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?
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com