Super League Restructure Plans Miss The Point – The British Game Is Broken

The worldwide lockdown that has occurred because of Covid19 has been fast, brutal, and unexpectedly stopped the momentum of many things in life we take for granted. One of those things has been our sporting competitions, and among those Super League has found itself shutdown mid season.

A government bailout in the form of a £16 million loan should stop the game from going belly up, but the other all situation the game finds itself in right now has seen many suggest that a complete reset to the way British Rugby League is set up and run should be on the cards.

The suggestions are varied. Having a licensing system put in place. Expanding the Super League competition into north America to take advantage of the bigger media markets and get on the markets at online casino usa. Joining the Championship and Super League into one giant competition. Raising the salary cap. Lowering the salary cap. They are all interesting ideas but they do miss the point…

Super League has tried many different changes over the last 20 years to get British Rugby League working…and all of these changes have failed. Some of them may have been scrapped too early to see benefits from them, while other were arguably scrapped too late before they did damage to the competition. It’s not like the powers that be haven’t tried a few different things to capture a bit of interest in the wider sporting public.

Despite all of the changes, and even some fast tracked expansion, Super League remains mostly a competition contested between teams from small towns in northern England.

What these teams mean to the town they represent isn’t in question, and the history these teams have is undeniable, but in 2020 a competition filled with these type of sides simply isn’t doing anything for Rugby League. Super League comes across as old, stale, a relic from a bygone era. A completion that is slowly dying as it reaches for life rafts in France and North America.

If Super League wants to capture national attention, national audiences, national media and national sponsors it needs to become a competition that represents the nation as a whole. Cities like Birmingham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Bradford, Sheffield and Glasgow need to have a reason to watch Super League. They need to be represented if the game wants to move forward.

Now any time you mention any of those you get people coming out and rubbishing the idea. Rugby League won’t work in many of those places. It’s been tried and failed. People there don’t like Rugby League.

It is a weird attitude to have. Either you think this game is good enough to attract new supporters or you think its rubbish and we should just stop bothering with it all together. I for one think the more people exposed to Rugby League, the more people that get to see what an amazing game it is, the better.

With the success of the Catalan Dragons and the Toronto Wolfpack, and the continued push by Toulouse Olympique to make the jump into Super League, the competition does have an opportunity to expand. Will it be enough though if the majority of the competition still consists of small towns in northern England?

I think a more likely scenario is that you get to a point where a number of expansion clubs take a look at the landscape and wonder why they are propping up these older clubs who are struggling to survive when they could form their own break away competition and do things better.

How much would it take for Toronto, Ottawa, New York, Toulouse Olympique and the Catalan Dragons to bring together a few other clubs and form a competition of their own, spanning two continents in at least three different countries? Would a team like the London Broncos, who struggle to stay in Super League for any length of time, consider joining a competition along those lines?

With Rugby league competitions growing all the time in Europe and sites like looking to sponsor sport, we could see a shift away from British Rugby League and all its issues as strong clubs from other nations look to take control of their own destiny and shake off the shackles that hold the British games firmly in place.

The main stumbling block for such a move would be to get broadcasting rights in place for a competition like this that would covers costs and make the move worthwhile. As of right now the broadcasting rights are worth very little in North America and the game really could only rely on French broadcasters to step in with any sort of deal. A break away competition might get some interest from Australia’s Fox Sports, but that is sure to be a token amount as well.

The tipping point would need to be rich backers who were willing to run the competition at a loss in an effort to try and force top Super League clubs to the negotiation table. Make no mistake, top Super League clubs are also sick of propping up constantly failing teams. If they saw an opportunity to be part of a competition that had a chance to grow into something big, they might decide to switch competitions themselves…and that opens up British broadcasters for any breakaway competition.

Sure there are a lot of questions in all of this, but are there any more questions to be answered than we currently see in the British game? With the minimum wage in Super League having just been removed, and the likelihood that we start to see semi professional players in Super League in the very near future, surely the time for a re-think about where the game is heading in Great Britain is now.

A steady as she goes attitude isn’t good enough any more. Big changes need to be made, otherwise the game in Great Britain will continue its decline and clubs may just wither and die.

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