post Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:18 pm
Superted Free-scoring winger
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I'd agree that expansion is required and would benefit the game (if done and supported correctly), but I wouldn't say it's the 'only' way to raise our profile.

I strongly believe our product is good enough anyway to increase our profile if we have the right initiatives, but expansion would absolutely support and enhance this.
Re: Raising the profile of Rugby League
Post Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:19 pm
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We've absolutely no chance of raising the profile of our sport in the short or medium term...............the horse bolted years ago.

Having sold out to SKY for cheap money, the RFL inept of procuring big MAJOR sponsors deals, a PR decline with the national media. Then we have the quality of super league player in rapid decline not helped by a Salary Cap that just can't compete with the Union Code and NRL comp. We are probably about 5 years away from all our players in the international side playing away from these shores because super league is so weak in intensity and challenge.
.
The RFL won't come out of there comfort zone, won't risk the alternatives because they know failure will put us on the brink of disaster. We were promised new connections and media improvements via Brian Barwick who in 3 years of office has offered very little to enhance our sport.
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Re: Raising the profile of Rugby League
Post Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:36 pm
TrinityIHC User avatar
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I reckon on a more basic level, it also doesn't help how the majority of games start.

I've taken loads of people down to watch Wakey (tough sell already :lol: ) but in most games the first 15 - 20 mins are usually teams going through the sets, trying to establish territory and playing % rugby. Obviously while a dyed in the wool fan like me can see this is sensible, I think quite a few decide that it's just 5 drives and a kick and switch off.

On the other hand I've had people I've brought down get season tickets and come to other games but it still baffles me how it's such a hard sell. Such a great game.
There's Only One F in Wakefield
Re: Raising the profile of Rugby League
Post Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:20 pm
Gazwire Free-scoring winger
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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:06 pm
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Judder Man wrote:
We've absolutely no chance of raising the profile of our sport in the short or medium term...............the horse bolted years ago.

Having sold out to SKY for cheap money, the RFL inept of procuring big MAJOR sponsors deals, a PR decline with the national media. Then we have the quality of super league player in rapid decline not helped by a Salary Cap that just can't compete with the Union Code and NRL comp. We are probably about 5 years away from all our players in the international side playing away from these shores because super league is so weak in intensity and challenge.
.
The RFL won't come out of there comfort zone, won't risk the alternatives because they know failure will put us on the brink of disaster. We were promised new connections and media improvements via Brian Barwick who in 3 years of office has offered very little to enhance our sport.


......and as for Saints :(
Re: Raising the profile of Rugby League
Post Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:22 am
giddyupoldfella User avatar
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International rugby is the only way to raise the profile.

More Internationals, with the best players in the World playing each other on a regular basis.

Cricket, Rugby Union, Athletics or any Olympic sports profiles are raised through International competition.
Re: Raising the profile of Rugby League
Post Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:47 am
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I think it has to be a multi-faceted approach. We are of course always hamstrung by lack of money which means we can't give up significant amounts of income and we can't embark on any kind of even mid-level publicity campaign.
We have to be establish a long term strategy. Sadly the RFL's version of long term is about 3 seasons when really we have to look at about 15 years. Because of our current position progress will be painfully slow in a country that does what the media tells it to and with a media that doesn't give a toss about anything north of Watford.
But we have to establish that strategy and then, crucially, have the balls to stick with it.

In my inexpert opinion, I think we need to do following:
1 - Internationals
We still need a proper set international calendar. I also think we need the Internationals to be mid-season. I think they get somewhat lost and feel like an add-on to the season rather than the pinnacle.
Having at least 1 England game at a big stadium in London is a must. It attracts so much more publicity than having them all up north.

2 - I think, due to our scarce resources, we have to pick an area for expansion. For me it'd be Newcastle and/or Manchester. Take an international to the place, tie in with the Magic Weekend, put money into increasing school and amateur take-up in those areas. Tie in with the local club (Thunder/Red Devils)

3 - Id introduce a 2nd cup competition and some version of Yorks v Lancs to give the season some variety.

4 - The most important aspect IMO - a huge focus on expanding participation at grassroots level. Even in the heartlands participation is rubbish. So to start with the focus would be on the heartlands and specified expansion areas. Change how the current amateur leagues work to encourage higher participation at all ages including adults. A big push on Touch, Tag, schools and girls/women's RL. Hopefully encouraging those people who either leave the sport or never even bother trying it to come and be a part. I'd also establish strong links between the RFL and the amateur/schools/touch clubs/organisations. Encourage attendance at RL events with either discounted tickets or a scheme whereby the club/organisation can make a bit of money from selling tickets for it.



If we want a higher profile we need more and different people involved in the game. To get more media (especially with the sh|thouses that masquerade as media) we need more than just "oh Leeds have beaten St Helens again". We need some variety in the season and some more easily marketable events such as Yorks v Lancs and another cup comp.
But we also need to involve people regularly. The amateur game is the entry point to a sport for many many people, and ours too often fails RL in that regard.

Now none of this will transform RL overnight. But a sustained, concerted effort, FROM THE WHOLE SPORT, should over time reap dividends in the future.

What we desperately, desperately need is a long term strategy, not short term panicking and chucking what little money we have at players. We did that in the 80's and 90's and that's what left us in the position we only just recovered from 20 years ago.
Re: Raising the profile of Rugby League
Post Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:33 am
ThePrinter Silver RLFANS Member
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FTA sounds good in theory but I can't see any channels being interested in airing one match a week in a prime slot on Friday/Sat/Sun every week for the majority of the year.

As for internationals, we don't have enough top teams to have a proper international schedule. Yes playing at the end of the season creates an end of year add-on feel but basically just playing the same two teams is the big problem and it won't be taken seriously until we have several teams at the that level. Always said imagine how RU or cricket would do if it's internationals were basically just made up of Eng/NZ/Aus and the rest just "whipping boy rabble" that never came close to beating the top 3.
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