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Deadcowboys1 Member for 12 years
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The way ahead : Wed Sep 28, 2022 5:20 pm  
Reimagining Rugby League – IMG presents recommendations
IMG has today presented the recommendations arising from the Reimagining Rugby League Consultation Project – a key part of the first phase of the agency’s 12-year strategic partnership with the sport agreed in the spring.

In addition to drawing on IMG’s global expertise, the recommendations have been made following extensive consultation with key stakeholders across Rugby League, including clubs, broadcasters, sponsors, media, players, representatives from the community game and international partners, as well as a survey of supporters attracting almost 20,000 responses. This is the most comprehensive piece of consultation ever undertaken on the sport.

IMG’s recommendations have the overriding aim of driving the long-term value and impact of the sport.

In summary the recommendations are:

A re-positioned calendar which optimises flow, narrative and engagement, incorporating regular ‘peaks’ of interest and a compelling season climax.


A calendar aligned with the global game to facilitate an international window in October and incorporate a mid-season international.


Participation in the top tier to be based on a range of on and off field measures, delivered through a club grading system with the aim of supporting financial sustainability and encouraging investment into clubs. ‘Category A’ clubs will be guaranteed participation in the top tier whilst ‘Category B’ clubs will be re-assessed annually with the highest-ranking clubs occupying the remaining slots in the top tier.
Promotion and relegation will continue on the field of play between the second and third tiers with tier two increasingly filled with strong Category B Clubs.

An expansion strategy to be developed that targets and supports the growth of the Women’s and Girls’ game, and also growth in new markets.


Participation of clubs outside of the UK to be capped and with additional standards to support domestic growth.


Operations to be centralised where this can maximise efficiencies and drive incremental revenue (e.g. ticketing and digital infrastructure).


A new brand strategy to be introduced and aligned with the above commercial strategy.
Clubs have been invited to a follow-up meeting on October 13, at which they will have the opportunity to provide further feedback, and support will be sought to enable the Rugby League executive and IMG to work on the detail of the recommendations.

This work will sit alongside other workstreams being led by IMG and other parts of the Endeavor network to maximise the commercial potential of the sport and build deeper relationships with fans and new audiences. These include 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, streaming through Endeavor’s OTT platform Endeavor Streaming and data collection, betting product development and streaming rights via its sports data and betting technology business IMG Arena.

The 12-year strategic partnership with IMG followed the decision of the RFL and SLE to realign the governance framework of the sport and the long-term deal reached on how monies should be distributed across the sport.

Simon Johnson, the Chair of the Rugby Football League, said: “This is a significant day in terms of setting out a new path for the sport. We have prioritised transparency, in sharing these recommendations first with clubs and then with fans through the media. It is very much a direction of travel in these top-line recommendations, with significant layers of detail still to be worked through. But these proposals contain both a recognition of the need to make significant changes to address a range of challenges facing the sport at all levels, and recommendations for those changes which have the potential to transform the approach, mood and reality of Rugby League in the UK and beyond.”

Ken Davy, the Chair of Super League (Europe), said: “Founded solidly on the realignment of Super League and the RFL this has been an all-encompassing process conducted by IMG, with all of the key stakeholders within the sport playing important roles in it. We would like to thank the clubs, broadcasters, commercial partners and supporters that have contributed to IMG’s recommendations, which set out a new future for Rugby League and can take it in a bold and positive direction. At Super League we look forward to the next stage of this comprehensive process, working towards providing further updates that will map out the sport’s long-term future.”

Matt Dwyer, Vice President, Sports Management, IMG, added: “Having now had the opportunity to dive deeper into the sport, including through consultations with all key stakeholders of the game, our excitement for this 12-year strategic partnership and what can be achieved has only increased. We have a unique opportunity to alter the growth trajectory of the sport and we believe the recommendations we have presented today will provide the foundation for that growth and attract new investment into the game. Our approach is focused on the product and leveraging the full expertise of IMG and the broader Endeavor network to create a high-quality entertainment offering for the fans.”

Well there you go. Not quite sure what to make of it or even if the clubs will go for it.
Benny Profane Member for 20 years
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Posts: 152
Re: The way ahead : Wed Sep 28, 2022 6:37 pm  
FromTotalRL: "IMG have an expansion strategy that focuses on three areas they see as ripe for growth – France, the women’s game, and London."

This should be interesting. London might be ripe for growth. But us, with Hughes in charge?
gardener Member for 9 years



Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:15 pm
Posts: 96
Re: The way ahead : Wed Sep 28, 2022 7:14 pm  
Interesting that the little piece about the growth in London, the women's game and France were not included on the RFL website.I am guessing some of the clubs up north are already sharpening their pencils.
With IMG's money , marketing skills and their contacts in Australia it could work. Plough Lane is a suitable ground for facilities and big enough.Just give Hughes a season ticket to walk or if not IMG could just start another club.
orangeman Member for 2 years
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Re: The way ahead : Wed Sep 28, 2022 7:17 pm  
Deadcowboys1 wrote:
Reimagining Rugby League – IMG presents recommendations
IMG has today presented the recommendations arising from the Reimagining Rugby League Consultation Project – a key part of the first phase of the agency’s 12-year strategic partnership with the sport agreed in the spring.

In addition to drawing on IMG’s global expertise, the recommendations have been made following extensive consultation with key stakeholders across Rugby League, including clubs, broadcasters, sponsors, media, players, representatives from the community game and international partners, as well as a survey of supporters attracting almost 20,000 responses. This is the most comprehensive piece of consultation ever undertaken on the sport.

IMG’s recommendations have the overriding aim of driving the long-term value and impact of the sport.

In summary the recommendations are:

A re-positioned calendar which optimises flow, narrative and engagement, incorporating regular ‘peaks’ of interest and a compelling season climax.


A calendar aligned with the global game to facilitate an international window in October and incorporate a mid-season international.


Participation in the top tier to be based on a range of on and off field measures, delivered through a club grading system with the aim of supporting financial sustainability and encouraging investment into clubs. ‘Category A’ clubs will be guaranteed participation in the top tier whilst ‘Category B’ clubs will be re-assessed annually with the highest-ranking clubs occupying the remaining slots in the top tier.
Promotion and relegation will continue on the field of play between the second and third tiers with tier two increasingly filled with strong Category B Clubs.

An expansion strategy to be developed that targets and supports the growth of the Women’s and Girls’ game, and also growth in new markets.


Participation of clubs outside of the UK to be capped and with additional standards to support domestic growth.


Operations to be centralised where this can maximise efficiencies and drive incremental revenue (e.g. ticketing and digital infrastructure).


A new brand strategy to be introduced and aligned with the above commercial strategy.
Clubs have been invited to a follow-up meeting on October 13, at which they will have the opportunity to provide further feedback, and support will be sought to enable the Rugby League executive and IMG to work on the detail of the recommendations.

This work will sit alongside other workstreams being led by IMG and other parts of the Endeavor network to maximise the commercial potential of the sport and build deeper relationships with fans and new audiences. These include 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, streaming through Endeavor’s OTT platform Endeavor Streaming and data collection, betting product development and streaming rights via its sports data and betting technology business IMG Arena.

The 12-year strategic partnership with IMG followed the decision of the RFL and SLE to realign the governance framework of the sport and the long-term deal reached on how monies should be distributed across the sport.

Simon Johnson, the Chair of the Rugby Football League, said: “This is a significant day in terms of setting out a new path for the sport. We have prioritised transparency, in sharing these recommendations first with clubs and then with fans through the media. It is very much a direction of travel in these top-line recommendations, with significant layers of detail still to be worked through. But these proposals contain both a recognition of the need to make significant changes to address a range of challenges facing the sport at all levels, and recommendations for those changes which have the potential to transform the approach, mood and reality of Rugby League in the UK and beyond.”

Ken Davy, the Chair of Super League (Europe), said: “Founded solidly on the realignment of Super League and the RFL this has been an all-encompassing process conducted by IMG, with all of the key stakeholders within the sport playing important roles in it. We would like to thank the clubs, broadcasters, commercial partners and supporters that have contributed to IMG’s recommendations, which set out a new future for Rugby League and can take it in a bold and positive direction. At Super League we look forward to the next stage of this comprehensive process, working towards providing further updates that will map out the sport’s long-term future.”

Matt Dwyer, Vice President, Sports Management, IMG, added: “Having now had the opportunity to dive deeper into the sport, including through consultations with all key stakeholders of the game, our excitement for this 12-year strategic partnership and what can be achieved has only increased. We have a unique opportunity to alter the growth trajectory of the sport and we believe the recommendations we have presented today will provide the foundation for that growth and attract new investment into the game. Our approach is focused on the product and leveraging the full expertise of IMG and the broader Endeavor network to create a high-quality entertainment offering for the fans.”

Well there you go. Not quite sure what to make of it or even if the clubs will go for it.


This is spit-balling. I've seen more in-depth strategies on the back of beer mats......basically, after telling tier 2 and 3 that they'd be getting no money, they're now saying that the money will continue to trickle down, BUT only if you vote for Franchising? IMG would be insane to either touch the Broncos or introduce any investor to Hughes and I do not believe IMG to be insane, so I doubt it means an awful lot in terms of the London Broncos with the current ownership/managerial model.
Interestingly, we have a shiny stadium and an academy, 2 factors that will feature in the new grading. Furthermore, Hughes has openly said 5k target for fans.....it's almost the KNEW this was coming and that's why he didn't spend on a FT squad and maybe why Newcastle have done the same?
FWIW. I see IMG opening the floodgates with no limit on the number of overseas players, a massive influx of ANZAC players and raised interest (and revenue streams) from a Southern Hemisphere TV audience. I think we will see an Origin series suggested and I see Magic weekend being one of a few "major events" during the season. I really hope they also concentrate on the lower tiers. It's all well and good saying clubs "can go up" but the reality is there are maybe 14 realistically and Featherstone Rovers won't be high on IMG's agenda.
I have no doubt more details will emerge, but the clubs Tweet about it "interesting our fans' points to certain aspects being kept secret and decisions already being made. [sigh]
Benny Profane Member for 20 years
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Posts: 152
Re: The way ahead : Wed Sep 28, 2022 7:23 pm  
orangeman wrote:
Furthermore, Hughes has openly said 5k target for fans.....it's almost the KNEW this was coming and that's why he didn't spend on a FT squad and maybe why Newcastle have done the same?

I thought exactly the same thing when I read the details. Still, the usual respect to the current fans as you'd expect from DH.

I wouldn't trust growing the game in London to DH if I were IMG.
Deadcowboys1 Member for 12 years
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Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:10 pm
Posts: 1357
Re: The way ahead : Wed Sep 28, 2022 7:29 pm  
gardener wrote:
Interesting that the little piece about the growth in London, the women's game and France were not included on the RFL website.I am guessing some of the clubs up north are already sharpening their pencils.
With IMG's money , marketing skills and their contacts in Australia it could work. Plough Lane is a suitable ground for facilities and big enough.Just give Hughes a season ticket to walk or if not IMG could just start another club.


Not sure starting another club makes much sense as would take a fair amount of cash to do that as it did in 1980. Better value would be had in investing that in a London club with some tradition behind them & a decent stadium to play in. The only problem is what you do with Hughes & how do Broncos get a decent CEO who knows the game. Would be good to see our ladies play against the top northern teams too.

Mind you, for some obvious SL clubs, passing this would be like Turkeys voting for Christmas.
Benny Profane Member for 20 years
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Posts: 152
Re: The way ahead : Wed Sep 28, 2022 7:51 pm  
Deadcowboys1 wrote:
how do Broncos...

Whatever happens, I'd change the name from Broncos for a start: people think we're an American Football team.

When you explain why we're called Broncos to people, they say: "so some (supposedly) big team in Australia*** bought you out in the mid-90s? Are you still linked with them?"

Well, no, not for about 25 years. We were going to get Wendell Sailor and Kerrod Walters in their off season back then though.

"Who are they, and did you? "

Well...major, major stars in a game you are conditioned to ignore. But, no, we didn't get them. We did get Paul Hauff a couple of season later though!

Means nothing. Obviously.

Bring back the Crusaders! (Bring back Mark Riley!)

***Perception: rugby league exists in "mill villages" up north and nowhere else. Rugby league in Australia? Fantasy. Genuinely had this debate in the mid-90s.
Deadcowboys1 Member for 12 years
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Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:10 pm
Posts: 1357
Re: The way ahead : Wed Sep 28, 2022 10:07 pm  
Benny Profane wrote:
Whatever happens, I'd change the name from Broncos for a start: people think we're an American Football team.

When you explain why we're called Broncos to people, they say: "so some (supposedly) big team in Australia*** bought you out in the mid-90s? Are you still linked with them?"

Well, no, not for about 25 years. We were going to get Wendell Sailor and Kerrod Walters in their off season back then though.

"Who are they, and did you? "

Well...major, major stars in a game you are conditioned to ignore. But, no, we didn't get them. We did get Paul Hauff a couple of season later though!

Means nothing. Obviously.

Bring back the Crusaders! (Bring back Mark Riley!)

***Perception: rugby league exists in "mill villages" up north and nowhere else. Rugby league in Australia? Fantasy. Genuinely had this debate in the mid-90s.


With you on that Benny, happy to restore the Crusader moniker. As one of Struddy's Life Members I don't supposed I'd get in for free. :lol:

Aah Mark Riley, could do with someone of his quality. IIRC straight of the plane & destroyed was it Wakefield?
RfE Member for 5 years
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Re: The way ahead : Thu Sep 29, 2022 6:52 am  
The IMG recommendations read very much like a politician's press release - lots of buzzwords but substance....?
Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number--
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you--
Ye are many -- they are few.'

Percy Bysshe Shelley - 'The Mask of Anarchy'



' ITS OVER' - Roy Orbison
Deadcowboys1 Member for 12 years
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Posts: 1357
Re: The way ahead : Thu Sep 29, 2022 8:09 am  
Agreed RfE it's very short on specifics which is a shame as the usual northern suspects will be scheming against it if obviously no an A club.

I wonder how independent the panel deciding on Grading will be?
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