In one of the best games of the season, London Broncos battled back against Toulouse Olympique in the Championship Grand Final to earn promotion back to Super League for the first time since 2019.
It was a terrific moment and many were excited by the development as it is widely believed that the sport needs a strong presence in the capital and the club have responded with some smart business such as signing Rhys Kennedy from Hull KR and tying down the likes of Alex Walker.
But when the first IMG grades were released their win was made all but pointless as they were ranked 24th out of 35 a full 12 spots behind the all important top 12.
This made it near enough impossible for them to stay in Super League. This is why they have made the move to abandon their academy in 2024 to use the money to try and improve their grade. But surely this is a damaging decision for the sport in the capital and the potential players of the future.
IMG was designed for the long term but the long term future of the sport in the capital has now been devastated by this development which the Broncos directly attributed to their IMG grade.
This is not a criticism of the Broncos. They reportedly don’t have the financial power to keep the academy going.
Nor is this an overall criticism of IMG but it does raise the question of how do we market this season from the point of the view of the capital?
Recently, London Chairman David Hughes said of the club’s IMG score: “Whilst accepting the score given, we will now look to work together as a club to improve on this score with the long-term ambition of achieving an A grade.
“Following the magnificent success of securing promotion from the Championship last season the club now looks to build on the strong foundations we have built in Wimbledon and last year’s achievements on the pitch, as we look to establish London Broncos as a Super League club now and in years to come.”
“The vast majority of scores in each category are based on an average over a three-year period so we need to make improvements year-on-year in order to improve our grading score in the longer term.”