Rugby league is heading into a completely brand new era.
IMG, who have been involved in promoting tennis’ Miami Open, World’s Strongest Man and UFC, are leading the sport’s strategic planning following the realignment of Rugby Football League and Super League Europe.
For, The Game Caller – a Bradford Bulls reporter – it has been a long time coming with years of slow decline getting to this point.
“The deal is what it is, it’s going to be the RFL effectively selling off farmland, the real estate of the sport to try and fix things and run the sport properly,” The Game Caller said on The Full Eighty Minutes.
“This isn’t something that’s happened overnight, this is something that has happened for a decade – we’ve gradually seen a slow and steady decline that is very close to my heart.”
The Game Caller also revealed just what IMG are going to do once they are involved.
“They are going to control commercial growth, marketing, sponsorship and take control of broadcast deal negotiations.
“That will come under their remit as part of this deal which will see the RFL and the executive board at the RFL selling off a chunk of the farmland.”
Leading rugby league agent, Craig Harrison – also known as Show Me The Money UK – sees the positives from the new move.
“We’ve attracted one of the biggest media companies in the world and the first thing they will do they will make superstars of our players.
“They could be the saviour of our sport.”
IMG has assembled a team of experts across its Media business and the Endeavor network to work with the newly combined entity on strategically repositioning the sport to maximise its commercial potential for long-term growth, build deeper relationships with fans and attract new audiences.
The agency will initially focus on competition restructuring, content production and innovation, domestic and international distribution of media rights, digital transformation powered by IMG’s digital sports arm Seven League, brand strategy delivered by Endeavor’s cultural marketing agency 160over90, and streaming through Endeavor’s OTT platform Endeavor Streaming.