Paper Talk: Marketing, crowds for concern & RFL defends COVID protocols

The burning issues from the Monday morning press.

Marketing and not format

The latest Forty20 Magazine landed in the letterbox this morning and there’s a good piece in it by Gavin Willacy, who takes a rugby league look at The Hundred, which is making waves for cricket. He writes: “It’s not the product, it’s the packaging. When league fans talk of Nines being our T20 opportunity, I’m not convinced. We have the product already. It’s called Super League. It just needs relaunching. SL is already quick – less than two hours and could be shorter. The Hundred has taken branding to a new level.” Unfortunately, the powers that be don’t seem to be listening.

RFL defends COVID protocols

The RFL has defended itself from critics who have questioned why so many matches have been postponed this season because of COVID outbreaks, reports League Express. Chief regulatory officer Karen Moorhouse said: “Our testing regimes are broadly comparable with football’s Premier League and rugby union and they are approved by Public Health England. The top 20 places in the country that have been affected by the variant are dominated by rugby league towns and cities. I am really proud of our systems and processes as they impact on player welfare and I believe the regulations currently in place are right for our sport.”

It’s easy to avoid relegation

The tedium of Super League of late is perhaps best summed up by this stat in The Guardian. “Few competitions are as easy to stay in as Super League: clubs only have to finish in the top 91.3% of the table to stay up. In contrast, it is extremely difficult to earn promotion from the Championship, where clubs have to finish in the top 7% to go up.” Of course, there were plenty of years too where no one from the Championship went up either; it was even worse then.

The current situation stinks

All the progress made by clubs like Coventry Bears is set to be ripped up at the end of the season. Dave Musson explains in Forty20: “There’s a real chance my team will walk away from the professional side of things next year and it doesn’t feel fair. They’ve been in League 1 for just six years and have been on a steady upward curve throughout. They beat traditional sides with something near regularity and remain a financially sound business. They are introducing thousands of people of all ages in the West Midlands to rugby league. The Bears are threatening to have their best ever season as a professional club, while also knowing it could be their last.”

Crowds for concern

Rugby league is in a bit of a rut at the moment and the current situation around attendances is well described by Garry Schofield in his League Express column. He writes: “For me, the problem is a lack of effective marketing, the cost of admission and primarily, the poor quality of the product.”

Support rugby league in the media and subscribe to League Express, as well as checking out the regular coverage of the sport in The Mirror, The Sun, The Guardian and other national newspapers; the more you read, the more there’ll be.

2 Comments

  1. Its too expensive to go to matches. My family of 4 went last week, for me my wife and 2 teenagers it was £85. The product on the field was excellent, however when it rained there was no cover and the terracing was in a poor state of repair and not deep enough between tiers to offer a decent view of the action.
    When you consider Premier League foot ball and the Hundred are cheaper to attend. It easy to see why crowds are an issue.
    There is not as much wrong with Rugby League as the current commentary suggests. But reducing ticket prices is needed now, I think £15.00 is enough to ask for Super League.

    • Agreed – keep prices low and for young people 21 abs under charge a £1 and students even up to the age of 25 just a fiver and serve affordable drinks and food – sell units , fill the grounds and the rest will fall into place x

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