Sam McCulloch – 10 Things To Help Super League

LeagueFreak.com guest writer Sam McCulloch lists then things he believes would help Super League prosper once more.

1. Start Playing Double Headers
Double Headers is something both NRL and Super League need to look at not just as a revenue exercise but as away of attracting more fans through better fan experience and value.

Take a St Helens vs. Salford game (crowd average 15,000) and Warrington vs. Wigan game (crowd average 21,000) to Etihad Stadium you could easily pull another 10,000 fans to this game. Do it twice a year and split the gate four ways and at £25 per ticket that’s an extra £125,000 pounds per club.

You could also do similar one at Elland Road with Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds and Castleford.

Even low drawing games involving London or Catalans can be doubled up; take Hull FC vs. London (10,000) and Hull KR vs. Catalans (7000) play the both at KC Stadium and sell the place out and split the profits this time that’s a £100,000 per club.

2. Put an age limit on Imports
The last thing Super League needs is greedy 30 year old NRL players coming over to milk money without a care in the world for their performance. English clubs should be poaching coaches and juniors not aged stars.

3. Keep the World Club Challenge in England
I hope that RLIF doesn’t bring the World Club Challenge to Australia not for any other reason that the NRL should be doing everything it can to promote and aide the profitably of Rugby League in England.

Especially considering it been suggested a 6 team championship would do wonders for Super League’s bottom line.

4. Scrap or Change the Exiles game
Either scrap it or replace it with a Test against France or even a Tri Series England vs France vs Exiles. The Exiles would be considered a warm up at best but a Tri Series could give England and France more opportunities to play together and become more competitive on the international scene.

5. Magic Weekend! Super League needs much, much more Magic
I would be looking at doing two Magic Weekends per year. Keep one in Manchester in the heartland and take another one to emerging markets Wales, Scotland and Ireland they used too.

Magic Weekend is something I wish the NRL would look at and with 60,000 attending per weekend whether it’s being hosted in Scotland, Wales or Manchester should inspire Super League to double up on the concept.

6. More End of year Tests
If Australia decide to stay home doesn’t mean you can’t host a great Test series.
Tri Series: England vs New Zealand vs France
Four Nations: England vs France vs Ireland vs Italy
Seven Nations: England vs France vs Scotland vs Wales vs Ireland vs Italy
Pacific Invasion: England vs Tonga vs Samoa vs New Zealand vs Fiji vs PNG
Test matches of this magnitude would showcase brilliant talent and would give some so much back to International Rugby League and give a massive boost to revenues of the host nation and the RLIF.

7. Make London Broncos successful
Like Melbourne in the NRL it took its time but success breeds fans. Melbourne was seen by many as a mad decision “no one follows rugby league down there” or “no one will give a shit about it” were phrases all too often heard in Super League and the NRL.

Look at operating a higher salary cap or player bonuses for playing there. Super League need this club to be successful to engage a wider audience and to increase dollars in its next the TV deal.

8. Scrap Relegation
Promote only the worthy. Clubs should be given time to develop their business models, attract sponsors and give security to existing participants.

New clubs should only emerge only when they are ready, financially stable and competitive.

Operating on a promotion relegation model may work for Soccer but it looks to be a bit of a hindrance to developing stable Rugby League competitions.

9. Greater partnership with Australia
Sister clubs arrangements, Coaching Apprenticeships, Player apprenticeships, Sharing Business resources and models etc.

Australia needs to pull its head out of its arse and help Super League not by blank cheques but with whatever knowledge and mentoring it can provide.

10. Leverage Celebrity Fans
I loved the Bradley Wiggins ad for Super League now is the time to continue this practice and use people like Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney those guys are huge League fans, how many fans would tune in to hear or watch the sport Rooney can’t get enough of?

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4 thoughts on “Sam McCulloch – 10 Things To Help Super League

  1. 1) The Magic weekend has never attracted more fans the the individual fixtures so multiple games have no history of attracting more fans, but they do have a history of increasing all other costs.
    2) Young coaches and jr players especially from the island nations would be good.
    3)Or get rid of it all together. OZ devalue it, GB has 0 publicity for it, if it disappeared tomorrow RL in the UK would not feel it.
    4)scrap it. The only game that attempts to train England after the team selection is made and by giving 17 foreign players the opportunity to compete so flawed its not even funny.
    5)Magic Weekend was a good try but is now 4 years past its sell by date, ego keeps it going not success.
    6)Tests under GB against Oz and NZ ,ok, and nations competitions but there will be little interest stimulated by trying to recreate the formats of other sports without the same support and respect afforded those other sports from the media.
    7)To make London successful would take more cash and intelligence than the RFL currently has. And any significance of a successful London club is imaginary.
    8)Relegation is already scrapped, but will be brought back in 2014 as it will solve all our business problems.
    9)Australia does need to remove its head from its arse. But the RFL would never notice as its head is also up its arse.
    10)Celebrity fans are fine but the money is not there to publicise their interest. RL has virtually no access to commercial TV outside of Sky Sports. Celebrity tie ins advertise SKY not RL.

  2. 1) I believe the costs of staging magic are covered by the host Council/ Regional Development body/ Stadium….however IF promotion etc could be funded, then bringing back an ‘on the road” could be a goer.

    2) There is a limit/ quota in place. If clubs are stupid enough to give limited squad spots and funds to players like matt orford then so beit.

    3) Agree with Sam, its not doing any harm to the game in the NH and we get some publicity from it.

    4) What terrortorn said…decent idea with (originally)innovative marketing and promotion…shame its turned into a joke game.

    5) I’m torn on magic(see 1). Other sports use double header/ event games to boost their attendance and corporate profile…tho of course, their fans actually turn up.

    6) Why? Look at the attendance figures for the end of season tests – if the fans can’t be arsed to turn out for Australia/ NZ v England what makes you think they’ll turn out to see games against Ireland and Italy?

    7) See 9

    8) Agree with Sam. However, while its been funny to watch and hear, the constant dribbling and negativity from fans? of those clubs which that have struggled to achieve 5k attendances(never mind the 10k needed to be self suffcient) has damaged the image of the sport. P and R is on the way back…

    9) Get the NRL involved with the London Broncos.

    10) What terrortorn said.

  3. THe main way to help Superleague is to ensure next TV contract that at least one game is given to free to air TV (Even if at not cost other than the network underwriting production costs). Because until then it will struggle to be in the public domain.

    As for the Magic Weekend, it should be scrapped. Double headers are a much better idea, and they could be spread around different area’s not receiving games currently over the one weekend. So it would be still a Magic Weekend, just hitting up many different area’s all at once.

    Over 30’s NRL players are still vital, and have lots to offer junior players in seeing how hard you need to work to get to that level. Just look at Steve Menzies, you can’t say he hasn’t proven his worth.

    The London Bronco’s. This is just one team that needs to be fixed. It would probably be even better if they could spread their games around London playing from 3-4 different venues and taping into a more broader fan base. The team needs serious money spent on it to attract the right players, and maybe even updating their logo to something that doesn’t look like a 9yrs olds first go at MS Paint might go a long way to showing how professional they could be.