We interviewed Toronto Coach Paul Rowley last year and we were discussing the RFL’s failure to promote the sport.
The discussion was mainly based on the marquee signing rule but we got round to talking about how we needed to increase the profile of our great game, Rowley was against the marquee rule saying that the key to promoting the game wasn’t in getting every club having a high profile player but by increasing the profile of all the players, making them all high profile.
The way to do it, in his opinion, was through increased terrestrial TV coverage of our great game. When we discussed if the TV companies were paying enough he said we should give it them for nothing, even PAY THEM to put it on. Surely he has a point, would it be better to say take £15000 for them to show it on BBC2 or pay them £15000 to put it at peak time on BBC1? This would guarantee over a million viewers, which interestingly is more than Sky get for average premier league games and was the figures we were getting for the 4 Nations only 6 months ago.
Anyway this may be slightly off topic but it is linked to what happened last weekend as England put on a fantastic performance to beat a talented Samoa side in Australia.
The RFL charged people £3.49 to watch the game on a stream, not a kings ransom I admit, that was at least a minute at times behind twitter meaning people knew Ryan Hall had scored before he… well scored.
I’d love to know, but I could guess zero, how many non RL fans payed the fee to watch the game?
With international Rugby the best way to promote the sport that is surely an instant fail, rumours suggest the Beeb had offered a small fee to screen the game but the RFL declined the offer.
Surely a million viewers watching on a Saturday morning is exactly what Rowley meant when he talked about increasing the profile.
Another own goal from the governing body was to offer anyone buying a magic weekend ticket the chance to watch the game for free, what about fans buying tickets for the summer bash? Or doesn’t the Championship count?
I’m not sure how many paid to watch the game, it was certainly worth the money you can’t dispute that, but my twitter feed wasn’t full of Rugby posts as it is for Super League games.
Mind you I was informed by a well respected RL journalist in a conversation on twitter, do you have conversations on twitter? , that we were trending 4th, failing to mention that #cataday was trending 2nd.
Over a million watched recorded highlights of Scotlands epic draw against the Kiwis last November, we missed a big chance to promote our game last week let’s hope the same mistake isn’t made for the World Cup.
As for the game itself, the 1st half in particular was very promising. One of the best opening halves I’ve seen from an England side for a long while, we got a little sloppy after the break but always looked comfortable. When you consider that half the squad flew around the world at the start of the week and the disruption that would cause to preparation you have to say well done to Wayne Bennett and his staff for sending a team out to put on a display like that.
Whilst Elliot Whitehead keeps getting better and again we saw how important it is to keep Sean O’loughlin fit you have to marvel at the impressive Josh Hodgson.
He looks ready to take over the mantle of the World’s best 9 from Cameron Smith, he was outstanding again in a Lions shirt and gives us real hope of doing well in November.
Beating the Aussies on their own patch may be a bridge too far but we look like we could at least be there against them in the final to try.
Can’t leave without mentioning Kevin Brown, a maligned choice when Williams pulled out, but fully justified his inclusion by having a hand in all 2nd half tries.
Not me We pay for sports on TVs to sky and if we didn’t the rfl would loose out so no I didn’t